Back in school, when I did not know a spatula from a sieve, the big sister would be the one in the kitchen, rustling up a storm. She said it then and she says it now, "Cooking de-stresses me"! This was pre-Internet days and much before the onslaught of cookery programmes on TV. She would pour over all of my mother's old cookery books, searching for something new to try out. She was the family chef and yours truly was her willing guinea pig.
One of her most prized recipes those days, actually still is, was a simple apple pie. What seems simple now was at the time, special. My palate was very basic and the Indian food scene was very limited. Come to think of it, the only restaurant in Bombay that used to serve apple pie was probably, Gallops at the Racecourse! So, making apple pie at home was very special. And family, friends and anyone and everyone who had her pie, raved about it!
So, the other day when a friend asked me if I had an apple pie recipe up on the blog, I thought I give a shot at recreating the old favourite.
The construct of this recipe is simple. The crust is a short crust pastry dough and the filling is cut apple slices that have been tossed with some sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice.
Pulling it out of the oven, it hit me why this one will always be a family favourite. It is simple and unpretentious baking at its best. The warm, flaky buttery crust will always be a winner and when it encases that beautiful, cinnamon flavoured apple filling that has been zested up with a hit of lemon juice, it is destined to be a classic. Superlatives fall short on what a perfect combination apples and cinnamon are. The way it makes your kitchen smell is an added bonus!
Earlier on the blog, I had made a French Apple Tart from the 'Baking with Julia' book. But, in that tart, the filling was an apple compote. Out here, the apple slices still have a slight bite to them which I personally much prefer.
Making this recipe took me back years. Every time I would ask my sister to bake me an apple pie, in return she would ask me to do something for her, like clean her room or something equally tormenting. What a bully! In defence of my easy subjugation, there are very few desserts more perfect than a well-made apple pie!
Makes one 8-inch pie
For the Short Crust Pastry: (you will use 2/3rd of the dough for this recipe)Directions
Makes one 8-inch pie
For the Short Crust Pastry: (you will use 2/3rd of the dough for this recipe)
- 2 1/2 cup plain flour
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup ice cold water
For the filling
- 3 medium apples
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 deg C.
- Pie Crust: In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds).
- Pour 1/4 cup (60 ml) water in a slow, steady stream until the dough just holds together when pinched. If necessary, add more water. Do not process more than 30 seconds.
- Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball. Divide the dough in half, flattening each half into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour before using. This will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour.
- Filling : Core and peel the apples and cut them into slices. As you slice them, coat them in lemon juice to avoid them turning brown.
- Once all cut, toss them with the sugar and cinnamon powder.
- Once the crust has chilled for an hour, remove one half of the dough and roll it out into a 10 inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Line your pie tin with the crust and let it rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the fridge, line the pie crust with some baking parchment and fill up the crust with baking beans or old rice/grain. Bake blind the pie crust for 15 minutes. This will prevent the crust from puffing up.
- After 15 minutes, remove the baking beans and parchment paper and let the crust continue to bake by itself for another 5 minutes.
- While the crust is baking blind, roll out part of the remaining dough. Using a pizza cutter or fluted edged pastry wheel, cut the pastry into 1/2 inch wide strips.
- Remove from the oven, fill the crust with the apple filling. Be generous and fill the crust right to the top with the filling
- Using an offset spatula gently transfer the strips to the tart pan into a lattice design. Lay half the strips, evenly spaced, across the tart and then turn the pan a quarter turn and lay the remaining strips across the first strips so you have a lattice pattern. Seal and trim the edges of the strips to fit the tart pan.
- Brush the top of the lattice top with some melted butter. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the pastry has browned. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Serve warm.