This is homemade goodness at its best — a timeless classic of meltingly soft, sweet apples encased in a golden, buttery shortcrust. Making pastry from scratch is really worth the little extra time and effort needed, but if time is short, use a good-quality ready-made shortcrust pastry.
- 1 1⁄2 cups (225 g) plain flour
- 1⁄3 cup (50 g) self-raising flour
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- 175 g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
- 1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons cold water
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 1 cup (185 g) caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 kg granny smith or golden delicious apples
- 1⁄4 cup (25 g) almond meal
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, diced
- 6 cloves
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- cream or ice-cream, to serve
- To make pastry, sift flours, salt and sugar into a large bowl. Rub in butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add beaten egg and water; mix with a rounded knife to form a soft, but not sticky, dough. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for a few seconds until smooth, then cover with plastic wrap and chill. Put a baking tray on the centre shelf of the oven. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
- For the filling, combine the flour, sugar, mixed spice and lemon zest in a large bowl. Peel, core and slice the apples. Add to the flour mixture and mix well to combine.
- Roll out half of the chilled pastry into a 28 cm round. Use to line a 25 cm pie dish. Roll out the remaining pastry into a neat round a little larger than the first. Sprinkle the almond meal over the pastry in the dish and spread half the apple mixture on top. Dot half the butter over the apples and add half the cloves. Add the remaining apples and cloves. Dot with the remaining butter and sprinkle over the lemon juice. Add any juices left in the apple bowl.
- Brush edge of pastry with cold water. Cover pie with the second round of pastry. Pinch pastry edges to seal, then trim off excess. With tip of a knife, make shallow indents around edge of pie at 2.5 cm intervals to make a fluted pattern.
- Roll out dough trimmings; cut into apple shapes and leaves. Brush with water and arrange on top of pie. Cut two small holes in centre of pastry, then place pie dish on heated baking tray and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 190°C and bake for a further 25–30 minutes (loosely cover with foil if over-browning), or until the apples are tender. Remove from oven and sprinkle with caster sugar. Cool to room temperature and serve with cream or ice-cream.