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Apple Pie with Custard Pie Crust

Friday, 3 December 2010

Winter came early this year and it seems that almost the entire UK is covered by a blanket of snow. Glad that I'm back home in forever Summer Malaysia. I made this pie when the weather was still relatively warm and dry, during the Autumn leaf-fall season, in the UK. I can't believe it's been only 2 weeks and the UK is hit by heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures. Anyway, Autumn may be gone, but it's never too late for pies.

Apple Pie 1

The first apple I made was a disaster. I used store-bought shortcrust pastry and yet it still turned out bad. I didn't stew the apples and they were still crunchy and dry. For some weird reason or maybe I was scarred, that was the only apple pie I made. The wild boar then got a recipe from his mum telling me it's a recipe for a "damn good" apple pie and asked me to re-create it.
To be honest, I love eating pies but making pastries is just not my thing. I'm rarely successful with making pastries from scratch. I prefer baking cakes which only involves one element and the creaming method - much higher success rate, easy and yummy. So, the recipe has been safely tucked in my "to-cook (someday)" folder for the past couple of years. That "someday" came and I finally had a courage to make it. The pastry is rather interesting as it is made out of custard flour. I'm not sure what it does, probably the same function as adding cornstarch to pastries for a more tender texture.

apple pie crust

The pie crust was really tender and crumbly even without the addition of shortening. It also has a nice orangey yellow colour.

Apple Pie
For filling:
  • 7 large cooking apples, weighing about 1 kg (2 lbs) - I used 3 golden delicious and 3 granny smith
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 3 tbs caster sugar (more, if apples are sour)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp cornflour + 1 tsp water
For pastry:
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 3/4 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup custard flour - I used Bird's custard powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 185 g (6 ozs.) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk - beaten
  • 3 tbs iced water
  • 1 egg white - beaten (for glazing)
  • 1 tbs caster sugar (for sprinkling on top of pie)
  • 2 tbs plum or apricot jam

For filling:
  • Peel, core and cut apples into thin wedges. Wash and place in a wide-mouthed saucepan that is not too deep.
  • Add water and lemon rind and cook in covered pan till apple pieces are tender but still holding their shape.
  • If there is too much liquid, spoon out some before adding sugar, salt cinnamon, nutmeg and cornflour mixture, stirring contents of pan gently till it thickens.
  • Add butter just before removing pan from heat.
  • Cool before use.
For pastry:
  • Sift all the flours and salt into a bowl.
  • Blend in butter with a fork at first, then with finger tips, till mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add sugar and mix thoroughly. Make a well in the centre of dry ingredient, add beaten egg yolk and just enough iced water to make a firm dough. I did all these steps in a food processor.
  • Knead lightly, then chill in refrigerator for 45 mins.
  • Roll out on a lightly floured surface just a little more than half the pastry and line a 23 cm (9 inch) pie plate. Be sure to bring the pastry up the sides of pie plate.
  • Spread base of pastry with the jam.
  • Spread apple filling gently and evenly over jam.
  • Roll out remaining pastry, brush the edges of pie in pastry plate with water or milk, and cover with the rolled out pastry.
  • Flute the edges together or press the edges down with a fork.
  • Brush the top with lightly beaten egg-white, sprinkle top with sugar, bake at pre-heated 190˚C (375-400˚F) oven for 45 mins-1 hr or until crust is golden browned.

Note: the pastry dough can be quite hard to deal with and breaks easily, just patch up the cracks with dough from the edges, it doesn't have to be perfect.
Apple Pie 2

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