English Apple Pie

45 minutes - 50 minutes
to cook

The Delia Online Cookery School: You can now watch how to make English Apple Pie in our Cookery School Video for Shortcrust Pastry. Just click on the image to play.

This recipe is from the Delia Online Cookery School Serves 8. Scroll to the botom of the page to see questions Lindsey has answered on this recipe

  • method
  • Ingredients


Begin by sifting the flour and pinch of salt into a large bowl, holding the sieve as high as possible, so that they get a really good airing before you begin.

Now add the lard and butter, cut into smallish lumps, then take a knife and begin to cut the fat into the flour. Go on doing this until it looks fairly evenly blended, then begin to rub the fat into the flour using your fingertips only and being as light as possible. As you gently rub the fat into the flour, lift it up high and let it fall back into the bowl, which again means that all the time air is being incorporated, but do this just long enough to make the mixture crumbly with a few odd lumps here and there.

Now sprinkle 1 tablespoon of water in, then, with a knife, start bringing the dough together, using the knife to make it cling. Then discard the knife and, finally, bring it together with your fingertips. When enough liquid is added, the pastry should leave the bowl fairly clean. If this hasn't happened, then using your fingertips, add a spot more water. Pat the pastry into a round shape and then leave it to rest in a polythene bag in the refrigerator for 30 minutes

Meanwhile, peel, quarter and core the apples and then cut them into very thin slices straight into a bowl water containing the juice of half a lemon to stop the apple browning. Pre-heat the oven, and baking sheet, to 220°C, gas mark 7

Next take a little less than half of the rested pastry and place the dough on a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin that is absolutely straight. Lightly dust the pin with flour and rest it on the centre of the dough. Place the flat of your hands lightly on each end of the pin and begin to roll the dough backwards and forwards (don’t be tempted to roll from side to side), gently and evenly, re-dusting the pin and the surface very lightly with flour if you need to stop the pastry sticking. Give the pastry quarter-turns as it expands and, provided you continue to roll backwards and forwards and not side-to-side, it will roll out into a round shape that will keep its shape and not shrink as it cooks. Roll the pastry out to 26cm diameter, then carefully roll the pastry round the rolling pin and transfer it to the centre of the tin. Now, using your hands, gently press the pastry into the tin to line the base and sides making sure you ease the pastry into the corners and press it against the sides, don’t stretch it, leaving the edge of the pastry overhanging the sides.

Next scatter the semolina all over the base of the pastry then drain the apples and pat them dry with a clean tea towel and after that pile them into the pastry case, building up the layers closely and scattering the sugar and cloves as you go. Now roll the remaining pastry out as before but this time 27cm in diameter. Brush the rim of the pastry base with a little cold water then carefully lift the lid, using the rolling pin again, over the top of the pie.

Press the edges of the pastry base and the lid together, then turn the edges inwards and press them together again to get a good seal all round, leaving about 5mm overhang. Then use your fingers to flute the edge of the pasty all round. To do this hold the edge of the pastry down with two fingers that are slightly apart and use a finger from your second hand to draw the pastry inwards between the two fingers to form a fluted edge.

Now make a hole in the centre, about the size of a 50p piece to allow the steam from the apples to escape. Then brush top with lightly beaten egg white and sprinkle with demerara sugar then place the pie on the pre-heated baking sheet and bake on a high shelf for 10 minutes. After that reduce the temperature to 190°C, gas mark 5 and place the pie on a lower shelf (just below centre) to cook for a further 35-40 minutes or until it has turned a deep golden brown.

Remove the pie and allow it to stand for at least 15 minutes before removing from the tin and serve warm with whatever you like best, chilled pouring cream, ice cream, custard or crème fraiche to name a few.  If you want to make your own custard, take a look at our Cookery School Video on this page.

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