My Todd is a real apple pie man. He claims his mother used to make the best apple pies in the world. No doubt it's true. Apparently they are thick enough that when cold you can cut a slab, inside there is almost like a thick applesauce, holding nice chunks of apple, highly flavoured with cloves. It doesn't spread out on the plate, but stands straight and tall like a soldier. I don't make apple pie like his mom . . . and I don't even try.
My mom has always made fantastic apple pies, in my opinion. With a flakey, buttery crust and just stogged full of meltingly tender slices of sweet apple, and cinnamon and nutmeg . . . when you cut a warm slice it does spread a bit on the plate, but is oh so perfectly tastily juicy when mingled with some melting vanilla ice cream . . . and don't forget the slice of cold cheddar!
I make my pies like she does, and I like her apple pie better than the apple pies over here.
It is very obvious that British apple pie and Canadian apple pie are two different things . . . and we are clearly at an impasse . . .
What to do . . . what to do . . . what to do . . .
We compromise somewhere in the middle.
I think this does it quite nicely. At least I never hear him complaining as he snuffles it down and asks for more . . .
*Spiced Apple Crumble Tart*
A wonderful tart with a crisp and rich dessert pastry base, delectably sweet filling of apples and dried cranberries, topped off with a tasty crumble topping. Served warm with cream or vanilla ice cream, this is a delicious family favourite.
For the pastry:
(Makes 1/2 pound)
8 ounces plain flour
4 ounces cold butter
2 ounces sifted icing sugar
2 egg yolks
2 TBS water
For the spiced apple filling:
8 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
the finely grated zest and juice of one large lemon
1/4 cup soft light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 TBS each plain flour and caster sugar, mixed together
For the crumble topping:
70g of plain flour
60g of soft light brown sugar
6 TBS butter, softened
the finely grated zest of one lemon
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp of ground cardamom
pouring cream or vanilla ice cream
(Clotted cream and creme fraiche are also quite delectable accompaniments!)
First make the pastry. Sift the pastry into a basin. Add the butter, cut into pieces and rub it into the flour until it resembled fine dry bread crumbs. Add the icing sugar. Whisk in well. Make a indentation in the centre of the butter mixture. Beat the egg yolks and water together. Pour into the indentation and then, using a fork, mix together to a rough dough in the basin. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for a few minutes until smooth. Shape into a ball and then place into a zip lock bag. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes, while you make the filling.
Pre-heat the oven to 200*C/400*F. Make sure the apple is chopped into small chunks. Put the apple into a bowl. along with the cranberries, grated lemon zest, lemon juise, sugar and spices. Set aside.
To make the crumble topping, rub the flour, sugar, butter, lemon zest and spices together until the mixture resembles fine dry bread crumbs. Set aside.
Take the pastry out of the refrigerator. Roll it out onto a floured surface to a round about 14 inches in diameter. LIne a 10 inch diameter tart tin with a removeable base with it, being careful not to stretch it. Don't trim off any of the overhang. Prick with a fork and line with a piece of baking parchment and fill with baking weights. Place onto a baking sheet and place into the heated oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, remove the baking parchment and the weights and return to the oven for a further 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and run a rolling pin over the edge all around and remove the overhang and discard. **(see note)
Sprinkle the base with the flour/sugar mixture and then tip in the filling to evenly cover the bottom and mound slightly in the centre. Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over top.
Return to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 160*C/350*F and bake for another 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to warm before cutting into slices to serve. Serve warm with pouring cream or vanilla ice cream.
**Note - If you feel guilty about throwing it away, just spread it with some strawberry or raspberry jam and eat it. Tis quite nummy that way! Shhh . . . don't tell anyone!