Molly’s Apple Pie

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A pie to be damn proud of, Auntie Molly’s apple pie is a comforting taste of home when you’re out of range. I wrote this recipe down directly from Molly’s scrapbook. She’s over ninety years old: apple pie is clearly essential to a long and happy life.

Ingredients

For the Pastry

  • 300g/10oz plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Sea salt
  • 175g/6oz unsalted butter, cut into 1 cm/½ inch cubes and softened
  • 3–4 tablespoons iced water

For the Filling

  • 150g/5oz light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • A pinch of ground ginger
  • A pinch of Sea salt
  • 1kg/2lb 2oz Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For the Top

  • tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, or 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

To make the pastry, sift the flour, sugar and salt into a medium-sized bowl. Add the softened butter and mix together (in a blender, with a fork, or by hand) until fully, but coarsely, combined. Slowly add the iced water, bit by bit, stirring until the dough begins to firm up. Go on instinct here — add a little more water if the dough seems too dry. Cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge for later.

Now make the apple filling. Put the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger and salt into a bowl and mix together. In a separate bowl toss your slices of apple with the lemon juice, then gradually add the sugar and flour mixture and mix well with a metal spoon until the apple is nicely coated with sugar and spices.

Lightly flour a clean, smooth work surface. Take the dough and roll it out into a 40cm/16 inch circle, big enough to blanket a 23cm/9 inch pie dish. Dust the surface with flour, then gently place the dough over the dish and use your fingers to press it carefully into the edges. Allow the excess to hang over the sides.

Fill the pie dish with your spiced apple pieces, and fold the excess dough up and over the filling. Don’t worry if it looks higgledy-piggledy. Brush the top with melted butter or beaten egg and sprinkle with caster sugar.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the apples are a tender, treacle-and-spice delight. Serve with a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream.

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