This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
It is time for Novelicious founder, Kirsty Greenwood, and her debut novel, Yours Truly, to get the Feasting treatment. And what a perfect dish for a soggy, wet wintery day. Apple pie. Yum. The warming dash of whisky in the apple sauce is optional, but a real treat.
Natalie Butterworth has a problem. She struggles to tell people what she really thinks, putting up instead with bad, bowling-ball haircuts and allowing people to run her life and organise her upcoming wedding for her. Then, one evening whilst out with her best friend, Meg, she is accidentally hypnotised by a man called The Amazing Brian. Consequently, she finds she can't lie anymore. She has to tell the truth – her real thoughts. And the truth is, well, rather funny. Except to her boyfriend, poor lad. But really, he shouldn't have asked.
To get Natalie put right – it's pretty embaarassing telling the truth all the time – Natalie, Meg, and Natalie's sister, Dionne, find themselves in Little Trooley, a small village in Yorkshire. They are on the hunt for The Amazing Brian in the hope he can de-hypnotise Natalie, and she can go back to not telling the truth. Except he isn't there. His house is empty. So while they are waiting for him to return, they get to know the locals at the village pub. One of which is Morag Braithwaite, who has a wonderful old family recipe for apple pie.
Of course, with all of the truth-telling going on, when Natalie tells Morag Braithwaite that her apple pie is totally scrumptious, we know it really has to be.
I have to admit to being a little daunted by pie, despite the fact I grew up eating it almost every Sunday. In recent times, with an emphasis on the dreaded soggy bottom, it is easier to pick a pie up from the supermarket rather than risk that humiliation. But this has put me off, wrongly, for far too long and I decided that this was the week I'd get to grips with the good, old British favourite – soggy bottom or not. It'll still be homemade after all and it will taste so much nicer than a supermarket version, even if the juice of the apples has seeped into the pastry.I've got a very simple recipe. The pastry is shortcrust, not sticky or frustrating to roll out (remember to flour your rolling pin and work surface well) and thanks to the addition of an egg, it has a lovely yellowy finish.
Morag's secret to a good apple pie is a dash of whisky in the apple sauce. This is entirely optional, of course. You could also use cinnamon or vanilla in its place.
Mixing bowl, pie dish (greased with butter) approx 25cm, rolling pin, pastry brush.
For the pastry
200g plain flour
100g cold butter, diced
1 egg, beaten
Water (if the egg not enough to bind)
For the filling
3 – 4 cooking apples, peeled and sliced – not too thin
100 – 140g caster sugar (according to taste)
1 tsp cinnamon or vanilla or dash whisky
2 tbsp flour
Egg or milk to use as a wash
Sugar to scatter over the top
- First, make the pastry. In a bowl sift the flour with the salt then add in the diced butter.
- Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour so you have a breadcrumb type mix.
- Take the beaten egg and add a little at a time until it comes together as a dough. You may need all the egg plus a few drops of water.
- Wrap in cling film or place into a food bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or half that time in the freezer.
- Whilst the pastry is chilling, peel and slice the apples. Pop them into a bowl of water with a pinch of salt or dash of lemon juice in to stop them going brown.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 regular or 160 fan.
- Once the pastry has chilled divide it in half and roll one of the halves out – using flour on the work surface and rolling pin to stop it sticking.
- Cover the pie plate and trim off any excess – adding it to the other half to roll out again.
- Tip away the water from the apples and pat dry with kitchen roll. In a bowl measure out the sugar, flour and flavour of your choice and tip the apples in. Give it a quick mix then pour over the pastry on the pie plate.
- Roll out the second piece of pastry, until it it big enough to cover the pie plate and apples.
- Using the beaten egg or milk, use a pastry brush (or your finger!) to paint around the edge of the bottom pastry.
- Place the second piece of pastry over the top and use your fingers to crimp the edges together.
- Trim any excess off the edges with a sharp knife. You can always use this excess for decoration.
- Pierce a hole in the centre of the pie to allow the steam to escape.
- Use the rest of the egg or milk and paint the top of the pie. Scatter some sugar to finish.
- Place in the oven for around 40 – 45 minutes. Check when half way in case the pastry is cooking too quick. If it has you can cover lightly with foil.
- Serve with custard, vanilla ice-cream or cream. Or all three.