I noticed the first Autumn leaves this morning. Just a few, dotted on the pavement. Various shades of yellow, they crunched satisfyingly – the promise of the season which is just beginning.
I love Autumn, most of all because of the flavours at this time of year. Warm spices, slow-cook stews, roasted fruit, apple pie. I like the zesty, light flavours of Summer, but for me, Autumn is the best time in the food calendar. This weekend, the #SundaySupper group has come together for an Autumn Apple Party, hosted by Cindy of Cindy’s Recipes and Writings. We’re showcasing the versatility and sheer deliciousness of this ubiquitous autumnal fruit.
I was originally hoping to create the most traditional of British apple pies, the kind that my grandma makes, but it ended up a little different to that. Gluten-free pastry is particularly tricky to work with, since it is gluten that gives pastry its stretchiness. So after battling with the base, the leftover pastry was too prone to falling to pieces to allow me to make a lid. So instead, I made pastry decorations for the top. The overall effect ended up a little rustic and most definitely homemade – but isn’t that what you want from an apple pie?
I also added lemon zest to the apples to give a last, summery lift to the dish. So, if you want a non-traditional pie, follow this recipe, otherwise omit the lemon zest and make a complete lid for the pie.
For the pie:
For the custard:
To make the pastry, rub the flour, sugar, and butter together between your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. (You can also whizz in a blender). Make sure your hands are cold when handling pastry at all stages – run them under cold water before you start. Add a small amount of water and some of the beaten egg yolk and bring the mixture together to form a dough. Work the pastry as little as possible. When it has come together in a ball, wrap in clingflim and pop in the fridge for 30 mins.
While the pastry is chilling, Preheat the oven to 200C. Grease a circular baking tin or ceramic dish.
Peel and roughly chop the apples. Put into a pan of boiling water and stew for a few minutes until soft, but not mushy. Drain the apples and sprinkle over brown sugar and lemon zest, stirring in.Set the apples to one side and allow to cool.
Roll out the pastry on a floured surface until it is fairly thin. Lift carefully into the baking tin and press around the bottom edge. Cut away the excess pastry. Pierce the pastry base with a fork (or cover with baking beans) and blind bake for 15-20 mins.
While the pastry case is baking, cut out autumnal designs from the remaining pastry (or roll it out large enough to make a lid).
Fill the pastry case with the apples and top with the pastry designs. Glaze with the beaten egg yolk and bake for about 30 mins until pastry is golden.
While the pie is cooking, make the custard. Put the egg yolks, cornflour, sugar and vanilla extract into a pan and whisk with a balloon whisk until combined. Add the milk and cream slowly, whisking together all the time. Put the pan over a low heat and stir continuously until it thickens. Remove from heat and put into a jug. Stand the jug in a pan of hot water to keep it warm.
Remove the pie from the oven and serve while hot with the custard. It can also be frozen for another day.
I know it seems like there is quite a lot to do and it is a little time-consuming, but none of it is particularly difficult and it is a very satisfying process. While you can blitz pastry in a blender, I find it a very calming thing to make by hand, letting the flour and butter fall between my fingers. There is never more than one thing going on at a time, and ample time to clear up from each stage as you wait. This is my favourite kind of baking – an afternoon of happiness in the kitchen.
If you need more apple inspiration, look no further: this week’s menu is bursting with recipes! I think it is one of #SundaySupper’s biggest weeks yet. So peruse the recipes and see what takes your fancy. Here’s to a delicious Autumn!
Soups, Salads, Starters and Breads
Remember you can join us on Twitter 7:00 pm EST for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat – Just follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, or you can follow us through TweetChat! We’d also love to feature your apple recipes on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board and share them with all of our followers!