On Sunday it was the Calke Abbey Apple Day. We attended last year and knew we had to return for the apple sale. Many varieties of apples from the orchard were for sale at around £2 for 1kg bag. We raced the WI contingent for the quinces so we can make our annual batch of quince jelly. We got there only 15 min after it opened and they were already running low on quinces.
Along with the quinces we bought a bag of Ribston Pippin as they are both a eating and culinary apple and were popular in the Victorian times due to its aromatic nature. It’s thought to be the parent of the more commonly known Cox Orange Pippin. The perfect choice for an autumnal apple pie.
I was recently sent a copy of the Pieminister Cookbook and spotted there was an apple pie recipe featuring suet pastry. Until recently I’d forgotten how good suet pasty can be. Perfect in so many pies and can be baked as well as steamed. It makes tasty, light, crispy, slightly puffed pastry; Not much chance of a soggy bottom with this pastry. The advantage of using suet in pastry is that it melts slower than butter, is cheaper than butter and you can keep a box of Atora in the cupboard for the days when suet is essential. Of course if you’re lucky you may be able to get fresh suet from the butcher, but I just use the boxed stuff. I’ve tried making pastry with both beef suet and vegetarian suet and while they say you can’t tell the difference I think the beef suet makes better tasting pastry. Saying this I’m odd with suet. I like it in pastry, but really don’t like it in food like christmas mincemeat.
As I had also been sent some Mermaid bakeware to test, including a round pie dish, I decided an apple pie would be a great way to christen the bakeware. The pan is made in such a way that you can use metal utensils with it. This does make me nervous, but the pan is holding up very well so far and the pie didn’t stick at all.
This isn’t the sweetest of apple pies, just how I like it. If your not going to sweeten the pastry certainly put all of the sugar mentioned in the recipe on top as it needs it. Alternatively if you prefer to sweeten the pastry add around 80g caster sugar to the flour before adding the milk.
How how do you prefer to serve your apple pie? cream, custard or ice cream?
Based on Pieminister: A Pie for All Seasons - Apple & Blackberry Pie
400g plain flour
pinch of salt
50g unsalted butter
1kg culinary apples (e.g. Bramley apples), peeled then cut into wedges.
3 tbsp caster sugar mixed with 1 tsp mixed spice
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp caster sugar with 1/2 ground cinnamon for sprinkling.
1) First, make the pastry. Mix together the salt, flour and suet then add the milk a small amount at a time. Stop once the dough is combined. Knead for a few minutes until the dough is soft. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 min.
2) In a deep frying pan melt 25g of the butter then add half of the apples and cook until the apples are just beginning to soften. Add half of the mixed spice sugar and cook until the apples are beginning to caramalise. Remove from the pan then do the same with the remaining butter, apples and mixed spice sugar. Allow apples to cool (this helps stop the filling make the pastry soggy)
3) Preheat the oven to 180°c. Split the pastry in half. Roll one half until around 5mm thick and line a shallow 26cm pie dish with the pastry. Fill with the cooked apples.
4) Brush egg on the lip of the pie. Roll out the remaining pastry and lay it over the top as a lid. Crimp the edges then trim excess pastry with a sharp knife. Brush the lid with egg and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Using a sharp knife make two slits in the lid to allow steam to escape.
5) Place on a baking tray then bake for 55-60 minutes until the pastry is golden and crisp.