In this part of Wessex, today is known as apple pie day so every year in our house, we make an apple pie from our homegrown apples.
Over the years, this tradition has grown and changed a little into something rather wonderful, and a kick in the face to all this adulting malarkey! One year, it dawned on us that when you're an adult, you can do away with the usual meal plan and just eat apple pudding and custard for dinner - a massive, dinner-sized portion of apple pie! And no one can tell you off! So, the tradition was born, and it's become an annual event. Join in if you like ^_^
We used five different types of apples gathered from all our different apple trees to make this, and it feels like a wonderful celebration of the season. In Norse folklore the apple is the tree of immortality, also representing long life, wisdom and love.
Hedgerow Apple Pie Recipe
Servings: This gives 4 rather over-sized dinner portions, or 6 generous pudding portions
Tin Inside measurements 22cm/ 8.75 inches square
Prepared pastry (for the quantity of filling below, we used 1kg prepared weight of shortcrust pastry)
1kg/ 2lbs prepared apples
40 - 60g soft brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
10 whole cloves (optional, or add more if you're a lover of them)
1/4 whole nutmeg, grated
3 tblsp water
For an apple and dried fruit version, you can add 100 - 120g mixed dried fruit, but you may need to reduce the sugar a little.
Method Wash and check over your apples, removing any parts which are bruised or damaged. Quarter, core and peel the apples and weigh them to the prepared weight. Slice them into a saucepan, leaving some a bit chunkier if you prefer. Add the sugar, spices, dried fruit (if using) and water. Simmer them gently with a lid on, stirring every now and then, until the apples are fairly soft but not mushy as they'll cook a little more inside the pie.
While your apple mixture is cooking, you can grease your pie tin (or line it with baking paper) and add the pastry base, leaving enough aside for the lid. Also line the base and sides of the pastry pie case with baking paper and fill the space with baking beans or uncooked rice/dried beans to stop the pastry from puffing up as it cooks. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. You might see this referred to in recipe books as "baking blind".
Remove the baking beans and inside paper. Fill your pastry case with the cooked pie filling and top with the pastry lid. Stick the lid to the edges with egg or water, and press together. Cut some holes in the lid for the steam to escape. Decorate with any offcuts as you wish, and then glaze with beaten egg or milk. Sprinkle with a little sugar for a crisp top.
Bake in the centre of the oven at 200C/ 400F/ gas mark 6 for around 30 - 35 minutes, checking after the first 20 minutes to make sure the top isn't browning too quickly (loosely cover with a piece of foil if needed).
Adaptable apple pie filling recipe
This recipe is an adaptable version of the one above that you can easily increase or decrease to fit the amount of apples that you have to use. You'll need to adjust the amount of pastry too of course, but this is also good for using up pastry leftovers, or with shop-bought ready-rolled puff pastry for quick apple turnovers.
Prepare the apples as above, and for each 500g/ 1lb apples (prepared weight) that you have, add the following:
25-30g sugar (have a taste towards the end of cooking - you may need to adapt this depending on the type of sugar you use, and the tartness of your apples)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
5 whole cloves (optional, or add more if you're a lover of them)
A decent grating of fresh nutmeg (optional)
1 1/2 tblsp water
Continue as above.
Do you have any seasonal foody traditions, or recipes for foraged or homegrown food that you'd like to share? Please add them in the comments box below - we'd love to hear about them :-)