BRANDY APPLE PIE
Don’t get me wrong, a good old-fashioned apple pie needs no tinkering, but the addition of brandy to both the crust and the filling gives my autumn edition a grownup edge. If you have any brandy snaps languishing at the back of the cupboard, crush them up and sprinkle over a bowl of pie and hot custard.
Ingredients For the pastry:
400g plain flour
50g icing sugar
250g unsalted butter
85g vegetable shortening 1 egg
80ml brandy, chilled
1tbsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Pinch of ground nutmeg
For the filling:
8 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
100g dark brown sugar 150g caster sugar
50g plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1tsp cinnamon ½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ground cloves 1 egg, beaten, to glaze
Start by making the pastry. Sift together the flour, sugar, salt and nutmeg into a large bowl. Rub in the butter and vegetable shortening using the tips of your fingers, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the brandy, egg, and vanilla extract. Pour into the bowl of dry ingredients, stirring with a knife until the pastry comes together. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and refrigerate for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C (fan)/gas mark 6.
For the filling, sift together the flour, sugars, and spices in a large bowl.
Place the sliced apples in a separate bowl. Whisk together the brandy and vanilla extract before pouring over the apples.
Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the apples and give the bowl a jolly good shake. Stir until everything is well combined.
Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and cut in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the pastry and use it to line a 25cm round pie dish. Tip in the pie filling.
Use the remaining pastry to either roll out another disc to cover the top of the pie, or to create a decorative pie crust using sugarcraft cutters and latticework.
Brush the top of the pie with the beaten egg, cover loosely with foil, and bake in the oven for one hour.
Reduce to 170C/150C (fan)/ gas mark 4 and bake for a further 40 minutes, removing the foil during the last ten minutes so the crust can turn crisp and golden.
Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream or a drizzle of thick custard.