Apple pie

Serves 4

A simple apple pie is very hard to beat. I was surprised to discover I’ve never made one in all the 10 years I’ve been doing this column – so here you go.

For the pastry

110g soft butter
135g caster sugar
225g strong flour
½tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
125ml double cream
1 egg, beaten to glaze

For the filling

4 dessert apples, peeled, cored and  roughly chopped
50g caster sugar
A good knob of butter
2 large Bramley apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped

To serve

Clotted cream, crème fraîche or ice-cream

First, make the pastry. Mix the butter and sugar, sieve the baking powder and flour together and stir into the butter mix with the salt; then slowly pour in the cream until well mixed. Chill for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the dessert apples in a pan with the butter, sugar and a tablespoon of water and cook on a very low heat with a lid on for about 6-7 minutes. Remove the lid, add the Bramley apples and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes or until the Bramleys are beginning to break down. Remove from the heat, taste for sweetness and stir in some more sugar if necessary.

Roll the pastry out on a floured table to about 3mm thick. Cut 4 discs large enough to line 10cm x 3cm deep, individual tart tins. Cut 4 more discs to fit the tops. Lightly grease the tins with butter and line with the larger disc of pastry to just above the top of the tin. Leave to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Remove the pastry from the fridge, line with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans and bake for 10 minutes without colouring the pastry; then remove from the oven and leave to cool a little.

Spoon the apple mixture almost to the top of the pies, not putting in too much of the liquid. Brush the edges of the tops with the beaten egg then lay the tops on the pies, sealing the edges together with your fingers.

Brush the top with more egg, make a small slit or hole with the point of a knife in the centre, then bake the pies on a tray for 20-25 minutes until golden.

Turn the oven down a little if they begin to colour too much. Leave to rest for about 15 minutes before turning out of the moulds.

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