To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of the traditional apple pie. The shortcrust pastry can be dense and cloying, and the apple filling prone to being thick and pasty. I also think that most apple pies are overly sweet, with the delicate flavours of the apple getting a little lost with all the sugar.
So lately I’ve been on a mission. I’ve made four apple pies over the last couple of weeks, testing out various different methods, pastries, and flavours, and I have now settled on my own signature version of the classic that I’m really happy with. And I’m even more delighted that my fussy kids actually liked eating it!
Dan’s Apple Pie
- 12 apples (dessert)
- 50 g butter
- 25 g plain flour
- 100 g sugar (caster)
- 100 g sugar (soft light brown )
- 170 ml double cream
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 300 g plain flour
- 3 tsp sugar (caster)
- 1 tsp salt
- 300 g butter (cold, cubed)
- 150 g water (cold)
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1 egg (beaten with a pinch of salt)
- Peel, core and slice the apples, placing them into a large bowl with water and lemon juice, to stop them browning.
- Place all other filling ingredients into a large pan, ideally a wok, and stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- Drain the apples, and add to the caramel sauce. Cook down for about 20-30 minutes until the apples are soft, and the remaining liquid has thickened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
- To make the pastry, stir the flour, sugar and salt together, and then add the cubes of butter. Squash the butter into flat shards, and break them into pieces about the size of your thumbnail.
- Add the water and vinegar, then gently turn and squash the dough until it comes together. Place pastry on a floured work surface, and roll out into a rectangle twice as long as it is wide. If the butter pieces come through the dough, dust with flour and brush off excess to seal the fat.
- Letter fold the dough into three, then turn through 90 degrees and repeat. Rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Cut the dough in half, and use one half to make the bottom crust. Roll out into a large circle, about 3-4mm thick, and line your pie dish. Refrigerate until firm – about 20 minutes.
- Trim and dock the pastry, then line with oven-safe cling film or baking parchment, and uncooked rice. Blind bake at 175°C for 45 minutes, then remove the rice and bake for another 15 minutes until golden brown.
- When the pastry is cool, add the apple filling, pressing down well to fill all gaps. Roll out the other half of the pastry into a large circle, at cut a steam vent in the middle. Place over the filled pie base, and trim to size.
- Mix a beaten egg with a pinch of salt and a splash of water, and use to adhere the bottom and top crusts. If desired, add pastry decoration to the top of the pie, and then brush with the egg.
- Bake at 220°C for 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Allow to cool completely.