Exceedingly Good Apple Pies

Posted on March 29, 2014


Things{we}make - Apple Pies

It’s rare these days that Ed and I do the food shopping together.

I more often make a quick dash into our local town for a few things, or do an online ‘big shop’ when we run out of kitchen roll and washing powder. Last week though, in a dead patch of time whilst waiting for the boy, we went to a supermarket and mooched around looking at the shelves in a leisurely way, looking at things we wouldn’t normally buy.

Ed’s highlight was spotting that Burton’s had brought back ‘Fish N Chips’ crisps. Crisps being a misnomer really as they are little fish and chip shaped biscuits in a mock ‘newspaper’ print bag; salty and tangy with malt vinegar. It’s been 10 years since they went out of production so he is delighted that they are back. When we are having one of those rose-tinted reminiscences about the good old days, crisps are always one of the first things that gets discussed, with Fish N Chips, Cheese and Onion Ringos and the Cheesey Criss Cross being top of the list.

We bought plenty o’ Fish N Chips, to keep up sales and also in case they stop making them again.

Then, when looking for sweet things to add to his packed lunch box, Ed was drawn to the cake shelf and “Mr Kipling’s Exceedingly Good Apple Pies”. Now I am not a fan of a factory made pie. There are always bits of core left in the hard chunks of apple and they are floating in some sort of gelatinous goo. It’s got bubbles in it. What’s that about? Apples don’t have bubbles. Surely some jiggery pokery and all sorts of preservatives have gone into them to make them so.

“No, don’t get those. I’ll make you some little apple pies instead.”

Things{we}make Apple Pies

So I did.

Now don’t go saying, “Oh, you are good, I don’t know how you have time to do things like that.” These took me about half an hour. This was majorly helped by using a batch of dough from the freezer from the last time I made a pie. I always make double quantities for future pie related emergencies.

I read a survey yesterday that said that the most common eaten meal in the UK is now a sandwich. Second place goes to Ready Meals. I find this sad and not a little shocking. I know everyone is so busy nowadays, but in my mind, cooking and eating excellent food made with decent ingredients is one of the nicest things in life.

Print for Love Fish N Chips

I guess it’s all about how we choose to spend our time. Now we haven’t watched a single one of the TV box sets that many invest their time in (which surely must take weeks when all added up). My life may be poorer for having never seen a Game of Thrones, a Breaking Bad or a Homeland.

Things{we}make Apple Pie and Ed

But I have made a batch of exceedingly good apple pies.

Things{we}make Apple Pies

The Bramley apples give you a soft, tangy yet sweet apple goo and the eating apple pieces add texture. The pastry is sugar dusted and quite crumbly, not firm and transportable like a shop bought pie…but that’s how I like it.

It must be how everyone here likes it too as within 24 hours, they have all gone.

2 Large Bramley Cooking Apples
1-2 Eating Apples – like a Braeburn
70g Golden Caster Sugar
1 Batch of Sweet Pie Pastry
1 Tablespoon of Milk
Extra Caster Sugar for dusting

Peel and chop the cooking apple into roughly 2cm (1″) chunks.
Put in a pan with 2tsp of water and a tight lid.
Cook for around 7 minutes, shuffling occasionally to stir them round, until they puff up and soften.
Peel and chop the eating apple into 1cm dice
Add to the softened cooking apples, replace the lid and cook for 5 minutes.
Add around 70g of caster sugar, stir and taste and add more if it needs it.
Cook for another 5 minutes, lid on until all is soft and lovely.
Leave to cool while you sort the pastry.
Roll out pastry on a floured surface until it’s around 4mm (the thickness of a pound coin)
Cut out circles that are a bit bigger than the hole in a fairy cake tin.
Press them into the tins.
Spoon in some cooled apple and smear a tiny bit of milk around the edge of the pastry.
(Don’t get milk on the tin or it will weld the pies in place!)
Make slightly smaller circles (stamp them first if you fancy) and press them on top.
Gently brush with a little milk and sprinkle with casting sugar.
Cook at 180°c for about 15 minutes until light golden brown.
Sprinkle with a little more sugar as they come out of the oven.
Cool in the tin for 5 minutes then carefully remove to a cooling rack.

Sweet & Short Pie Pastry 
150g Plain Flour
100g SR Flour – you can use all Plain Flour if you prefer a firmer pastry
50g Icing Sugar
175g Fat – Mainly butter but with a spoonful of lard to shorten it
1 egg whisked with a dash of milk (you may not need all of it)

Mix the flours and icing sugar then lightly rub in* the butter and lard.
Add most of the milk/egg mixture and stir with a knife until it starts to come together.
Pull the dough into a ball and wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes or so.

*I don’t do rubbing in any more…I just whizz it up in the Magimix

I make a double batch of pastry and freeze some for another day. Take it out the night before you need it. It actually behaves even better after it’s been frozen.