The best apple pie
- March 2015
- Serves 8-10
- Hands-on time 45min, oven time 40-45 min, plus cooling and chilling
Our best apple pie recipe is inspired by Edith Nesbit‘s The Railway Children in which the children eat it cold for breakfast. It is also just as good served warm.
- 29.1g (17.1g saturated)
- 67.5g (29.2g sugars)
For the pastry
- 450g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 340g unsalted butter, chilled, chopped into chunks
- 1 tbsp caster sugar, plus extra to sprinkle
- 50ml cold water
- 1 free-range egg, beaten, to glaze
For the filling
- 800g (prepared weight) bramley apples, peeled, cored and chopped into wedges
- 150g golden caster sugar
- ¼ tsp ground mace
- Large pinch ground cinnamon
- 4 tbsp cornflour
- 5 rounded tbsp quince jelly
- For the pastry, put the flour in a large mixing bowl with a pinch of salt, add the butter and rub into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir through the sugar with a round-bladed knife, then stir in just enough of the water until the dough starts to come together in chunks (it shouldn’t be sticky). To make this in a food processor, whizz the butter and flour together, then pulse through the sugar and water until the dough starts to come together.
- Bring the dough together with your Hands, then tip onto a floured surface and give it a quick knead until smooth. Roll it out to a rough square, fold it in thirds like a letter, give a quarter turn, then repeat twice. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill for 30-60 minutes (or see make ahead).
- Heat the oven to 190°C/fan170°C/gas 5. Remove the pastry from the fridge, cut off two thirds (chill the remaining third), then roll out on a floured surface to the thickness of a £1 coin. Use the pastry to line a 23cm x 5cm deep tart case with a removable base. Press it into the edges, trim the excess, then chill (5 minutes in the freezer or 20 minutes in the fridge). Line with foil or baking paper, fill with baking beans or uncooked rice, then blind bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil/paper and beans/rice, then cook for 5 minutes or until the base is sandy coloured with no grey patches.
- In a large bowl, toss the apples with the sugar, spices and cornflour, then use to fill the pastry case. Dot the top of the apples with quince jelly. Roll out the remaining pastry until a little bigger than the pie. Cut off a long, thin strip (enough to fit round the pastry case), wet the edge of the baked pastry case and press the strip of pastry on top, gently, all the way around. Brush this with a little water, then loosely roll the pastry for the lid around a rolling pin and unroll on top of the pie, pressing it gently onto the strip to seal. Trim any overhanging pastry, then crimp the edges with your fingers. Shape the trimmings into decorations, if you like. Cut a steam hole in the centre of the pie, brush the top with the beaten egg to glaze, add the pastry decorations, then glaze again and sprinkle with caster sugar.
- Put the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes until golden and crisp. Allow to cool (see tips), then serve with cream or custard.
Using raw apples means they remain in pretty wedges once baked, but they do produce a lot of juice. The cornflour and sugar will thicken it into a syrup, but you need to leave the pie to cool to just warm or room temperature before serving, otherwise the juices will run when it’s cut.
Be sure to use clear quince jelly from a jar, not the more solid orange paste (dulce de membrillo).
Make the pastry up to step 2 and keep in the fridge, well wrapped in cling film, for 24 hours, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Blind bake the pastry case the night before, leave somewhere cool, well wrapped, then continue with the recipe the next day.
If eating the pie for breakfast, cook it the night before and leave somewhere cool, covered, overnight.
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