From acclaimed caterer and cook, Simmone Logue:
Many years ago I read an article about the old-fashioned Bramley apple, which has a distinctive sour taste, perfect for apple pies. I managed to find a grower and buy some dormant trees online, and we planted them at Essington Park, our home in the country. If the livestock don’t get into the house garden and beat us to it, we make our pies with these apples when the trees fruit each year.
This recipes makes 1 x 23cm (9 inch) pie to serve 8. Prep time: 1 hour + at least 1 hour for the pastry to rest (best to make the pastry the day before). Cooking time: 1 hour.
To make pastry
- 375g (13 oz/2½ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
- 1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar
- 280g (10 oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 125g (4½ oz/½ cup) sour cream
To make filling
- 8 tart apples, such as Bramley or Granny Smith
- 50g (1¾ oz) unsalted butter
- 110g (3¾ oz/½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 100g (3½ oz) sultanas (golden raisins)
- 3 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 free-range egg
- 2 tablespoons thick (double/heavy) cream
- 2 tablespoons raw (demerara) sugar
Combine, work and rest the pastry
In a large bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Work in the butter, using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre, add the sour cream and mix to combine. Divide the pastry into two equal portions. Work each pastry portion into a flat round disc, then wrap in plastic wrap. Leave to rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
Peel and prep the apples
To make the filling, peel and core the apples, then slice roughly and place in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the sugar and let it dissolve, then add the apple and remaining filling ingredients and cook, stirring now and then, for 10 minutes, or until the apple has softened. Leave to cool.
Start to assemble pie
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease a 23cm (9 inch) pie dish on a lightly floured workbench, roll out one piece of pastry to a 30cm (12 inch) circle, about 8mm (3⁄8 inch) thick. Ease the pastry into the pie dish, gently pressing it in and letting the pastry hang over the edge. Place the apple mixture in the dish, piling it up in the centre.
Top the pie with pastry and press edges
Lightly dust the workbench with more flour, then roll out the second piece of dough and gently place it over the top of the pie. Using your fingertips or the tines of a fork, press the pastry edges together, then trim around the edge of the pie dish with a sharp knife.
Glaze and bake
Whisk the egg and cream together, then use a pastry brush to brush the mixture over the top of the pie. Use a fork to pierce a few holes in the top of the pie to let the steam out. Sprinkle with the raw sugar. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the pastry is nice and golden and the apple is lovely and soft. Best served warm from the oven.
Technique and images from “In the Kitchen” by Simmone Logue ($39.99, Murdoch Books).
Related gallery: See the beautiful country home Simmone bought with her twin sister (where she grows her Bramley apples)