Apple pie - Two classic recipes for apple pie made with fresh apples and spices.

apple pie
Apple pie comes in many different shapes, flavours and sizes, which is not surprising really, since the first English recipes for apple pie date back to the late 14th century. Since then, the apple pie has been adopted by almost every country in the world and sits highly in the rankings for people's most favourite dessert.

The popularity of the apple pie is immense. It is not a particularly delicate or fancy dish, yet it may be found on the sweet menu of almost every restaurant, even the most stylish and expensive.

After having eaten a two-course meal and feeling significantly stuffed, swearing that not another morsel of food will pass our lips, many of us can still be tempted by a small piece of apple pie to satisfyingly round off our meal.
Apple pie traditionally consists of a two-crust pastry that is filled with a sweet mixture of apples, sugar and spices.

In some recipes however, there is no pastry crust on the bottom and the filling is just covered by a single crust of pastry over the top. For pastry lovers, the former is probably the most appealing.

Apple pie may be served on its own, hot or cold, but you would be missing out if you didn't have a scoop of vanilla ice cream or double cream on the side, or even better, lashings of warm and creamy custard poured over the top.

A number of recipes call for the use of cooking apples such as Bramleys, yet if you do not have any to hand, other varieties of apple will suffice.

Below are two easy recipes for apple pie. The first is for a traditional one- crust apple pie, made with shortcrust pastry and the second is for a double-crust apple pie, made from rich sweetcrust pastry, a sweetened and richer version of shortcrust (see our guide to shortcrust pastry).

Traditional apple pie

  • Shortcrust pastry made with 6 oz (170 g) of flour and 3 oz (85 g) of fat
  • For the filling
    • 1½ lb (680 g) of cooking apples such as Bramleys
    • 3 oz (85 g) of brown sugar
    • ½ tsp of cinnamon
    • ½ tsp of ground nutmeg
    • caster sugar to decorate
  1. Prepare the pastry beforehand, allowing the dough to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  3. Wash, peel, core and then cut the apples into slices and place them in the bottom of a 1½ pint pie dish in layers.
  4. Sprinkle the apples evenly with the sugar and spices.
  5. Remove the pastry dough from the refrigerator, let it warm to room temperature and then knead it gently. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to a shape and thickness that will cover the pie dish.
  6. Place the pastry over the dish, so that the pastry hangs over the sides slightly. Press the pastry down onto the rim of the dish, ensuring that the filling is sealed inside.
  7. Trim the edges of the pastry with a knife and cut two slits into the pastry top to allow the steam to escape during cooking.
  8. With the remnants of the pastry, cut diamond leaf shapes and place on top of the pastry. Brush the top of the pastry with water and sprinkle with caster sugar.
  9. Place the pie dish into the preheated oven and bake for 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown in colour.
  10. Remove the pie from the oven, allow to cool and the apples to set and then serve warm with cream, custard or ice cream.

Two-crust apple pie

  • For the pastry
    • 12 oz (340 g) of plain flour
    • 8 oz (225 g) of butter
    • 3 - 4 tbsp of iced water
    • 1 tbsp of caster sugar
    • 1 tsp of salt
  • For the filling
    • 3 lb (1.4 kg) of apples
    • 5 oz (140 g) of brown sugar
    • juice of 1 lemon
    • ½ tsp of cinnamon
  • To glaze
    • 1 lightly beaten egg
  1. Make the rich sweetcrust pastry using the same method as for shortcrust pastry, but adding the sugar to the flour and salt.
  2. Preheat the oven to a temperature of 425°F (220°C).
  3. Wash, peel and core the apples and then cut them into think slices. Place them in a bowl, add the lemon juice, cinnamon and most of the sugar and mix all the ingredients together.
  4. Separate the pastry dough into two chunks and roll the first piece out so that it is slightly larger than the pie dish.
  5. Roll the pastry lightly around the rolling pin and then unroll it over the pie dish, dropping into position in the base of the dish.
  6. Layer the apples on top of the pastry, packing more into the middle area rather than at the sides.
  7. Brush the edge of the pastry with water. Roll out the second piece of pastry and place over the top, sealing the two layers of pastry together by pressing them down on them. Trim the edges with a knife.
  8. Cut two slits in the top of the pastry to allow the steam to escape.
  9. Brush the top of the pastry with the glaze of beaten egg and sprinkle the remaining sugar over the top.
  10. Place the dish into the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes. After this time, turn the heat down to 350°F (175°C) and cook for a further 45 minutes.
  11. When the pastry is golden brown in colour, remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool.
  12. Serve warm or cold.

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