The Apple Pie Impulse

I didn't intend to bake an apple pie, it just sort of happened.  It was an apple pie impulse brought on by the fact that our home grown apples were beginning to look a bit 'less than perfect'. 

We've had several apple cakes and made apple jelly.  Baking a pie was just the logical thing to do, a grand finale to the home grown apple season.  

Let me get the apologies out of the way right now.  Sorry the photos are AWFUL.  It was twilight when I started baking so I'd lost the light.  Sorry the crust isn't decorated with pastry apple leaves or lattice work.  It was an impulse bake so I didn't even think about doing something fancy.  But, hey, if apple pie can't look rustic then what can?!  The truth is, I love a double crust apple pie because it has double the crust and that is my favourite part, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.  

The first thing to do is prepare the crust.  This recipe makes an 8 inch pie so you need enough short crust pastry to line the pie plate and top the filling.  Lots of people are put off making pastry.  If you are one of them don't deny yourself the pleasure of pie. Shop bought pastry will do just fine.  

This is the recipe I used for the Short Crust:

250 grams plain white flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
70 grams cold butter - cut into cubes
70 grams vegetable shortening  (Trex or Crisco)
Cold milk - approximately 4-6 Tablespoons 

Mix the flour and salt, add the butter and shortening.  Use your fingers or a pastry cutter to work the butter and shortening into the flour.  It should look like breadcrumbs.  Add the milk ONE Tablespoon at a time, mixing with a fork until the pastry begins to come together.   Use your hands to finish combining the pastry.  Wrap the pastry in cling film, pat it into a rough circle, and place it into the fridge to chill while you make the filling.

Apple Filling

5 cups thinly sliced apples - peeled and cored
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar -  this depends on your apples, taste for sweetness
3 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon butter

Place the apple slices into a large bowl sprinkle over the flour, cinnamon, and salt.  Add about 1/3 cup sugar, stir well to coat the apple slices and taste.  Too tart?  Add more sugar, stir and taste again.  You will know when you've got it right.  

Set the oven to 400F/200C.   Butter the inside of an 8 inch pie plate. 

Take the short crust pastry out of the fridge and divide it into two equal pieces. Place one piece of the pastry between two pieces of plastic wrap. (This will keep the pastry from sticking to the rolling pin and make it easier to put into the pie plate.)  Roll the crust into a rough circle large enough to line the bottom and sides of the pie dish.  

Place the pastry into the pie dish.  Let the extra bits just hang over the edge. You will need them later. 

Pour the sliced apples into the pastry lined dish.  Break the tablespoon of butter into little pieces and place over the sliced apples.  

Repeat the pasty rolling technique with the remaining short crust.  Top the apples with the pastry 'lid'.  Using your fingers, pinch the two crusts together to seal in the apple juices.  

Brush to top crust with a little milk.  Sprinkle over a pinch of sugar.  Dust with cinnamon and place the pie on a baking sheet lined with a bit of baking paper. Make a few cuts in the top crust to let the steam out of the pie as it bakes.  

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and apple juices are bubbling out of the slits in the crust.  

To avoid a 'soggy bottom' you must allow the pie to cool before cutting into it. If you aren't bothered about the soggy bottom bit... and I AM NOT... you can enjoy a slice of warm apple pie.  Some like vanilla ice cream, clotted cream, or custard with their pie. I've even know those who like a slice of Cheddar cheese.  I prefer mine just as it is... RUSTIC!  


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