I’ve eaten a lot of lovely but rich Christmas pudding, Christmas cake and mince pies, not to mention panettone and chocolate truffles, over the past week so I decided on a simple apple pie to serve after the Roast Lamb Stuffed with Fresh Herbs last night. I’ve always loved apple desserts of any kind: Tarte Normande, apple cake, apple crumble. I remember when I used to go to the Netherlands a lot that one could find a good cinnamon rich apple pie in the most remote cafe – apple pie was everywhere and almost invariable good, and it was very popular with morning coffee. I’ve been cooking this open-crust variety for many years, thanks to Delia, who describes it as ‘American’. And I have to say I no longer do an English kind with pastry right across the top. I like a good pastry, but I don’t want too much of it and this fits the bill perfectly.
I made the pastry – a sweet shortcrust pastry – exactly as I did for my Mince Pies. So please click the link to find the recipe.
I always use eating apples – but a slightly tart variety, in this case Braeburn; sometimes Cox’s when in season – for desserts so that I don’t have to add too much sugar. I’d planned to add blueberries but then found when I got some out of my fridge that they were starting to spoil so raided the freezer instead where I knew I had a pack of blackberries. I peeled and cored the apple and sliced fairly thinly – I wasn’t planning to precook it before putting it in the pastry, so the apple pieces need to be small enough to cook in about 30 minutes. I mixed the apple with the blackberries and sprinkled over a tablespoon of caster sugar and a pinch of ground cinnamon, then mixed all together by hand.
After the pastry had rested in the fridge for about 20 minutes I rolled it out till fairly thinly into an approximately 35cm circle. I painted the surface with beaten egg to prevent the pastry going soggy once the fruit was cooking and released juices. I then transferred it to a greased and floured baking sheet.
I tipped the prepared fruit into the middle, leaving a good margin of pastry round the edge and then carefully folded the edge over.
I brushed more egg over so it would go a nice golden brown as it cooked and sprinkled a little brown sugar round the edge. Then I put it into a 180 Fan oven for about 30 minutes, or until nicely browned. And it did look and smell scrumptious when I got it out!
I made custard to go with it for my son who likes custard with his apple pie. There was also cream for those who preferred that.
It’s such a simple dessert but oh so lovely and delicious and comforting. It wasn’t too sweet as I’d put in only a little sugar with the fruit and the pastry turned out with that delightful melt-in-the-mouth lightness again. For me, this is a perfection in puddings!