Apple SlicePosted: September 20, 2015
As a complete contrast to the glitz and glamour of the New Lemon Meringue Pies, the enjoyment in this recipe is the simplicity.
As we rush headlong through autumn, the apple harvest is in full force and I thought it appropriate to celebrate the abundance with a twist on the classic apple pie.
In the UK we’re blessed with the Bramley Apple, a gloriously sharp cooking apple that cooks to a cloud of apple froth. Unfortunately, this quality means that pies baked with Bramleys invariably end up somewhat hollow: the glorious mound of sliced apple that entered the oven emerging having deflated into a small pile of apple froth. Still delicious! But also a bit of a disappointment.
This recipe sidesteps using the classic Bramley in favour of apples of the dessert, or eating, variety, which are sweeter and hold their shape better. There are so many different British eating apples, you can ring the changes with this recipe merely by changing the type of apple you choose. Russet apples have a golden skin dotted with rough patches, and a rich, almost nutty flavour that goes exceptionally well with cheese (and nuts, obvs.). My daughter’s favourite is Worcester Pearmain, glorious red skin that blushes into dazzling white, juicy flesh, and a flavour reminiscent of lemons and strawberries. Whichever variety you choose, remember to sugar accordingly. The quantity given below is more of a general guideline – use less if you prefer a sharper taste, or if the apples you have are rather sweet.
The other twist in this recipe is the pastry, which I’ve crisped up with the addition of oats (my love of crunchy oats is well documented in the blog). I’ve also added a swirl effect by treating the pastry like cinnamon bun dough: brushing with butter, sprinkling with sugar and spices and then rolling up. Once chilled, the pastry roll is cut in half (one for the top, one for the bottom) and sliced into disks. The top and bottom pastry sheets are created with a patchwork of these swirls, placed close together and then rolled with a rolling pin until they form a continuous sheet of pastry. The pastry is fabulously crunchy and the swirl of sugar and spiced compliments the filling perfectly.
Simple. Autumnal. Perfick.
Apple Slice with Oat Swirl Pastry
300g plain flour
100g rolled oats
2tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 large yolk
50ml-ish milk, creme fraiche, double or sour cream to mix
For the swirl
30g unsalted butter
100g sugar (any kind, I like demerera)
2tsp spice (a mixture of whatever takes your fancy: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, etc.)
2-3tbs apricot or plum jam, or marmalade
You can double the filling quantities for a positively towering appley slice. The quantities below give were used to make the bake in the picture above.
1kg dessert apples (6 or 7)
2 rounded tablespoons cornflour
lemon juice (optional)
- Put all the ingredients for the pastry except the milk/cream into the bowl of a food processor and blitz to crumbs. Gradually add the liquid and mix until the whole comes together.
- Tip out onto a floured work surface and knead smooth.
- Roll out thinly (3-5mm), keeping it in a neat rectangle (30cmx40cm-ish).
- Melt the butter and paint over the surface, using a pastry brush.
- Mix the spice with the sugar and sprinkle over the whole surface of the pastry.
- Starting from one of the long sides. roll yp the pastry into a long sausage shape.
- Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes. You might want to cut the roll in half now, for ease of storage.
- Remove half of the pastry and slice the roll into ‘coins’ 1cm thick.
- Line your traybake tin (Mine is a 25cmx35cm springform tin) with baking parchment, folding the sides to the exact size of the tin. Repeat with a second piece of parchment.
- Using the folds as a guide, arrange the swirls of pastry over the bottom of one of the pieces of parchment
- Cover with clingfilm and roll with a rolling pin, until the pastry spreads and joins together. Feel free to trim the sides and patch any holes with the trimmings.
- Lay the parchment and the pastry into the bottom of your traybake tin. Brush with the jam/marmalade.
- Repeat with the second half of the pastry, again, using the folded parchment as a guide. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, 160°C Fan.
- Peel, core and grate the apples. A mandolin is perfect for achieving apple ‘matchsticks’. Toss in lemon juice if using.
- Mix the cornflour with the sugar, and stir into the apples.
- Once mixed, pour the apples into the traybake tin and press down firmly.
- Slide the top pastry onto the apple filling and press firmly. Trim off any excess.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, turning the tin around after 25 minutes to ensure even baking.
- Allow to cool completely in the tin. The apple filling WILL settle as it cools, so keeping it in the tin will allow it to hold its shape.
- When completely cold, cut into portions with a sharp knife.
- Serve warm with a little cream, or enjoy cold in your packed lunches next week.