Toffee-apple streusel pie

Makes one 11in-diameter pie

Ingredients

Shortcrust pastry
(makes enough pastry for two
pies, freeze half for next time)
150ml ice-cold water
300g plain flour
1tbspn icing sugar
225g unsalted butter, very cold,
in cubes

Streusel topping

200g flour
200g sugar
115g unsalted butter

Toffee sauce and apple filling

200g brown sugar
125g unsalted butter
100ml double cream
650g (about 12) apples, peeled,
cored and cut into half inch slices
1 lemon
30g flour

Method

Start by making the pastry. Measure the water in a jug and place in the freezer. You can make the pastry by hand, but I recommend using a food processor. Mix the dry ingredients together, then add the cubes of butter and process-about four pulses-until you have coarse breadcrumbs. Take the water out of the freezer.

Turn the processor to a slow speed and trickle the iced water into the dough until the pastry comes together. Tip the dough out and separate it into two balls. Wrap both in clingfilm-place one in the fridge for an hour and the other in the freezer to use at a later date.

Lightly grease an 11in-diameter pie dish with butter. Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out on a lightly floured surface so that it’s large enough to have just over 1in overhang all the way around once in the pie dish. Return to the fridge for half an hour.

Make the streusel topping by either pulsing the flour, sugar and butter in a processor until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs, or rub together with your fingers. Set this aside and preheat your oven to 180˚C/375˚F/gas mark 3. Remove the pie dish from the fridge, place a large piece of grease-proof paper on top, then fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 15 minutes.

Place the brown sugar, butter and cream in a large saucepan, and heat until it becomes a runny, brown toffee sauce. Set this aside while you prepare the apples. Core (an apple corer makes light work of this) and peel the apples, then cut them into slices, squeezing lemon juice over them as you go, so they don’t brown. (If storing them for any time, make sure you place them in an airtight container.)

Gently warm the toffee sauce if it’s cooled and lost its runny consistency, then pour in the chopped apples. Sprinkle the flour over it and mix well. When the apples are coated, pour them into the pastry case.

Cover the fruit with the streusel topping and bake for 45 minutes. Once out of the oven, use a sharp knife to cut off the excess pastry around the edge. Whether served hot, warm or cold, this pie tastes delicious.

More ways with apples


Baked apples

Measure out 2tbspn each of desic-cated coconut, dried apricots (chopped), flaked almonds, porridge oats and runny honey, and combine. Then remove the cores from four apples and put them into a baking dish. Fill the apples with the coconut mixture and brush each one with melted butter before sprinkling with brown sugar. Bake in a moderate oven for 45 minutes and serve hot with vanilla ice cream.

Creamy chicken curry with apples

Mix together 2tspn ground cumin, 2tspn garam masala and 2tbspn curry powder and set aside. Dice chicken breasts and fry in oil until browned. Set aside and fry a chopped onion in the same pan.

Return the chicken to the pan, sprinkle a little flour over it and stir before adding just enough chicken stock to cover the meat. Add peeled, cored apple pieces-allow a quarter of an apple per breast. Add the spices, tasting as you go, depending on how much or how little you prefer. Simmer gently until cooked. Add a splash of double cream and serve with basmati rice.
 

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