When I smell this combination of golden, flaky pastry and lightly spiced apples baking in my oven, I could be twelve years old again and standing in my parents house, fighting with my brothers and sisters for the last piece of pie.
Mum's Apple Pie
Serves 8 - 10
For the Pastry:
500g pastry flour
125g lard, chilled and diced
150g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4-5 tablespoons iced water
For the Filling:
6 large apples (I use 3 Granny Smiths and 3 Royal Galas), cored, peeled and sliced into 2mm-3mm slices
110g vanilla sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
Zest of 1 lemon
3 whole cloves
1 whole star anise
1 beaten egg, for brushing over the crust and sealing the edges together
Make the Pastry:
Put the flour, lard and butter into the bowl of a food processor and blend until the mixture resembles course breadcrumbs. Add the lemon and juice and, while pulsing, add enough cold water to bring the dough together. Divide the dough into two portions, two-thirds for the pie shell and one-third for the crust. Wrap the dough portions in cling wrap and chill them in the fridge for an hour.
Make the Filling:
Put the sliced apples, vanilla sugar, lemon zest, cloves and star anise into a saucepan. Cook on medium-low heat and cook for about 5 minutes, until the apples have softened, but not lost their shape. Set aside to cool.
Make the Pie:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the larger portion of pastry to a 5mm thick round. Line the base and sides of a 25cm x 5cm pie dish with it. Sprinkle the pastry with 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar. Remove the cloves and star anise from the cooked apples and pour off any juice that has collected. Spoon the apple into the pie shell. Roll the remaining one-third of pastry onto a 5mm thick round. Brush the edges of the pie shell with the beaten egg, and lay the pastry top over the pie filling, pressing the edges together to seal. Trim the pastry and crimp the edges. Cut a small cross in the centre of the pie to let the steam escape. Brush the top with beaten egg and bake for 35 minutes. Take the pie out of the oven, sprinkle the top with vanilla sugar and return to the oven to bake for a further 15 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.
Serve with whipped cream, custard or ice cream. I served it with Brown Butter Ice Cream.