This apple pie recipe is from an issue of Delicious and is supposedly Ben O'Donoghue's Grandma's recipe. Now, far be it for me to question a recipe that belongs to someone's gran (respect for your elders and all that), but it did raise a couple of queries. Normally when I make pastry, I add some water to bring the dough together. With this recipe, the pastry was supposed to come together with just the egg yolks (i.e. no water). I was dubious, but was willing to try it. Well, after trying it out, there was no way my dough was going to come together, so I had to add a little bit of iced water. Once I had passed that hurdle, I then found that I had a ton of dough! I had enough dough for two pies. I used half and stashed half in my freezer.
These little pies are from my second batch. They didn't turn out very attractive - the pastry shrunk A LOT in the oven - but at least they tasted good! The pastry was crumbly and buttery, and somehow slightly flakey at the bottom of my pies. Maybe gran does know best after all.
Ben's Gran's apple pie with custard
From Delicious magazine August 2008
1 kg Granny Smith apples
1 cup (220g) caster sugar, plus extra to sprinkle
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 star anise
3 cups (450g) plain flour
1/3 cup (40g) custard powder
1 cup (150g) caster sugar
350g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
3 egg yolks, plus 1 lightly beaten egg to brush
300ml each milk and pure (thin) cream
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
For pastry, place flour, custard powder, sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor. Add butter and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add yolks and process until pastry comes together into a smooth ball. (Add a couple of tablespoons of iced water if the pastry doesn't come together.) Divide into 2, then knead each into flat discs. Enclose in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, peel and core apples. Place in a pan over medium heat with sugar, juice and spices. Cook fo 10 minutes or until fruit is tender but still holds its shape. Cool, then discard spices.
For custard, place milk, cream, vanilla pod and seeds in a pan over medium heat. Bring to just below boiling point then set aside for 15 minutes to infuse. Meanwhile, whisk yolks and sugar in a bowl until thick and pale, then gradually whisk in warm cream mixture to combine (discard the vanilla pod). REturn mixture to pan over low heat. Stir with a wooden spoon for approx 6 minutes or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain through a sieve. Cool, then cover surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Chill until needed.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Divide one of the pastry discs in half, and roll each half to 3mm thick, 28mm circles (the other pastry disc can be frozen for later use). Place 1 circle on a lined baking tray. Pile the apple mixture into the centre, leaving a 3cm border, then brush border with egg. Top with remaining pastry, press down border, then trim edges into a neat circle. Pinch edges with your fingers to seal. Brush top with beaten egg, then bake for 30 minutes. Remove, sprinkle with caster sugar, then bake for a further 10 minutes until golden. Serve with the custard.