Bramley apple and cinnamon pie
My mum has a Bramley apple tree in her garden, which means I get bags and bags of them. You can make this pie with any sort of cooking apple, like a Granny Smith, but I love the sourness of Bramley apples particularly when you drown them in sweet custard.
You can use shop bought pastry, but if you have a bit of spare time one weekend, try making this pastry, I can’t tell you how much difference it makes to the finished pie, it really does taste a million times better. A fabulous pastry makes the apples taste seriously good.
I like a lot of cinnamon so I use 2 teaspoons in the recipe below – you can always cut this down to 1 teaspoon if you prefer a milder flavour.
I don’t have a recipe for custard as this is the one thing I always buy from M&S. I haven’t got the patience for making custard, life is too short!
Bramley apple and cinnamon pie
INGREDIENTS Pastry 340g plain flour 225g butter (very cold), cut into 1cm cubes pinch of salt ½ cup very cold water (I usually put an ice-cube in the water to make it extra cold) 1 egg yolk (Burford Browns)
Apple filling 7 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and cut into large pieces (4cm thick chunks) ¾ cup caster sugar (I love using golden caster for flavour) 1 tablespoon lemon juice 2 tablespoons plain flour 1-2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon (if you like a strong cinnamon flavour use 2 tsps) 25g butter, cut into 1cm cubes milk for brushing
28cm pie tin
Make the pastry first.
Sieve the flour into a large bowl and add the butter cubes and salt. Rub the butter into the flour – you want the pieces of butter to end up being about the size of small peas. Be lazy and slap dash with the flour and butter as you mustn’t over work the pastry in your hands. You do want to leave visible chunks of butter in the flour. When the pastry bakes in the oven, those large pieces of butter will melt to create airy spaces by pushing the layers of pastry apart. This results in a beautifully light and crisp pastry.
Mix the egg yolk and all the cold water, and then add to the flour/butter mixture. Very, very gently bring all the ingredients together to form a ball of dough. Again, do not overwork the pastry as the more you work the gluten (protein) in the flour, the tougher it gets. Carefully draw in the flour/butter mixture and water together into a ball.
Cut the pastry ball in half, wrap each half in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to get cold and very hard.
While the pastry is chilling, prepare the filling.
Preheat the oven to 200C, butter a 28cm pie tin and set to one side while you roll out the pastry.
Place the lemon juice in a large bowl.
Peel and core all the apples. Cut into large chunks – Bramley apples become soft and mushy when they are cooked, so if you cut big pieces (4cm x 2cm) they will retain their shape better. Place the prepared apples in the bowl with the lemon juice and mix. Add the sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter pieces and mix well.
Dust a work top with flour and carefully roll out the first piece of pastry (again do not work it too much otherwise it will be hard like a biscuit once baked) to fit the bottom of the pie tin with enough to come up and over hang the sides.
Tip the apple mixture into the pastry tin.
Roll out the last piece of pastry to be large enough to cover the pie with a slight overhang. Make 4 small slits in the pastry so steam can escape while baking.
Crimp the pastry edges together (I like to use a fork), trim the overhang with a sharp knife, brush with a little milk and place in the oven for 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden.
Remove from the oven and leave on a cooling rack for at least 2-4 hours to properly cool down. When the hot pie comes out of the oven, it will literally be swimming in the inside of the pie with tons of apple juice. By letting the hot pie cool for a few of hours, the apples will be able to re-absorb all the juice. Serve with lots of lovely custard, ice-cream or whipped cream.
Preparation time 30 minutes, refrigeration time 30 minutes, baking 40 minutes, 6-8 adult portions