You will need:
- 2 large cooking apples weighing about 1 and aquarter lb, 550 g, the weight isn’t too significant so long as you make sure you have enough.
- 8 oz, 225 g, of plain flour.
- now depending on which you prefer, you can either use 4 oz, 110 g, margarine, or 2 oz, 50 g, of both margarine and lard.
- 2 level tbsps of caster sugar for the pastry.
- 2 level tbsps of granulated sugar to sweeten the fruit, you can always add a little more if you don’t fine the fruit sweet enough after you have partly cooked it through.
- a small pinch of salt or a few drops of lemon juice to add to the cold water and fruit, plus a quarter tsp of salt for the pastry.
- a few whole cloves or a small pinch of ground cloves (optional).
- 6 to 8 tbsps of cold water to mix the pastry.
- 3 to 4 tbsps of water for the fruit.
- a bowl of cold water for the prepared fruit.
- a little milk to glaze.
You will need to lightly grease a 6 or 7 inch, 15 to 18 cm, pie plate or dish which has a flat rim around the edge and a slight well in the centre so that it will support the fruit.
- Peel, slice and core the apples. I find that using a potato peeler with a y-shaped handle with a horizontal blade running across the top gives very good results. The peel comes away cleanly without taking away any of the fruit. Continue to peel, core and slice the apples, see glossary (apples), for a much more detailed explanation.
- After you have sliced the apples into fairly small chunks, about eight pieces to each fruit, drop them into a bowl of cold water containing a few drops of lemon juice or a small pinch of salt to prevent them from going brown while you make the pastry.
- Set the oven to Gas Mark 6, 400 F, 200 C, 170 Fan.
- Make the short crust pastry.
- Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
- Break the margarine, or margarine and lard into small pieces and drop them into a well in the centre of the flour.
- Rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then stir in the caster sugar. See glossary (pastry), for a full explanation and tips on how to successfully make a pie.
- When you have made your dough successfully, put it into a polythene bag then into the fridge to keep it cool while you cook the apples.
- Next, remove the apples from the cold water, put them into the pan with the granulated sugar, cloves, and 4 tbsps of water.
- Heat them gently, stirring until they begin to bubble.
- keep the heat at simmer and partly cook them through for about ten minutes or so. By this time the fruit should be still slightly firm, just a little resistant, when tested with the prongs of a fork.
- While your apples are cooking, lightly flour your worktop, remove the pastry from the fridge, break the dough in half and roll each piece out until it is about a quarter inch thick. Don’t make it too thin for a pie case that is going to hold a heavy filling. Now see (pastry) in the glossary again for tips on how to roll out and measure your pastry, then continue to make the pie. When it is ready to go into the oven, don’t forget to prick the top a few times to let out the steam while it’s cooking and brush with a little milk to give a nice glazed finish.
- Cook the pie, just above the centre of the pre-heated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the crust is nicely golden brown and firm to the touch.
Sprinkle the top of the pie with a bit more caster sugar before serving it either hot or cold, if you have a sweet tooth.
This pie is traditionally served hot, after a Sunday dinner of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, with a good helping of lovely thick hot custard.