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American One-crust Pie with Spiced Apples and Raisins

This is without doubt the easiest apple pie in the world. No special pie tins needed, no lids to be cut and fitted, no tiresome fluting of edges. It's also a beginner's dream because, somehow, the more haphazard the whole thing looks, the better.



Make up the pastry by sifting the flour into a large mixing bowl then rubbing the fats into it lightly with your fingertips, lifting everything up and letting it fall back into the bowl to give it a good airing. When the mixture reaches the crumb stage, sprinkle in enough cold water to bring it together to a smooth dough that leaves the bowl absolutely clean. Give it a little light knead to bring it fully together, then place the pastry in a polythene bag in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare the apples and all the other filling ingredients and mix them together in a bowl. After that, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400 F (200 C). Then roll the pastry out on a flat surface to a round of about 14 inches (35 cm) in diameter: as you roll it, give it quarter turns so that it ends up as round as you can make it. (Don't worry about ragged edges - they're fine.)

Now carefully roll the pastry round the rolling pin and transfer it to the centre of a lightly greased baking sheet. To prevent the pastry getting soggy from the juice of the apples, paint it with egg yolk over roughly a 10-inch (25.5 cm)inner circle - this forms a kind of waterproof coating. Now simply pile the prepared fruit mixture in the centre of the pastry, then turn in the edges of the pastry. If any breaks, just patch it back again - it's meant to look ragged and interesting. Brush the pastry surface all round with the egg white, then crush the sugar cubes with a rolling pin and sprinkle over the pastry (the idea of using cubes is to get a less uniform look than with granulated). Pop the pie on the highest shelf of the oven and bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until the crust turns golden-brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm with chilled creme fraiche or ice cream.


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