Friday, 23 May 2014

Let's get pie. (Almost) professional apple pie.

As an enthusiastic amateur baker (definitely more about quantity than quality) i was intrigued to hear on the expat grapevine that another originally-British-teacher locally had been doing some work at one of the bakers in town and was starting to sell her 'English' cakes and pies at events locally. My ears pricked up and I tracked her down at a Sunday morning netball game (as you do..!) and talked/exuberantly waved my arms at her about how much I liked cake for ten minutes before she could escape.

I clearly didn't terrify her too much though - because she asked me help with the baking for this weekends sale at 'Shakespeare in the park'. I agreed enthusiastically without considering quite how long it would take me to make pastry for forty apple pies without a mixer (note to self: this takes a very very long time indeed - wait until someone kind has bought it off the wedding list before you try this again..)

Apple pie sounded manageable. But making it so as not to poison my guests and making it to sell to a crowd who have no vested interest in my happiness are two very different things. I spent a lot of time on Google trying to differentiate between American style and British apple pie (not because I have any lack of affection for my adopted home-country - but because 'British' seems to be a very very effective sales tactic here!). As far as I could tell the fact that I didn't have 'apple pie spice' in my cupboard meant I was on the right footing straight away!

I tried at least three different pastry recipes before I was happy with it and mixed my apple ingredients in veeeerrrryy slowly to avoid over-cinnamon-ing or excessively sweetening. I surprised myself with quite how delicious the results were. Crispy, lemony just-the-right-side-of-savoury pastry with sweet lightly cinnamon filling. Although I probably never want to eat another apple pie ever again (and I strongly suspect I have repetitive strain injury from apple peeling. This is America though, so I can definitely sue..!)

The only way to keep a pastry cool enough in Texas heat. good..!

Delighted that the lovely Sarah (a much more experienced baker than I was impressed with them - her venture, 'Let's Get Pie, is very new so fingers crossed they sell well and I get invited back...

Very much how I currently feel about eating pie 

Smug baker..

In case you're wondering... the winning combo was Martha Stewart's pate brisee with two extra teaspoons of sugar and a table spoon of lemon rind and my own version of standard apple pie filling. This makes one nine inch full top pie or four five inch ones with lattice tops.

2.5 cups all purpose flour
0.5 cups butter (v. cold - I freeze mine for ten mins before chopping in to flour)
1 teaspoon salt flakes
3 teaspoon brown sugar
rind of one lemon
0.25-0.5 cup iced water

4 Granny smiths
0.5 teaspoon cinnamon
0.25 teaspoon nutmeg
Juice of lemon (the bald one you took the rind off for the pastry)
0.5 cup golden caster sugar

Mix all dry ingredients well, chop up the butter in to tiny squares and mix in thoroughly with a knife and then a pastry slicer until its like tiny breadcrumbs. Then add just enough cold water to get it to hold together, whizz it in to a ball, wrap it in clingfilm and pop it in the fridge to rest for at least an hour (I tried to be clever the first time I made it and skipped this, don't, it stops the pastry from shrinking in the oven as it cooks)

peel and core the apple - slice it (about 5mm slices) and mix it with the lemon juice, sugar and spice

The rest is pretty straight forward - roll it out (for 5 inch pie dishes like min you need 6 inch circles - for a 9 inch pie dish do an 11 inch circle)  then give the pie dish/tin a quick squirt with cooking spray, line it with your pastry and fill it up with your apple/ sugar/cinnamon mix. 

Roll the left over pastry out and slice skinny strips out to lay over the top in a lattice/criss-cross, pinch the edges together and slosh a bit of milk over the pastry with a pastry brush to give it a nice shine. I like to cook mine at 400 degrees for 40 minutes - after twenty minutes when its nice and golden I pop a bit of foil (loosely) over the top so the pie keeps cooking without over-browning the top.

Let it cool for 10 mins to avoid burning yourself/guests/

Gobble - I like mine with plain yogurt, ice cream is also excellent (Ice cream is usually excellent).



  1. this looks absolutely delicious! It makes me want to find a pie to make :) Kristen @ Ladybug Blessings

  2. Thanks Kristen! I'm off pie for a while now... but i'll definitely be back for this one - love savory pastry with sweet fillings!


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