Old-fashioned
English Apple Pie

The English love apples; and with their equally great love of luscious puddings they created a recipe that's a true classic: traditional English apple pie.

The phrase "...as English as apple pie" tells you how popular this pudding used to be.

So much so that it became rather a cliche. For a while, you would have found it, fairly carelessly made, frozen and re-heated, on the menus of most restaurants and pubs.

But people soon grew bored with an offering of soggy pastry and tasteless filling. They craved the real thing, not the mass-produced imitation.

And the real, old-fashioned apple pie returned. Tart, lemony apples encased in crumbly pastry, hot and steaming and served with custard or cream. Carefully made and served hot from the oven, this is a pudding that's hard to beat in the taste stakes. A true English classic!

Ingredients

This recipe fills a 2lb / 900ml pie dish. You can feed 4-6 people with this ... unless they're very hungry!

Traditional English Apple Pie © Crystal Woroniuk

Pastry Base

  • 14oz / 350g plain flour
  • 6oz / 150g butter
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • a little cold water

Filling

  • 28oz / 700g Bramley apples
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3oz / 75g sultanas
  • 3oz / 75g soft brown sugar
  • pinch each of ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg
  • grated rind of 1 lemon and 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon flour

Preparation

Peel and core your apples and slice them thickly. Dribble with a little lemon juice to stop them from turning brown.

Pre-heat your oven to 200°C / 400°F / gas mark 6.

To make the pastry base sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the butter and rub in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Mix in the sugar.

Splash mixture with cold water and bring together to form a smooth dough. Roll out two-thirds of dough and line your pie dish.

Traditional English Apple Pie in a pie plate

Place half the apples into the lined pie dish.

Mix sultanas with spices and pour over the apples.

Add the remaining half of apples.

Roll out the last third of pastry. Dampen the edges of the pastry in the pie plate and cover pie with the last piece of pastry. Press edges together to seal, then trim and flute the edge.

Decorate the top of the pie with pastry trimmings.

Cut slashes in the top of the pie or make a hole and insert a pie funnel. (This is important! It lets the steam escape during cooking and ensures that your pastry is lovely and crumbly.)

Place pie in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

Then lower oven temperature to 190°C / 375°F / gas mark 5 and bake for a further 20-25 minutes. Your pie is ready when the pastry is golden brown.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with coarse sugar before serving.