Monday, 24 October 2011

Classic Apple Pie

Recipe Number One Hundred & Eight:  Page 341.


I haven't had a slice of apple pie for years. I am not sure quite how I let this happen and I was glad I would soon be rectifying the problem! There is something rather comforting about apple pie; it seems well suited to a chilly autumn day. As I was bunged up with a cold I was in need of comfort. I was looking forward to curling up on the sofa with a large slice of apple pie smothered in several inches of custard, yum!

First of all, I had to peel a lot of apples. It was a shame that I had only just made a lengthy dinner which involved peeling a mountain of vegetables. My poor hand felt rather sore! I arranged thick slices of apple onto the bottom of a shallow pie dish and sprinkled them with caster sugar. Mary gives a rough guide on how much sugar to use. I have a sweet tooth so added the maximum amount! I wasn't sure about adding the required four whole cloves; they are powerful little things! I wished she had used the ground version. On top of the pungent cloves and hefty sprinkle of sugar, I placed the remainder of apple slices and a couple of tablespoons of water. Now that the appley part was complete, I could move onto making the pastry.

I measured some flour into a bowl and added some diced butter and white vegetable fat in equal quantities. I have read that white vegetable fat gives a lighter pastry but doesn't give as good a flavour as butter. I hoped to get the best of both worlds with this pastry! With icy cold fingers, I rubbed the butter and fat into the flour and brought the mixture into a firm dough with a little cold water. I had to bend down to pick the rolling pin out of a drawer. This made my nose run, so I had to take a quick break to run for a tissue. After reading this I am sure my friends and family will be glad they didn't share this pie; they can only feel sorry for Neil! With a freshly blown nose and, I should add, freshly washed hands, I moved on to rolling out the pastry. I just needed to make it large enough to cover the top of the pie dish. It soon became obvious that there was a real lack of apples. The pastry dipped down into the dish, which didn't look very attractive. I had thought the dish I was using was shallow but maybe I'd been mistaken. I did attempt to cut the trimmings into decorative shapes, but mine didn't look so very decorative! Before entering the heat of the oven, the pie needed to chill in the fridge for half an hour; this should stop the butter in the pastry melting too quickly. I took this opportunity to indulge in a mug of lemsip! Once the pie was out of the fridge, I brushed the pastry with some milk and sprinkled it with granulated sugar. I made the important slit in the top so that the steam had somewhere to escape and into the oven the pie went. I was very impatient to be comforted by my apple pie. Forty minutes of cooking seemed a long time to wait. Clock watching is not to be recommend; it definitely made time slow down! Eventually the pie was cooked through with a lovely golden top. I really shouldn't have attempted to adorn the pie with any kind of decoration; it looked rather pathetic!

As it was by now late evening, I contemplated leaving the apple pie until the next day. However, I always lose my sense of taste when I have a cold. I would have been so disappointed to wait and not be able to taste it! The photographs I took were very poor due to the lateness of the hour. I handed Neil a bowl of apple pie, which was gratefully received. He took a bite and gasped in surprise! He enquired as to how much ground cloves I had used. Neil was even more surprised when I informed him that I had in fact used whole cloves and I'd only used four! I quickly had a taste to see what all the fuss was about. Wow, the taste of cloves was VERY powerful and quite overpowering! I have to say the strong flavour did put me off the pie a little. This was a shame as everything else about it was lovely. The apples were nicely cooked and perfectly sweet. The pastry was the best bit. It was buttery and light and had a slight flake, even though it was a simple shortcrust. I'd make this again but next time I'll add more apples and omit the whole cloves!
Mmmmm......apple pie :-)




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