Autumn, Winter, Sweet

Apple Pie

You simply can't beat a good old fashioned apple pie. It's by far my family’s favourite dessert to tuck into after Sunday lunch – and for breakfast the next day! To save time, I make the pastry a few days in advance, and refrigerate it.

This recipe follows the same method my mother used to use, and still does. I have fond memories of making this with her as a child, standing side-by-side at the kitchen counter – memories I've now recreated with my daughters.

When I'm making any apple filling, I like firmer pieces mixed in with softer, broken-down fruit, so I cut my apples in a particular way: slicing down one side of the apple until I reach the core, then giving it a quarter-turn and starting again. This method produces slices of varying sizes that are ideal for this recipe, so why not give it a try?

SERVES:
6-8

Ingredients

For the pastry

300g plain flour

2 tbsp caster sugar

Pinch sea salt

200g cold plant-based butter, diced

2 tbsp vodka (optional)

4-6 tbsp ice-cold water

For the filling

6 bramley apples, peeled and sliced

Juice of 1 lemon

150g soft brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg, grated

3 tbsp plant-based milk

1-2 tbsp demerara sugar

To serve

Plant-based custard, vanilla ice cream or cream

Instructions

  1. To make the pastry, add the flour, sugar and salt to a large bowl, and stir to combine. Add the butter, and rub together with your fingers, with your palms facing up, rubbing from your little finger to your thumb, until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. If using the vodka, stir it into your ice-cold water and add it to the bowl a tablespoon at a time, until the dough just comes together. Don't worry if little lumps of butter remain – it will give you a flakier pastry.
  3. Form the dough into a ball, cut it in half and gently flatten into discs. Try not to overwork the dough.
  4. Wrap the discs in cling film or parchment, and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. If you're working ahead, it will last well for a week, or can be frozen.
  5. When you're ready to bake your pie, preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/Gas 6, and grease a pie dish.
  6. To make your filling, place the apple slices in a large pan, add the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, and stir to combine.
  7. Cook over a gentle heat until the apple starts to soften – some slices should be holding their shape, while others will have collapsed. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  8. Taste for sweetness, and if your apples are on the sharp side, add some extra sugar to taste, if you like.
  9. Roll out your dough between two sheets of parchment to form two rounds about the thickness of pound coin.
  10. Press one sheet of dough into the bottom of the pie dish and trim the edges, leaving an inch hanging over the top. Tuck this under to form a thick rim.
  11. Fill the dish with your apple pie filling, and place the second sheet of pastry on top. Use a fork to close the edges together, or crimp the edges as you like.
  12. Using a knife, trim any excess pastry from around the edges, and make a little cross in the centre of the pie to let out steam. If you have some spare dough, you can cut out shapes to decorate your pie, sticking them down with a little plant-based milk.
  13. Brush the whole pie lightly with plant milk, and sprinkle with the demerara sugar.
  14. Bake for around 35-40 minutes, until the pastry is golden and the filling is bubbling.
  15. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving with the custard, vanilla ice cream or cream.

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