Apple Pie

November 13th 2017
By: Melanie Hollidge
Apple Pie

Funny how apple pie can conjure up a county, "as American as apple pie", but it’s good to remember where that apple pie once came from. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America suggests this classic dessert descends from "15th-century English pies" and ideas brought over by the earliest colonial settlers. Even medieval recipes, involve sugar, sweet spices, and butter. There may be many variations to the apple pie but here are the basics to grace your Chigwell kitchen:
(Serves 6-8)
4 bramley apples
2 tbsp butter, plus extra to grease
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
125-150g light muscovado sugar, depending on taste
3 cox's apples
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp demerara or granulated sugar
1 egg white, beaten
For the pastry
350g spelt or plain flour, plus extra to dust
190g cold butter, grated
1 egg plus 1 yolk, beaten
1 lemon
Peel and core the Bramleys, but keep both. Cut the flesh into chunks. Melt one tablespoon of butter in a saucepan and add the cinnamon stick and cloves. Fry for a couple of minutes, until aromatic, then add the chunks of apple, plus 100g of the sugar. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes until the mixture is fluffy and fairly dry.
Put the cores and peel in a small pan and just cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Allow both this and the compote to cool then remove the cinnamon stick and cloves.
For the pastry, put the flour in a large mixing bowl and add the grated butter and a generous pinch of salt. Rub in the butter to fine breadcrumbs then stir in the egg and the finely grated zest of the lemon until you have a dough wrap, then chill for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel and core the Cox's and cut them into chunks. Stir these into the stewed Bramleys along with the juice of half a lemon, 50ml of the apple stock, a grating of nutmeg and the remaining muscovado sugar (start with 125g sugar, and add more if you think it is too sharp).
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a large pie dish with butter, and roll out two-thirds of the pastry to about 5mm thick. Use to line the dish. Sprinkle the base with one tablespoon of flour and one tablespoon of sugar. Top with the apple mixture and dot the top with small pieces of the remaining butter.
Roll out the remaining pastry to 5mm thick. Brush the rim of the pastry base with egg white, and then top with this lid, pressing down to seal. Trim the edges (use these trimmings to decorate if you wish), and cut a small hole in the middle. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden, then allow to cool a little before serving.