My Grandmother's Apple Pie.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Last Saturday my Mum, Dad, Sister and Grandmother came up to my new student home to make it more inhabitable. My Mum got to work in the garden, my Dad was buzzing around with his toolbox and grout and my Grandmother and I got to baking. My forever helpful sister tested the comfy factor of the sofa throughout the day, thank you very much Jo, much appreciated.
Anyway, my Nan, the first culinary great I ever met, was on pie making tutorial duty with me. We had a brilliant afternoon making the kitchen smell of buttery pastry and apples. If you hadn't guessed, we made apple pie. And it was 'scrumptious', according to my boyfriend who managed to wangle two slices somehow...

For my Nan's Apple Pie you will need:

For the pastry:
300g plain flour
150g salted butter
2-3 tablespoons cold water
2-3 tablespoons milk

For the filling:
4 large cooking apples
170g granulated sugar

Who knew this recipe was such a simple one? For those who are intimidated by pies (as I once was) don't be. They are so straight forward and only a little work and a little love is needed for the pastry.
If you are just wanting to make pastry for any other occasion then follow my Nan's advice: half fat to the flour. So basically use double the amount of flour as you do butter. Sorted. 

So, to begin preheat the oven to 190c. Then heap the flour into a mixing bowl. Nan says don't worrying about sifting it on this occasion, no point. Love that woman. 

Then cut your butter into cubes. This will make it easier to rub into the flour. 

Add butter cubes to the mixing bowl and rub, rub away!

As always, I advocate getting buttery fingers. Even if you have to spend five minutes scrubbing your fingernails afterwards, squishing butter between your fingers for a while is unusually satisfying. Don't ask, just do it.

You're trying to achieve a light crumbly consistency. Grandmother tip: use only the tips of your fingers so the butter doesn't melt. Heavy handed = hot. And that's no good for the pastry.

Once crumbled, add 2-3 cold (the icier the better) tablespoons of water and rub in with your fingers. Be gentle with the dough, it doesn't need to be kneaded. Just persuaded into a ball. Try to be gentle with it. Apparently my stress relief method wasn't appropriate. We're all learning today.

Once ball shaped, wrap in clingfilm and stick it in the fridge until your filling is prepared. This should keep the dough firm. 

Now peel and core your apples. Try to be tidier than me. That isn't hard apparently. 

Then slice your apples finely. As we are not cooking them before they go into the pie, they hold their integrity and do wonders for the texture and appearance. Trust Grandmother on this one.

Grandmother tip #2: If you are a leisurely apple chopper, put the prepared apples in a bowl with some lemon juice or salt in to keep them from browning.

Once all the apples are prepared, pour the sugar over and make sure it covers all of the apples. If you have to get your hands in there, do. I did.

Now grease your pie tin. Ordinary margarine will do for this, but my Nan had a top tip for me (and consequently you guys) that goes beyond the simple realms of margarine. Flour. Grease as per usual (with marge/butter) then sprinkle in flour and shimmy around the tin. When you come to serve the pie there should be no slices that look like they've been thrown onto the plate with a shovel. Hopefully.

Now get your pastry out of the fridge and divide into two thirds and one. 

Roll the two thirds portion out for the bottom layer of the pie. Had to be shown several times and coached thoroughly on how to roll the pastry into a round(ish) shape. Make sure to roll the pastry fairly thin. I think apple pies are at their best when the pastry doesn't take over the whole dish. Makes for a lighter, more eatable pie.

Use the rolling pin to transfer easily into your pie dish. 

Add in your filling.

Roll out the other third of pastry. I did that circle all by myself. I would've liked applause but nobody obliged... 

Place over the top. Brush the edges with water and then marry the two pastry layers together with a fork. Cut an x in the top to let steam escape. Unless you want authentic exploded pie for tea.

Then brush the pastry with a little milk.

Sprinkle over some granulated sugar and bake for 45 minutes.

I advise staying in the kitchen the whole time it bakes so you don't miss out on any of the smell. It is truly wonderful.  

Leave to cool, cut into slices and serve with ice cream, custard, cream or whatever you like! This little pie gets on with everyone and everything, flirt. Was going to make an awful joke about it being a tart rather than a pie, but stopped myself. Be grateful. 

Enjoy readers. I feel an age of pie coming on. I love pastry!
L. xxxxxx


  1. This looks seriously delicious, love the explanations too.

  2. Your photography is fantastic - love it.

  3. Anon 1 and 2: Thank you! So glad you're enjoyed the post :)

  4. The tart looks good enough to eat - and so does the apple pie!!


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