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Toffee apple pie

This week the Great British bake off was all about pies. I don’t very often bake pies, usually just if I have a social occasion to bake a pudding for, or I buy the ready made pastry to do a quick savoury one. So this was a good opportunity to be inspired and bake a fruit pie as the contestants did in round 1.

I decided to go simple: a classic apple pie with a slight twist – cooking the apples in butter and brown sugar to give them a caramel/toffee flavour, with a dash of cinnamon. The pastry is a plain shortcrust, so overall the pie isn’t too sweet. I’ve made this quite a few times before, but not for a while. I know Tom loves a good fruit pie, and would have them more often if he could, so I knew this bake would go down well. Andrew also got very excited about having some – the boys usually have fruit and natural yoghurt for pudding, so it was a treat to have a small piece of apple pie on a Saturday night after tea. Not that they would have noticed, but the bake was good enough to avoid the infamous soggy bottom!

Apple pie

Here’s the recipe, which only has 8 ingredients, it really is that simple! Just make sure that you work with cold hands for the pastry, and don’t overwork it. If you like custard or cream, this would work well with one of those, but I’m not a fan of either on my puddings, and I like this just as it is.

Ingredients

Filling

  • 2 large bramley apples
  • 50g butter
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp cornflour

Pastry

  • 370g plain flour
  • 200g butter
  • cold water

Method

  1. First make the pastry: I usually cut the butter into chunks and put it in the freezer for 10 minutes or so to chill it before using it (except this time I left it a bit longer and it was very cold, but it still worked fine).
  2. Rub the butter and flour together in a bowl with your fingers until you have a breadcrumb consistency.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the crumbs and add a little cold water at a time, bringing the dough together with your hands until it sticks together in a firm ball but isn’t overly sticky.
  4. Leave it to rest at (cool) room temperature until you have made the filling.
  5. Peel and chop the apples into chunks.
  6. Melt the butter, sugar and cinnamon in a pan and add the apple, stirring and cooking for a few minutes until golden.
  7. Sprinkle the cornflour over the apple filling and stir in, then leave aside to cool slightly.
  8. On a floured board, cut the pastry into 2 pieces, one about 2 thirds of the dough and one about a third.
  9. Roll out the bigger piece of pastry to fit the bottom of your pie dish, and press it down into the bottom and sides.
  10. Put the filling into the pie and spread around evenly.
  11. Roll out the remaining pastry until big enough to cover the top of the pie.
  12. Press down the edges of the pastry where the bottom bit touches the top bit, using a fork to make indents around the rim, and trim off any excess pastry around the rim.
  13. Use the fork to make some holes in the lid of the pie, so that steam can escape when baking.
  14. Bake in the oven at 180ºC for about 30-40 minutes until lightly golden.
  15. Eat as fresh as possible.

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