Saturday, 1 March 2014

Echt Apple Pie

This, I apologise, is not remotely vegan, but easily veganised.

I spotted Bramley apples at one of the Vic Market’s organic stalls last week, and promised my mother that the next time I visited I would make a proper apple pie. Happily, when I went to get said apples, I saw that new season Cox’s were also available. Hurrah for freedom from the tyranny of Royal Galas (my particular bete noir) and other mainstream apple varieties.

According to St Delia, and others, the best apple pies involve two sorts of apples: Bramleys, which are unpleasant raw but turn into velvety fluff when cooked; and Cox’s. (Incidentally, the Wiki page needs correcting - it’s not the case that Cox’s are unsuitable for cooking.)

Pleasingly, Delia’s recipe (in her Winter Collection) uses parsimonious quantities of fat and sugar, and a colossal quantity of apples. Intriguingly, she also uses Cheddar cheese in the crust.

I made a number of variations to her recipe.

For the pastry, I used all butter, rather than half butter and half lard. I omitted the cheese, because the only cheeses in the house were completely unsuitable. I also substituted about 80g of the plain flour with lupin flour, because it was there and because I could. (This ups the protein content slightly.)

For the filling, Delia recommends scattering semolina over the pastry base before alternating layers of sliced apples with sugar and studding with the odd clove.

I mixed together apple cake spice (Gewurtzhaus), sugar, vanilla sugar, cardamom pistachio sugar (Gewurtzhaus again!), ground linseed/flaxseed.

It was appallingly steamy in Melbourne, so I had to work quickly with the pastry. Fortunately it rolled out beautifully. Just under half was used to line a glass pie dish (though metal would be better), and a scattering of the ground flaxseed mixture went on top, followed by layers of apple and the flax/spice/sugar mix. The remaining pastry was rolled out, draped over the top, sealed and covered with egg wash.

In view of the weather, the pie was refrigerated while the oven heated up.

I had to ignore the cooking time, since my mother’s oven is markedly cooler than it pretends to be, and it was well over an hour before it was ready. 

And obviously vanilla ice-cream was mandatory.

What was good about this recipe is that, apart from the tedium of peeling, coring and slicing the apples, the rest was dead easy to assemble. No blind baking. No pre-cooing of the apples. In general, not a lot of faff.

I’ve yet to try vegan pastry making, but presumably it would be easy enough to veganise with appropriate non-animal fats.


Sarah said...

Your pie looks delicious! I love the high ratio of apples to pastry! And the combination of spices and sugars - yum! :) So interesting that the recipe includes cheddar cheese in the crust - it's a combination I've read about occasionally but never tried.

xox Sarah

Eat to Live said...

I feel that incorporating cheese in recipes is a possibility yet to be fully explored. I can't help but wonder if one could use feta in a sweetish dish, to play with the sweet/salty paradigm. Might be a bit weird though!