An apple pie that is delicious, especially when the apples just come into season. The pie filling literally just contains apples and a little sugar so the full flavour of the apples come through. It has a sweet pastry lid that when cooked is buttery and crumbly. For a mouthwatering finish serve with cream or ice cream.
Simply Apple Pie
6 –8 servings
- Preparation time: 45 minutes
- Standing time: 50 minutes
- Cooking time: 40–45 minutes
- For the pastry
- 225 g (8 oz) self raising/self-rising flour (1¾ cups)
- 1 tbsp icing/powdered sugar
- 140 g (5 oz) cold butter, cut into cubes (⅔ cup, or 1 stick plus 2 tbsp)
- 1 egg yolk
- pinch of salt
- For the filling
- 1.35 kg (3 lb) Bramley apples/apples suitable for cooking
- 115 g (4 oz) caster/superfine sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp) plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 egg white, lightly whisked
- You will also need a 28 x 20 cm (11 x 8 inch) deep pie dish, sides and rim buttered. Also a pie raiser, buttered.
For the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and add the sugar.
Then rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Whisk the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of cold water together in a small jug. Gradually pour onto the flour mixture while mixing in with a palette knife until it starts to form small clumps. You may need extra water.
Quickly knead by hand to bring the mixture together. Wrap in cling film/plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes. Roll it out fairly thinly. Upturn the dish onto the centre of the pastry and use it as a template to cut out the lid, adding an extra 2.5cm (1 inch) all the way round.
Then reroll the excess pastry and cut out a 5cm (2 inch) wide strip, enough to go round the rim of the dish. Apply this to the flat rim taking it down inside the dish. Press into place and make joins where necessary. Put the pie raiser in the middle of the dish.
For the filling, prepare the apples one at a time. Peel, cut into quarters and core. Cut each quarter into four and pile into the dish as you go, sprinkling some sugar between each layer. They should pile up high in the dish which will help to support the pastry lid.
Brush the pastry covered rim with cold water and then put on the lid. Crimp the lid and rim pressing together as you work your way round the rim.
Cut 4 slashes in the lid and return the pie to the fridge for another 30 minutes (can be left for up to 2 hours).
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190°C (375F) (gas 5).
Remove the pie from the fridge and brush the surface with the egg white, then sprinkle with sugar.
Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 40–45 minutes until a pale golden colour.
Updated: February 8, 2020
This is a lovely light dessert and another way to enjoy strawberries now they are at the height of their season.
The base is a soft meringue nest which is filled with a lemon cream custard, topped with whipped cream and decorated with delicious strawberries.
6 –8 servings
- Preparation time: 25 minutes
- Chilling time: 2 hours
- Cooking time: 1 hour 25 minutes
- For the meringue
- 4 eggs large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only (reserve the yolks for the filling)
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- 225 g 8 oz caster/superfine sugar (1 cup + 2 tbsp)
- For the filling
- 4 egg yolks
- 100 g 3½ oz granulated/white sugar (½ cup)
- 1 lemon
- 225 ml 8 fl oz whipping/double cream or heavy cream (1 cup)
- For the topping
- 120 ml 4 fl oz whipping/double cream or heavy cream (½ cup)
- 2 tbsp icing/powdered sugar
- 280 g 10 oz strawberries, washed and hulled (1 punnet or about 2 cups)
- You will also need a 23cm 9 inch round glass dish.
For the meringue
Preheat the oven to 130°C(250°F) (gas ½)
Whip the egg whites until stiff. Sprinkle over the cream of tartar then gradually add the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the meringue is smooth and glossy.
Very lightly grease the glass dish then spoon in the meringue making a nest about 2.5cm (1 inch) deep with a rim about 5cm (2 inches) deep.
Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes and then leave to cool.
For the filling
Zest half the lemon and squeeze the juice from the whole lemon and set to one side.
Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a glass bowl sitting over a pan of just simmering water. (Make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water.) Stir in the lemon juice and zest. Continue to cook for about 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened, stirring frequently. Remove the bowl from the pan and leave to cool.
Now, whip the cream until soft peaks just start to form (you don’t want it to become stiff). Then fold into the cooled lemon sauce until incorporated. Pour into the meringue nest, level the top, and chill for 2 hours.
For the topping
Whip the cream and sugar together until stiff and spread over the lemon filling.
Decorate with the strawberries. If they are small, leave them whole but if they are large, slice them.
Updated: July 25, 2018
An individual chicken pie for each member of the family. Succulent chicken pieces cooked in creamy sauce with sweetcorn and peas, and a light pastry topping, is guaranteed to fill the hungriest tummies. And you can personalize them!
4 individual pies
- Preparation time: 35 minutes plus 10 minutes to prepare the pastry
- Cooking time: 30 minutes hob 30 minutes oven
- For the pastry
- 340 g 12 oz plain/cake and pastry flour (2⅓ cups)
- 85 g 3 oz cold butter (⅜ cup, or ¾ stick), cut into small cubes
- 85 g 3 oz lard (⅜ cup), cut into small cubes
- pinch of salt
- 4 tbsp cold water
- 1 egg beaten
- For the filling
- 450 g 1 lb boneless chicken breasts (about 3), skin removed, OR
- 600 g 1 lb 5 oz chicken joints, skin removed
- 1 carrot cut into large chunks
- 1 onion quartered
- 1 bay leaf
- a few parsley stalks
- 6 black peppercorns
- 28 g 1 oz butter (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick)
- 28 g 1 oz flour (1½ tbsp)
- 2 tbsp double/whipping or heavy cream
- 100 g 3⅓ oz frozen peas (¾ cup)
- 115 g/4 oz) frozen sweetcorn ⅔ cup
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- You will also need four 300ml 10 fl oz ovenproof basins
Put the chicken in a pan with the carrot, onion, bay leaf, parsley stalks, and peppercorns. Cover with cold water and bring to just under the boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer for 15–20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through, skimming the surface regularly.
Meanwhile, sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Rub in the butter and lard until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the water over the flour and use a palette knife to bring the flour and water together. When it starts to bind, remove from the bowl and then lightly knead by hand. Wrap in cling film/wrap and place in the fridge to rest for 20 minutes.
When the chicken has cooked, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. Strain off and reserve 400ml (14 fl oz) (1¾ cups) of the poaching stock, discarding the rest along with the herbs and vegetables.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Add the flour and mix to form a smooth paste. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the reserved stock until it is thoroughly blended and smooth. Then return to a medium heat and stir until it starts to thicken. Simmer for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Now pour in the cream and simmer for a further 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until there is a smooth, thick sauce.
Strip the chicken meat off the bones, if joints were used. Cut the chicken meat into small chunks and stir into the sauce along with the peas, sweetcorn and parsley. Season well.
Now, roll out the pastry thinly. Using the top of one of the ovenproof basins as a guide, cut out four circles of pastry 2cm (¾ inch) larger than the diameter of the basin.
Divide the chicken mixture between the four dishes. Dampen the pastry edges with water and cover the tops of the basins, pressing the edges of the pastry against the rim of the basins. Brush the tops with beaten egg.
Any trimmings can be used to decorate the pies. A personal touch would be to put names on the top. Making the letters does take time but makes it special. Place any decorations on the pastry top and brush these with remaining beaten egg.
Place the four basins on a baking sheet and then pop in the oven for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden.
Serve with seasonal vegetables.
Updated: April 7, 2018