The welcome arrival of September (and my very favourite season) also means the arrival of apple season. We have a tree full of apples to use in the garden and one of my family’s favourite things is apple pie.
These are little hand pies and they are just the thing to have on hand for hungry children. They are portable too, so great to take with you on a trip to the park or to work.
Apples are available all year round, but it’s really worth looking out for the new seasonal arrivals that have been grown locally, to enjoy apple season to the full.
375g plain/all-purpose flour
165g butter, cut into cubes and refrigerated
1 egg and a little milk to make a wash
2 crisp dessert apples, peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces
Juice from half a lemon
Pinch of ground cloves
10 soft caramels (like Werther’s) cut into tiny pieces (optional)
Place the flour, butter, sugar and salt into a food processor, fitted with the steel blade and pulse until crumbly, with pieces of butter still visible.
Then add one tablespoon of the iced water at a time, pulsing until the dough just comes together – around 4-5 should be enough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, cut in half and pat each half into a disc. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
For the filling, place the apples into a large bowl and toss them with the juice from the lemon so they don’t turn brown. Then add the sugar, salt, spices and cornflour and turn to coat.
Leaving one batch of dough in the fridge, roll out the first batch evenly on a lightly floured board and cut out circles for the bases (using a cutter measuring approximately 7.5cm/3 inches). Place them onto a lined baking sheet, re-rolling until most of the dough is used up. Refrigerate any scraps.
Then place a small, heaping amount of the apple mixture into the centre of each one and top with a few caramel pieces if using. Take care to leave a gap around the edge.
Roll out the rest of the dough and cut out the same number of circles, but use a slightly larger cutter. Use up the scraps of the first batch if needed.
Brush the pastry bases around the apples with the egg wash and place the remaining pastry circles over the filling. Crimp and seal the edges together using a fork, dipped in flour to stop it sticking.
When they all have their lids, it is important to chill the pies before baking. Leave them in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour. This helps stop the pastry shrinking and bursting open in the oven. They can also be frozen at this point too.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F
When you are ready to bake, brush the tops with the egg wash and cut little vents in the lids to allow steam to escape. You can also sprinkle with a little extra sugar too.
Bake for around 20 minutes or until the pies are golden and cooked through.
These are the perfect after school treat, but a personal pie is good at any time and these can be taken on a picnic, or placed into a lunchbox too.