APPLE (& BLACKBERRY) PIE –
ADAPTED FROM DELIA SMITH COMPLETE COOKERY COURSE
|For the shortcrust pastry:|
|6 oz (175 g) plain flour|
|1½ oz (40 g) lard* I replace lard with butter as I’m vegetarian and it still makes great pastry|
|1½ oz (40 g) butter|
|For the filling:|
|4 medium cooking apples, about 1 lb (450 g)|
|8 oz (225 g) brambles or fresh or frozen blackberries, defrosted if frozen, and washed You could try and mix in a few elderberries with this or just stick to a plain apple pie|
|3 oz (75 g) sugar|
|milk and caster sugar|
|Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7, 425°F (220°C).|
You will also need a 1½ pint (850 ml) rimmed pie dish.
Start by making the pastry: sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, holding the sieve up as high as possible to give the flour an airing. Then cut the fat into small cubes and add to the flour. Now, using your fingertips, lightly and gently rub the pieces of fat into the flour – lifting your hands up high as you do this (again to incorporate air) and being as quick as possible. (Note: for really good pastry you want to keep the mix as cool as possible)
When the mixture looks uniformly crumbly, start to sprinkle roughly 2 tablespoons of cold water all over. Use a round-bladed knife to start the mixing, cutting and bringing the mixture together. Carefully add more water if needed, a little at a time, then finally bring the mixture together with your hands to form a smooth ball of dough that will leave the bowl clean (if there are any bits that won’t adhere to it, you need a spot more water).
Now rest the pastry, wrapped in foil or polythene, in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes while you peel, core and slice the apples straight into the pie dish. Then sprinkle in the brambles or blackberries and the sugar. Now roll out the pastry to about 1 in (2.5 cm) larger than the pie dish, then cut out a 1 in (2.5 cm) strip to fit the edge of the dish. Dampen the edge with water, then fit on the strip of pastry, pressing it firmly, and dampen that too.
Then press the rest of the pastry over that to form a lid and, using a sharp knife, trim any excess pastry off. Use the blunt side of the knife and your thumb to press the two edges firmly together and knock the edges all round to give a layered effect. Then flute the edges by using your thumb to make an impression and the broad blade of the knife to draw in the edges of the pastry.
Make a steam hole in the centre and, if you have time, make some decorative leaves with the pastry trimmings.
Now brush the pastry with milk and sprinkle on a light dusting of caster sugar. Place the pie on a baking sheet on a high shelf and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to gas mark 5, 375°F (190°C), and continue baking for a further 30 minutes.
Then, using a skewer, take out a piece of apple from the centre to test if it’s cooked: if it still feels very firm, give it another 5 minutes.
Serve hot with chilled pouring cream to mingle with the juices.
MARY BERRY APPLE CAKE (yum)
225g self-raising flour
1 level tsp baking powder
225g caster sugar
2 large eggs
½ tsp almond extract
150g butter, melted
250g cooking apples, peeled and cored
25g flaked almonds
- Preheat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Lightly grease a deep 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin.
- Measure the flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs, almond extract and melted butter into a bowl. Mix well until blended, then beat for a minute.
- Spread half this mixture in the prepared tin. Thickly slice the apples and lay on top of the mixture in the tin, piling mostly towards the centre. Using 2 dessert spoons, roughly spoon the remaining mixture over the apples. This is an awkward thing to do, but just make sure that the mixture covers the centre well as it will spread out in the oven.
- Sprinkle with the flaked almonds.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 1¼-1½ hours until golden and coming away from the sides of the tin.
- APPLE SCONES
- 8oz / 200g self-raising flour (wholemeal or white)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or less – I don’t think it needs cinammon as I like tasting just the apples)
- 4oz / 100g unsalted butter
- 2oz / 50g brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 medium apples (Bramley’s or any dessert apple you fancy)
Heat your oven to 190°C / 375°F / Gas mark 5.
Mix together flour, baking powder, sugar and cinnamon.
Rub in the butter until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs. (If you’re in a hurry, you can do this with a mixer or hand blender.)
Core the apples. Peel them if you feel like it. Then cut them into small dice.
Stir the apples into the flour mix.
Beat the egg before adding it to the mix and mix in well. (Note: This mixture will look very dry and crumbly. Resist the urge to add milk even if you think it needs it. Mix a little longer – using your hands if you don’t mind – and it will sort of come together. If you add milk the scones will run while baking.)
Shape 6-8 scones and place on a lined or non-stick baking tray. Keep a good gap between the scones, as they will spread a little.
Bake for about 20mins, then check and bake for another 5 minutes or so to get them nice and brown. Cool on the tray for a few minutes before turning out onto a rack.