Pastry. It's a right bugger isn't it? The quest for the illustrious golden brown crust with no soggy bottom... Half the battle is the method, but the other is definitely the tools. I once made an apple pie in my beautiful pink ceramic pie dish... disaster! The ceramic didn't conduct the heat adequately, and boom... the soggiest bottom since a wet weekend in Wales.
Last week my new Nordic Ware enamel tins arrived... and yes, I had pies in mind! There would be no messing about. I planned to right the wrong of that pretty pink pie dish (which now sits gathering dust at the back of the cupboard). These pies would scratch a seven year itch. I made individual apple and cinnamon pies with a few fancy lids.
I make my pastry by hand, and had actual fear in my belly as it started to come together. The last time I had made it, I followed a new recipe which I lived to regret. You could have built a small outhouse with it. Solid as a rock. Boo...
No fear with this one! It was a recipe created from about five or so I had found on the internet, with my own little twist. The result is a lovely short and crisp pastry, which is still strong enough to hold its shape when removed form the tin.
Makes 8 good sized individual pies, with pastry left over for jam tarts...
Sweet shortcrust pastry
- 400g plain flour
- 40g golden caster sugar
- 1/4 tsp mixed spice
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 150g cold unsalted butter - cubed
- 100g cold vegetable fat - cubed
- 1 large egg - beaten
- 1 tbsp cold water
- 400g Bramley apples - peeled and sliced thinly
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Sift the flour, sugar and mixed spice into a large bowl.
- Stir in the lemon rind.
- Tip in the fats and rub in until the mix looks like golden breadcrumbs. Make sure your hands are as cold as ice! (Your heart shall remain warm...)
- Stir in the beaten egg and water with a round bladed knife.
- Stir for a couple of minutes or until it starts to form a ball. If there are lots of dry bits, add another tablespoon of water.
- Knead the ball about five times - it should look smoother. Do not over work it...
- Cover with cling film and pop it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile... sift the sugar, cornflour and cinnamon over the apples and toss.
- Once rested, roll out your pastry to about 5mm thick and line your pie dishes. Push the dough into the nooks and crannies! I used a 6 inch cutter for the base, and a 5 inch cutter for the round tops. I also made a lattice with strips, and used a heart cutter for the other. Seal the lids in place with a bit of egg wash, and then wash the top and sprinkle with caster sugar. Make little blow holes on pies with lids...
- Bake at gas 6/200 C for about 30 minutes.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I made these pies because pastry is my nemesis, and I fancied kicking it in the pants.
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