315gms of self-raising flour
225gm of butter (I prefer French origin, has a lot less water content) - needs to be cold, cubed.
1/2tspn of cinnamon powder
2tblpsn of corn flour
100gm of brown sugar
(Optional: Juice of a lemon if you like your pies sweet and tangy)
6 apples - cored, thinly sliced and cut in half (I use a mix of Granny Smith, Pink Lady and New Zealand Jazz)
1/2 cup of cold water
1 egg beaten to create egg wash
9-in pie dish
Oven pre-heated to 200C
Before I start, it is imperative that the butter and water are cold, otherwise you are going to get a stodgy, dense crust. And, do not even mention lard in my vicinity. I detest that ingredient, most of all in baking. Butter is best!
Mix the flour, preferably sifted thrice, with the butter - with your hands. Pastry is best done with cool hands, so keep a bowl of chilled water next to you. Occasionally, dip your hands in it, wipe it dry and continue. The butter and flour will resemble crumbs, DO NOT, PLEASE, BLEND it together completely. The bits of butter will melt in the oven, creating flaky pastry shell.
Then bring it together slowly, just gather it, by adding the cold water - we do not want gluten to form. Once it roughly comes together into a ball, divide it into two, cover in thin plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. Cold is the mantra.
While the dough rests, warm a pan, add the sugar with a sprinkling of water. As it turns almond brown and a caramel smell emanates, add the apples with the cloves and cinnamon to it. Cook on a gentle flame till the juices release. Add the corn flour, so that the sauce becomes thicker and covers the apples - making them glisten. Your pie filling is ready. Keep aside.
Then roll one of the dough balls out gently with a pin to about quarter inch thickness. Do dust your surface generously with flour. You can always brush off the excess.
Trim the rolled out dough, gently lift into half, and then fold again. You get a triangle of folded dough. This ensures that it does not tear when you place it into the buttered pie dish. Then unfold it slowly in the dish. The excess at the edges can be folded into a wavy crimp. Fill with spiced apple filling.
Then roll out the second dough ball that was resting in the refrigerator - on a well dusted surface. Use a pizza cutter to make strips. Roll one strip like a pinwheel. Then unroll onto the pie. The overhang can be trimmed, either using your hand or the tines of a fork. A lattice pie is a bit tough for beginners, as the weaving has to be done fast with cold pastry. You can just place the entire circle of dough and make a covered pie - more crust! Just remember to cut four slits from near the center to the edge like a cross, without intersecting.
Brush generously with egg wash to get a golden hue once baked.
Bake at 200C for about 50 to 55 minutes or till golden brown and the apple juices are bubbling. Take it out and let it cool. Serve warm with ice cream.
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