Tuesday 25 February 2014

Reci-pie Review: Spiced Apple and Raisin Pie

My mum is a bit of a legend when it comes to cooking, and her answer to any cookery question is always “Ask Delia”. So when I was looking for a proper, top-and-bottom crust, simple but tasty dessert pie, I turned to Delia Smith. This recipe is from Delia’s Complete Cookery Course, and uses lard for the shortcrust pastry. I’ve never made pastry with lard before, but I will definitely be using it from now on. The mix of lard and butter makes really crispy, flaky pastry and I could definitely tell the difference compared to using butter alone.

While we’re on the subject of lard, I should probably make my #PiePledge for British Pie Week! I’m going to put my new-found love of lard to good use and attempt hot water crust pastry for the very first time – you can read about my attempt at the end of British Pie Week.

For now, back to the spiced apple and raisin pie! 

The recipe:

For the pastry:
110g wholemeal flour
100g self-raising flour
50g butter
50g lard
Pinch of salt
Cold water

For the filling:
700g Bramley apples
75g raisins
25g soft brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1/5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ nutmeg, grated
2 tablespoons water

Core and peel the apples, then slice them thinly. Put them in a saucepan with the raisins, spices, sugar and the 2 tablespoons of water and let them cook with the lid on for 10 minutes on a low heat.

Make up your pastry by rubbing together the fat and flour, then adding the water. Roll out just over half for the base of the pie and use it to cover the bottom and sides of a 9 ½ inch pie dish. Spoon in the filling and roll out the rest of the pastry to make the lid, and make a small hole in the top to let out the steam. Brush the pie with milk and sprinkle it with caster sugar.

Cook the pie for 30 minutes at 200 degrees C.

The Seven Cs:

I was worried that the wholemeal pastry might look a bit dark after baking, but it came out a lovely golden brown with darker patches from the crispy sugar on top. It looked really appetising and it was only the need to make some custard that stopped me from diving straight into this pie with a spoon.

I didn’t add all the liquid after I’d cooked the fruit in the saucepan, just the fruit – which I think was the right decision. The fruit cooked down a bit more in the pie and ended up just soft enough, with a nice apple-y, brown sugar-y sauce surrounding it.

I wasn’t convinced that this would be score highly for capacity, as the recommended size of pie dish looked a bit shallow. I should have known better than to doubt Delia Smith, as this pie somehow ends up really full, with lots of layers of sliced apple.

Not chewy at all – but then chewy apple would be a bit odd. There was just enough crispness left in the apples to stop them being mushy, and the raisins soaked up all the juice and were nice and plump.

This pie is impressively cheap, especially considering how delicious it is. As a regular baker, I had everything in my cupboards apart from cooking apples and lard. Both of which are pretty darn cheap. It also makes a massive pie – you could definitely get eight decent portions out of this.

There can’t be many people who don’t love an apple pie, but it’s not the most innovative flavour. Luckily, Delia has thought about this and added raisins and spices - you still get that classic apple pie feel, but it smells and tastes even better.

This pie really is an all-round winner. It holds its shape beautifully, it’s easy to slice and it stays together when you take the slice from pie dish to bowl. If you have any leftovers (unlikely) they’ll still be great – the pastry doesn’t go soggy even after sitting in the dish for a day. 

The Ship's Cook

This British Pie Week all the Pierateers and even the Ship's Cook are making #PiePledge commitments to brighten up the week! Click here to see them all!

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