The lovely chaps at Waitrose are celebrating all things apple at the moment and sent me a surprise box of yummy Brilliantly British Estivale apples. Estivale are an eating apple, but still worked really well in this pie. If you use Bramleys they’ll obviously break down a bit more, but you’ll still get a great result:
For the caramel apple filling:
6 or 7 large British apples (about 1kg)
100g brown sugar
Peel, core and slice the apples (pop them in salted water until you’re ready to use them which will stop them going brown).
Melt the sugar, water and butter together in a large saucepan, then just add the apples and cook until just soft – about ten minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Meanwhile, make the pastry.
For the rough puff pastry:
You may think that life is too short to make puff pastry, but rough puff pastry, as its name suggests, isn’t one of those complicated things requiring rulers and setsquares, and mine is even more easy and rough and ready than most. Plus it’s so delicious and buttery and luxurious and actually pretty good fun to make too. I promise you’ll love it.
What you’ll need:
350g plain flour
250g cold butter
150ml iced water
As always with making pastry, the trick is to keep everything cold, hence the need to pop a couple of ice cubes into your jug of water.
Measure the flour out into a large bowl and add the salt. Now, chop the butter into small squares – the smaller the better, and pop those into the flour.
Now, get your hands in there (wash them in cold water – every little helps) and just with your cool fingertips, lightly rub the butter lumps into the flour so that they’re pretty much separate. You don’t need to make crumble, just make sure every little lump is covered in flour (as you can also see, I’m pretty slap dash at this bit, but it doesn’t matter):
Now, add in the cold water and stir around a bit, then unleash The Claw: get your hand in and start gently bringing it all together until you can tip it out onto a floured work surface:
Squish it roughly into a rectangle, pressing the edges in, then roll it out into a larger rectangle. Now, fold the top third of the pastry down, and the bottom third up over the top of it:
Now give it one turn, just 90 degrees, and do it again… roll it out into a rectangle, then flap the top third down and the bottom third up – see how you’re making flaky buttery layers?
Do that two or three times (that’s usually all I can be bothered to do), then pop it into the fridge to chill for 20 minutes or so, letting it relax is quite important.
Split the dough into two: one third for the lid and two thirds for the base. Roll out the base pastry and line a baking dish. Pop this back into the fridge just while the apple mixture is cooling. If you put hot apple into it, it will start to melt the butter and make it go soft.
Once the apple is cool, spoon into the prepared pastry dish, roll out the lid, pop it on top and crimp around the edges. Brush the top with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes at gas 6/200 degrees until golden.
If you’re cooking individual mince or fruit pies, it should take about 15 mins at gas 6/200 degrees.
I was pretty pleased with the result. The pastry was nice and light and crumbly. Okay, not perfect, layered puff pastry, not brilliant crimping, possibly a bit soggy on the bottom… but hey, if you want perfect, you can buy one in a supermarket, and where’s the fun in that? Where’s the ‘TA DA!’ moment when you plonk this on the table in front of your family?! This is home baking. Bake the ones you love a pie. An imperfect, rough puff pie. They’ll love you for it.
Waitrose are running a competition on the Waitrose Facebook page to find your best apple recipes. The winner will have their apple creation featured on Waitrose.com and have the recipe mentioned in their weekly in-store Waitrose Weekend magazine. They’ll also win £500 Waitrose vouchers. Click here to find out more!