God gave me horribly hot little hands. I have the hands that when we used to have to hold hands at school for things like country dancing and walking in a ‘croc’ (a crocodile of small children being a long line of hand holding infants for those not in the know) people used to exclaim in horror that I had clammy hands and this has stayed with me to this day.
Being old steamy hands, I am appalling with pastry. Sometimes, it actually brings me to tears. But occasionally, I break with my fear of ending up with a sticky flour lump of horror and I make pastry to make a fruit pie. My ideal pie is savoury and I tend to stick with things with a puff pastry top but every now and again, I get the desire to make the kind of pie that has a blanket of pastry layered over the lumps and bumps of apples and that wonderfully shiny, sugary crust.
One day, I shall own this fine specimen (below) and then I shall make the most wonderful pastry but for now I shall manage with a boring old Magimix.
I used apples and raspberries as we had raspberries in the freezer from last summer and I like them for the colour they lend and the tartness they provide! I also make exceptionally ‘short’ pastry, this is sometimes a bone of contention to pedantic people but the shorter the pastry the crumblier it is and I think pastry needs to be seriously crumbly else there’s no point! The secret, as I have learned, to super short pastry is patience with adding the cold water. I call the stage at which the pastry rolls itself up into a ball, the best bit surely, the snowman moment as I think it looks a bit like a snowman in the mixer bowl. This is the stage that you’re waiting for and so I try not to add too much water but instead wait patiently for this moment but it does take practice.
Eleanor’s Apple and Raspberry Pie
– I use imperial measurements for pastry because I learned it from my mother as a child and she always uses imperial.
- 8 oz of plain flour
- 4 oz of butter
- I use 4 teaspoons of freezingly cold water but you may need more/less.
- 4 cooking apples
- 500g raspberries
- caster sugar for cooking apples
- egg beaten for egg wash
- Add the flour and the butter to the mixer. Whizz until it forms a crumb i.e. looks like breadcrumbs
- Add, with the mixer on and spinning round, a teaspoon of cold water pausing for 20 ish seconds before adding another.
- When the mixture binds to the point that it looks like a small snowman living in the mixer bowl, add no more water! It should take about 4 teaspoons but Delia says up to 8. Doubtless she’d find my pastry too short!
- Take out of the mixer, cover with cling film and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, heat the oven to 180 c and peel and core the cooking apples. You MUST at this point, throw the peel over your shoulder to reveal the name of the man you are going to marry. I kept getting numbers so I made do with creating my own initial.
- Cut the apples into good size chunks and add to a pan with 30ml of water and a good sprinking of sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes or until rather soft.
- Stir in the raspberries and put to one side.
- Take the pastry from the fridge and roll out into two large sheets. Line the pie dish, fill with the apple and raspberry and cover with a pastry top. Cut around the edge of the pie dish and ensure the 2 layers of pastry are firmly pressed together.
- Cover the pie with the egg wash. Pierce a large whole in the middle of the pie to allow the steam to escape and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until crispy and golden.
Eat with ice cream or custard!