THE Apple Pie. I've called it this because 1) I think you only need 1 apple pie in your life and 2) it's THE Apple Pie I made for my American Pie video. I found when I made the pie the first time that juices certainly are a problem even with apple pies. I knew it was a problem for berries but truth be told I've not made many with apple and arrogantly thought I have covered myself by tossing the apple pieces in cornflour. I was wrong. Now one solution to avoid juices is to precook the apples but I like bite and texture, so I decided instead to precook the juices. By doing this you have a pie that won't dribble apple juice everywhere when you slice it up, it's a simple as that, but you won't lose any of the flavour, and the flavour is the sweet spot. It's pretty simple in that it's just lemon, sugar, and cinnamon with the apple but this is all you need. The only thing you need to consider is how hot do you leave the pie before serving and what do you serve it with?
Hands-on Time plus Chilling/Resting 45 minutes
Baking Time 65 minutes
400g Plain flour
165g Caster Sugar
250g Unsalted butter, cold
2 Eggs, medium
2 tsp Water, cold
1kg Cooking apples
1/4 tsp Fine salt
1 tsp Ground cinnamon
1 tbsp Demerara sugar
20cm Pie tin
Add the flour and 40 grams of caster sugar to a bowl. Grate over the zest of a lemon and mix together.
Using a knife cube the butter over the flour mixture.
Rub the butter into the flour using your fingers until you have breadcrumbs. I find it easier to toss the cubes in the flour and flatten each piece with my fingers before rubbing.
Add one egg and the water to the breadcrumbs and combine using the spoon. You should find a dough starts to form. I find it’s better to combine using a spoon than your hands as you’re less likely to overwork the dough and also soften the butter from the heat of your body.
Add more water, a teaspoon at a time, only if you think it needs it, although you shouldn’t.
Once all breadcrumbs have been incorporated, wrap the dough up in a large piece of baking parchment.
Pop into the fridge for at least 60 minutes before using.
Squeeze the juice of the lemon into a clean bowl.
Peel an apple, quarter and remove the core. Halve each quarter and chop each into 4 pieces similar in size to pineapple pieces. Add to the lemon juice in the bowl and stir with a clean spoon. This will stop the apple from browning.
Repeat with your remaining apples.
Add 125 grams of caster sugar, salt, and cinnamon to the apples and stir.
Leave the apples to sit for at least an hour so they can release their juices.
When the time has passed carefully pour the juices into a small saucepan, leaving the apple pieces in the bowl.
Add 25 grams of cornflour to the saucepan and stir using a spatula. You may have some lumps but these should go once you start heating the juices.
Pop the pan over the low heat and stir until the juices have thickened into a paste.
Remove the pan from the heat.
Add the remaining 25 grams of cornflour to the apple pieces and toss using a spoon. Then add the thickened juices and stir to coat.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C(Fan)/375°F/Gas mark 5 and place a baking sheet on the middle shelf to heat up.
Take the pastry out of the fridge. Halve and roll one portion out into a sheet bigger than the pie dish. Remember to flour your surface and pin, and lift and rotate the dough every now and then to ensure it doesn’t stick and you have an even roll.
Lift and lay the sheet over the pie dish. Using your fingers press it into the bottom of the dish and around the sides. If you find that you have any gaps take a piece of dough and flatten so it’s larger than the bit you need to patch and place it over where you need to fix. Pinch around the edges to blend it into the pastry already in the dish.
Gently spoon the apples into the dish and spread them out so there aren’t any large gaps.
Roll the remaining dough out into another sheet and choose how you want to top the pie. You could either place the sheet as it is. If you do, you will need to press down the edges of the dough, trim off any excess, and crimp using either your fingers and thumb or a fork. Also cut a hole in the middle as a vent.
If you want to make a lattice then cut out a series of strips.
I find it’s best to lay them onto a piece of baking parchment so you can see if you have enough and practice your layering. Using pastry scraps to make more strips. Place them onto the apple, press down the edges, and then trim.
If you have any leftover pastry, you can always make some decorations too. You can ‘glue’ them on using beaten egg.
Brush the top of the pie with a beaten egg and sprinkle with the demerara sugar.
Pop the pie into the oven onto the heated sheet for 15 minutes before lowering the temperature to 150°C/130°C(Fan)/300°F/Gas mark 2 and continue to bake for a further 50 minutes.
By this time the apples should be cooked and the pie should be a beautiful golden colour.
Either enjoy nice and hot or leave to cool.