7th February 2012
Oh what a cold day it has been.
With a casserole slowly cooking in the oven, before starting on the apple pie, it was off to walk the dog. Not a clever idea to walk along the canal, biting wind and a silly puppy who wanted to get in the water, even though it had frozen over at the edges. Both returned very muddy, and after a clean up it was into the kitchen, which was lovely and warm already!
The other day I said I hadn’t cooked anything yet from the ‘Hot Puddings & Pies’ section of Mary’s Bible, so thought it was about time I choose a recipe from this section. Apple pie sounded divine, especially on this cold, frosty day.
The first thing Mary says to do is to peel, core and cut up the apples into thick slices. I was rather surprised at this, as apples discolour so quickly once sliced. I had slightly more than the 675g that the recipe states, but rather than leave one half of an apple out, I put this in the pie too. Half the apple slices were put into the pie dish and then Mary says to sprinkle with caster sugar. The recipe suggest 50-75g of sugar, that’s a lot of sugar when you sprinkle over the apples. I sprinkled 50g on (and thought that was too much) and then placed 4 cloves evenly amongst the apples.
Cloves – love them or hate them in this family. I personally love the taste of cloves and it brings back memories of apple pie that my mother and grandma used to make when I was younger. My husband, however, hates cloves as he can remember his nanny making him put one in his mouth when he was little and had tooth ache!
3 tablespoons of water were then sprinkled on top of the apples. The dish was then put to one side.
Now the pastry … The plain flour was measured into the bowl and added to this was some butter and white vegetable fat (for once it didn’t matter that I had yet again forgotten to take the butter out of the fridge to soften). The fat was rubbed in to the flour until it resembled breadcrumbs. I’ve decided that my worktop is slightly too high for me (being of short disposition), I always seem to get arm ache when I rub mixtures together. I feel I have to lift my arms up slightly to get them into the bowl. I thought I’d mention this as my family are always laughing at me and my shortness!!
Anyway, 2 tablespoons of water were added to the mixture and brought together to form a firm dough. No sugar was added to the pastry, which surprised me as I thought it would have been a sweet shortcrust pastry. Another surprise was that Mary says to roll the dough out straight away. Normally I would have put it in the fridge for half an hour to chill.
The dough was I felt rather crumbly, but I managed to roll it out to about 3cm more than the diameter of the pie dish. Placed the pastry over and trimmed the edges. There was some leftover pastry, so I decided with my new cutters to cut out the words ‘Apple Pie’, much to my children’s amusement. Didn’t think at the time of cutting an apple out, instead made a heart shape to put in the middle.
It was now that Mary says to put in the fridge to chill for half an hour. Rather unusual I thought as the apple had, as I thought, already started to discolour.
So, with the ‘cake oven’ preheated, the pie was removed from the fridge and brushed with a little milk and sprinkled with a little sugar. A small cut was made in the top of the pie to allow the steam to escape. Then into the oven it went for 40 minutes.
When removed from the oven, I was slightly disappointed to see that the pastry had shrunk around the edges. I think if I’d have had a thicker rim on my dish it would have been better, as I think my dish was slightly too deep for the amount of apple in the pie and therefore as the apples cooked, the pastry sank onto them.
However, I thought it tasted lovely with some nice warm custard on top, although I think if I made it again, I would cut the apple up more thickly as I thought it was a bit ‘mushy’. Not sure about my husband, he moaned about the cloves and that he couldn’t taste the apple because of them! My daughter was disappointed too as there was only pastry on the top and she likes pastry top and bottom and as for my son, he waited until the next day to try some and he loved it!!