Autumn Pie with Almond Crust

The point of this recipe is the pastry which is made with ground almonds. It is rich and lemon flavoured and really melts in your mouth. You need not put the spice on the filling if you do not want to, but it makes the apples taste less usual.

Ingredients

  • about 4 large cooking apples
  • ½ lb blackberries (225 g) (optional)
  • 2–3 oz sultanas (50–75 g)
  • 2 teaspoons powdered cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons powdered cinnamon
  • or 4 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 2 oz soft brown sugar (50 g)

For the Pastry

  • 4 oz ground almonds (110 g)
  • 4 oz plain flour (110 g)
  • 2 oz lard (50 g)
  • 4 oz butter (110 g)
  • pinch salt
  • grated peel of 1 lemon
  • juice of ½–1 lemon

Method

Peel the apples and cut into very small pieces, lay them on a large metal or earthenware plate or a shallow flan dish with the sultanas and blackberries. Sprinkle all over with brown sugar and the spices.

Stir the ground almonds and flour, salt and lemon peel together in a mixing bowl. Cut the lard and butter into this mixture and then rub it in with your fingers. Add the lemon juice until the mixture begins to stick together. Gather up in a ball and knead with floured hands on a floured board (pressing it out with the palm of your hand and gathering it up into a ball again) until it is soft, light and pliable. If possible, leave in the fridge for at least an hour before use. Before rolling it out re-knead once or twice, then roll out in a rough circle just a bit bigger than the plate the fruit is on. To cover the apples with it you roll the pastry carefully back over the rolling pin and then out again on to the apples – in this way the pastry will not break up before it reaches the apples. Press the pastry to the side of the dish then trim the edges. Sprinkle with caster sugar and bake in the centre of a pre-heated oven Gas 5 (375°F/190°C) for three quarters of an hour. Serve warm or cold with cream. The pastry is very crumbly indeed so it is easiest to serve it out with a slice or a very wide flat knife.

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