Ssh, listen, I am going to let you in on a childhood secret of mine and you mustn’t tell anybody else, it is between us…I used to sneak downstairs and watch “Tales of The Unexpected”.
Then it began. The opening sequence truly set the mood, with the silhouette of the lady dancing amongst the flames and the spinning tarot card wheel. I would watch it. My heart would thump. Fear of what was to happen, fear of what Mum would say if she caught me and fear of the dark! But in a quite unexpected way, I would enjoy this fear. As the credits rolled and with my heart pounding in my stomach, I would reluctantly turn the TV off and make my way to my bed. Every creek and movement would be amplified in my head, and, with heavy breathing, I would return to the warmth and comfort of my bed and stay there, frozen with fear and unable to move.
With an abundance of apple trees in our garden, Mum frequently made apple pie and this is the best recipe I have found for it. Indulge…
PASTRY: 255g (9oz) plain flour * 115g (4oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature and diced * 1 egg * 15ml (½oz) sugar * 7g (¼oz) salt * 3 tbsp water * Eggwash: 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp milk
FILLING: 6 dessert apples e.g. Coxes, peeled, cored and cut into large bite-size cubes * juice of ½ lemon * a pinch of flour * 115g (4oz) butter * 115g (4oz) sugar
Brush the apple halves with the lemon juice. Make the pastry in a food processor. Put the sugar, salt and butter into the processor and mix. Add in the egg and mix again. Gradually add in the flour whilst it is mixing. Then add the water until the mixture turns into a dough. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for several hours. Cut out two-thirds of the pastry and roll out on a cold surface. Line a 18cm/7in flan dish with the pastry, leaving an overhang. Prick the bottom with a fork, then put in the apples. Place a large knob of butter in between the apple halves. Then sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar. Roll out the remaining pastry into another circle about the same diameter as the top of the dish.
Brush the pastry overhanging the dish with eggwash and cover the apples with the circle of pastry. Press the edges of the pastry circles together to seal them and cut off the excess. Brush the top of the pie with eggwash. With a pointed knife, cut a hole or ‘chimney’ in the centre. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Cook the pie in the oven for 30 minutes. After 20 minutes, sprinkle the top of the pie with the rest of the sugar. Serve with ice-cream or cream.
I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book, FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.
This recipe comes from the section TRADITIONAL PUDDINGS, a selection of the best of British cakes and desserts.