Wednesday, 23 October 2013

FOOD: Homemade Apple Pie

Apples and Pie

There's something about the smell of stewing and baking apples that takes me right back to my childhood. As as the delicious smell of apple pies baking in the oven filled the apartment I was dreaming of proper English custard to top them off. Sadly that's a little harder to achieve in the USA but a girl can dream. 

When baking the basics I always reach for my vintage cookbooks whereby recipes are based around staple ingredients any decent baker should already have filling their cupboards. Simple ingredients in time tested recipes which are money saving and delicious. For both the pastry and apple pie recipes I owe to the Boston Cooking School Cook book - my prized edition published in 1936 - although it dates back to 1896 and is increasingly becoming a cooking book I swear by. While you have to play with the cooking times a little, everything is welcomingly straight forward, it calls for everyday items and most importantly, everything turns out tasty.

Apple Pie Recipe
Apple Pie

Pastry is one of those things in baking that takes practice and a little bit of natural talent. If you have naturally cold hands (I knew mine would eventually come in handy) you'll be a whizz at pastry making which was why my gran was a queen at being able to make pastry that was pliable, rollable and tasty. Pastry works best when it's made with cold hands, on a cold surface, with very cold water and after being cooled in the fridge for up to 18 - 24 hours which is why it's always best to make it the day before you need it (and then left out to get back to air temperature). You'll certainly notice a big difference if you don't let it cool prior to baking.

Pastry - enough for one 9" pie

1 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 butter (or shortening)
Approx 1/4" of very cold, water

Pastry making itself is easy but it takes effort and a skill at knowing when it's just right. Start by mixing in your flour and salt together then cut in your butter and work it in with your fingers. No mixers or spoons - get down and dirty with your fingers. Mix and rub together until the butter is evenly mixed in and no larger then the size of a pea. Dribble the iced water in a little at a time until the dough is damp but not overly sticky. Roll with your hands into a ball and wrap into cling film (plastic wrap) and store in the fridge for a minimum of 18 hours. 

Baked Apple Pie

Personally I don't think you should mess around with the greats like apple pie - for me, simple is best although that doesn't necessarily mean it'll be plain or tasteless, certainly not. Granted you can play around with the spices (nutmeg and cinnamon work best) and throw in some raisins or raspberries if you have them on hand, but otherwise a slice of apple pie - hot or cold with custard, whipped cream or ice cream and i'm a happy girl.

Apple Pie

6 to 8 apples (eating or cooking)
1/2 to 3/4 of white or brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg or cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons of lemon juice

After rolling out your pastry to line the bottom of a 9" pie tin, core and cut the apples into eighths. Line around the pie bottom working towards the center and then pile on the remainder. Here you could add in any extras you fancy - lemon rind, raspberries, raisins etc. Then mix together the sugar nutmeg (or cinnamon - or perhaps both if you fancy!) lemon juice and sprinkle all over the pile of apples. Finish off by dotting butter here and there. Wet the edges of the pie with water or milk and top with the upper pastry crust and press the edges tight together - perhaps even press together and decorate with a fork as I did.

After cutting a little vent or two into the top of the pie, bake at 450F for the first 10 minutes, reducing the heat to 350F for the next 45 or so minutes until the pie turns a lovely shade of gold - fitting for the autumnal season.

Don't you just love a slice of apple pie?!

PS - Make sure to check out my little guest post on Katie's blog Gold Dust as I talk about our kitty Smokey!


  1. Replies
    1. Tell me about it! Have a store of them in my freezer for cravings!

  2. My mouth is watering at this, I love apple pie - although not with custard, blergh!
    Looks amazing! :)

    Jess xo

    1. Haha custard is such a love - hate thing isn't it?! Although whipped cream would go just as well!

  3. God I want apple pie now. I want a working oven. Ack.

  4. Aww, I was just craving one of these! I love how soft your photos are - makes the food look even more appetizing <3

  5. yummy yummy yum! It looks scrumptious!