Tuesday, 31 January 2012

My mother’s apple pie (or simply the best short crust pastry recipe of all time).

I actually have no idea where this recipe ever came from in the first place – it is probably one of the earliest and most fundamental memories of baking or dessert from my childhood. We have always had “Normandy apple pie” and it is a dish that, as an adult, I have taken to international pot luck parties in Japan, baked in place of a cake for my other half’s birthday, and from which I have adopted the pasty for numerous other culinary adventures. It's a very easy pie as the crust isn't blind/pre-baked....everything just goes in together, meaning that the pastry is very moist and also appley itself. If you do use this pastry for another, wetter pie, you will need to pre-bake the crust.

But as far as I have ever known, this is a recipe in my mother’s faded handwriting on a grubby piece of paper tucked into one of the oldest cookbooks in our house.

225g or 2 cups plain flour
150g or 2/3 cup butter
2 egg yolks
75g or 1/3 cup sugar
110g or 3/4 cup walnut pieces, chopped
3 tsp cinnamon
a little water
4 very crisp, green apples

Pre-heat your oven to 340f or 170c.

1. Mix flour and softened butter, add egg yolks, sugar, walnuts and cinnamon.
2. Mix into a stiff dough - you'll usually need to add a few teaspoons of water to make a dough which you can roll out without splitting but add them one at a time. 
3. Cut dough in 2.
4. Roll half out into a round and line a buttered flan or pie dish with it, including up the sides. If there are cracks or messy areas, press rolls of the other half of the dough flat into the spaces - it should mould like clay.
5. Once you have a filled pie dish, peel the four apples, remove the cores and cut into thick slices, arranging them in layers the dish.
6. Roll out the second half of the pastry and cover your pie with it. Press the edges down to seal. Lastly, make a few pricks in surface.
7. Bake for 35-40 mins at 170c or 340f. You may need to turn the temp down a little if the pie starts to brown too much, too fast. 
Yum Yum YUM.

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