This apple pie has a soft, crumbly, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth shortcrust pastry which tastes heavenly with every bite into the sweet and tangy, spice-infused apple filling. When eaten warm as it is, or with dollops of whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream, it makes for a wonderful tea time treat or after-meal dessert.
I have to say that this pastry might not be for everyone as it will be too soft to do a proper latticed top. Some may like their pastry much firmer and less crumbly. But if you love to sink your teeth into soft yet crisp and buttery pastry like those of Asian pineapple tarts, then you will absolutely love this!
To work successfully with this pastry, all you really need to do is start with cold butter when making the dough, and work quickly to roll it out to size. Also, whenever the pastry starts to get too soft, just chill it in the refrigerator for a few minutes and then work it again. It takes a little more effort the first time round, but once you’ve done it right, it will be a breeze to make and shape your pastry when you bake the next time around!
This recipe makes an 8-inch round pie (source with modification: Mrs Jambu, People’s Association Trainer and Instructor)
For the Pastry
335 gm Plain Flour
40 gm Confectioner’s Sugar
200 gm cold Unsalted Butter, cubed
2 Egg Yolks
1/8 tsp Salt
1. Combine flour, sugar, butter and salt in a mixer bowl. Beat on low speed using the paddle attachment (or rub butter into the flour mixture using your fingers) until mixture turns fine and crumbly.
2. Add egg yolks and mix well with a dough cutter, until the dough just comes together. Turn out onto a slightly floured surface and gather the dough into a ball. Divide into two portions, one slightly larger than the other.
3. Roll out the larger portion between two large sheets of baking paper to fit the pie dish, then trim the edges neatly by running a knife all around the rim of the pie dish to cut off the excess pastry. Roll out the remaining pastry between the same sheets of baking paper to fit the top of the pie dish.
4. Cover both the pie dish that is now lined with pastry, and the top pastry layer, and let chill in the refrigerator while preparing the filling.
For the Filling
6 to 7 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, seeded and sliced into 5-mm thick slices
135 gm Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
6 Cloves, heads removed
1/4 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tbsp Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed
15 gm unsalted Butter
1/4 cup Water
3 tbsp Corn Flour
1. Combine apple slices, sugar, ground spices, cloves, salt and lemon juice in a pot. Stir to evenly coat the apple slices. Add half of the water and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until the apple slices just start to soften. Be careful as to not overcook, otherwise, the slices will turn brown and mushy. Remove from heat. Remove the cloves.
2. Combine corn flour with the remaining water and pour, little by little, into the apple mixture to cook for a minute to thicken. The consistency should resemble that of a thick glaze. Add butter and let it cool.
3. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C.
Putting the Pie Together
1. Pile the cooled apple filling into the pastry-lined pie dish. Spread it evenly all around, mounding it slightly, towards the centre of the pie dish. Brush the pie rim with milk or water.
2. Place the top pastry layer and seal by lightly pressing down on the rim with the toothed edge of a fork. Tidy up the edge by cutting off the excess pastry round the pie rim with a knife. Using the fork, pierce a couple of holes in the top pastry layer to allow steam to escape during the baking. Brush the top pastry layer with milk.
3. Bake for 10 minutes at 180 deg C. Reduce oven temperature to 160 deg C and bake for another 30 minutes or until pastry turns golden brown. Remove from oven, let it sit in the pan until completely cooled. Serve warm.
Tip: To get clean cut slices, let pie chill completely in the refrigerator, at least an hour. Then cut into desired slices. If you cut it when it’s just out of the oven or still warm, the apple filling and sauces will ooze out, making it difficult and messy to take individual slices out from the pie dish.
When ready to serve, warm up the chilled pie or individual slices in the oven at 100 deg C for about 15 minutes or so. Best served with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.