A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be given a carrier bag full of apples from my brother-in law's mam's neighbour's tree! They sat in the cupboard for longer than I'd anticipated but life's been pretty hectic recently (hence the lack of blogging!). I got a few spare minutes on Friday and decided to stew them with some butter and sugar in order to preserve them until I had time to make either a pie or a crumble/cobbler; I didn't really know at this point but certainly didn't want them to go mouldy!
They then sat in my fridge for a further couple of days until Sunday afternoon when I got some unexpected free time after a very short trip to Willow Farm pub in Cramlington for lunch (don't ever go there, truly dreadful!).
I'd decided by this point that I wanted to make apple pie after seeing Maggie Beer on Masterchef Australia; she wasn't making her famous Soured Cream Pastry this time but every time I see her it makes me think of it! I've made it in the past and it is delicious but ridiculously rich! I decided to lessen the butter content from almost equal to the flour to the standard shortcrust ratio of half fat to flour. Basically just replace water as the binding agent with soured cream, yum!
So here's my improvised Spiced Apple Pie completed over a number of days! (not by choice!)
Spiced Apple Pie
For the pastry:
250g Plain Flour
2 Tbsp Golden Caster Sugar
60g Soured Cream
For the filling:
570g Peeled, Cored and Diced Apples (random weight I know, but it's what I had!)
165g Molasses Sugar (I use Billington's, available in supermarkets.)
1 Cinnamon Stick
1/2 Star Anise
Couple of handfuls of Golden Sultanas
Zest and Juice of 1 Lemon
1 Egg Yolk for glazing
Golden Caster Sugar for sprinkling
1. For the Pastry: Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir through the caster sugar.
2. Add Soured Cream and stir until the mixture starts to come together as a dough. (It took 60g this time but it could alter depending on conditions.) Gently bring together and rest in fridge for 30 minutes. (Obviously I didn't have time to rest it so just rolled it out immediately, tut!)
3. Preheat oven to 200C with a sturdy baking tray inside. For the filling: Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the apples, molasses sugar and spices. Bubble until the apples are softened but not cooked through. Add sultanas and lemon zest/juice. Bubble for a further minute. Set aside to cool.
4. Roll out your pastry on a lightly floured surface to about 2mm thick. Use a cutter to cut the bases to the size of your muffin tray holes. Line your muffin tray with the pastry circles pressing into the edges.
5. Roll out remaining pastry and cut with a smaller cutter for the pie lids.
6. Fill the bases with cooled filling almost to the top. Dampen edges of base with a little water.
|Filling this full will result in leakage but who cares!|
7. Place lid on filling and press into base to seal, fold excess pastry back over the top of the seal. (You could crimp or use a fork if you prefer.)
8. Brush with beaten egg yolk, sprinkle generously with golden caster sugar; cut a cross with the tip of a sharp knife to let the steam escape.
9. Place muffin tray onto pre-heated baking tray and bake for 25 minutes until dark golden brown. (the pre-heated baking tray reduces the risk of a soggy bottom!)
10. Allow to cool slightly in the tray before removing to a cooling rack. Serve warm with your choice of Clotted Cream, Custard or Ice Cream or whatever you fancy!
These pies are truly delicious! I was so pleased with them, especially as I made it up as I went along! I'm usually a planner! The pastry was beautifully short and melt in the mouth; the filling comforting with gentle spice, a deep caramel sweetness from the molasses sugar which was lifted by the acidity from the lemon and cooking apples.
This will be my 'go to' apple pie recipe from now on (and I've tried a few being a Food Tech/Catering Teacher!). It's such a simple recipe, give it a go now that our wonderful British apples are in season. Enjoy!