This is one of my favorite desserts and possibly one of my favorite foods. I do think that apple cakes should be a separate food group. I found the recipe in one of Anna Olson’s tutorials; this is a type of pastry I have not made before, a kind of a cross between a rough puff pastry and shortcrust pastry. My small contribution to the recipe was topping it with heart cutouts because… I could. I also adapted the recipe to the Boyfriend’s taste by using only cinnamon as spice and adding a small amount of raisins.
It is really worth watching a professional in action to see how things are supposed to be done, and you will see that Anna is a professional in the first few minutes of the video. I am sure that many people find comfort in watch the incompetent but adorable Nigella fumble with the chopping knife or her useless utensils–”she is one of us.” However, I found that watching the professionals in action helps me improve my own skills (and not only when baking).
This recipe is not complex, but requires quite a bit of time for chilling between steps. Best done on a relaxing weekend afternoon.
Blue ribbon apple pie
- 315 g all purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 225 g cold butter, cut into 1 cm cubes
- 60 ml water
- 2 tsp vinegar
- 500 g peeled and thinly sliced apples (starting with 5 to 6 small apples)
- 150 g brown sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon plus 1/2 tsp extra for sprinkling
- 20 g raisins
- 2 Tbsp rolled oats
- 10 g white sugar
- eggwash (one egg, mixed)
- Food processor
- Baking sheet
- Rolling pin
- Parchment paper
- Sautée pan
- 23 cm pie dish (aka black vlaai tin)
- Oven tray
- Pastry brush
- For the pastry, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and vegetable oil in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a slicing blade. Pulse five times.
- Add the butter and pulse four times.
- Mix the water and vinegar and add to the food processor. Pulse four times. The dough will have small chunks of butter interspersed with the rest of the mixture.
- Turn the dough on a surface (ideally, a marble slate) and bring it together. Split in two equal pieces and chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
- Roll each dough piece between two sheets of parchment paper in a round about 5 mm thick, so that it will coat the pie dish. At this point, I find that the butter melts so much that I cannot work with the dough, so I put it to chill in the fridge for about half an hour.
- Flour lightly the pie dish and use one rolled dough sheet to line the dish. Return to the fridge.
- With the heart-shaped cutter, cut the shapes from the second dough piece. I find the shapes to be much more neat if I put the dough to chill for half an hour after I had made the cuts in the pastry but not yet removed the heart shapes. There will be enough dough left after extracting the first batch of hearts to re-roll and make a second batch.
- Heat the oven to 205˚C with an oven tray inside. Putting the pie on a warmed tray will prevent the dreaded soggy bottom.
- While the dough piece with the heart shapes chills, prepare the filling. Put half of the apples and half of the sugar in a sautée pan over medium heat. Sauté until the water starts running from the apples, and then carefully transfer the apples without the liquid in a bowl. Add the remaining apples, sugar, cinnamon, and raisins and mix.
- Sprinkle the oats over the dough in the pie dish and top with the apple filling. Dot with some butter. Arrange hearts on the pie, brush with the eggwash, and sprinkle with the mixture of white sugar and cinnamon.
- Place the pie on the oven tray and bake for 10 min. Reduce the oven temperature to 190˚C and bake for a further 40 to 50 min, or until the pie is golden brown and baked.