from one generation to the next
The are many many instances in which the old saying “opposites attract” is true in my marriage. My darling husband has a sweet tooth, a very sweet tooth. I do not. I rarely make dessert so he satisfies his sugar craving with my home baked cake, cookies, my stash of cooking chocolate or if really desperate, toast spread with jam.
His idea of bliss is a large serving of warm apple pie, apple cake, apple strudel, apple tart, any dessert which includes a discernible amount of cooked apple.
There are particular apple pie qualities which he rates highly. He prefers finely rolled, crisp, lightly sweetened shortcrust and lots of filling, not overly sweetened, the apple cooked al dente with just a hint of cinnamon.
After one particularly magnificent speciman in Ireland he developed a rating system known as the Athalone scale on which all apple pies he eats are judged. It’s a very high benchmark which my home made attempts are yet to outscore, however, he’s never refused to eat my trial efforts.
Walnuts in this dessert excluded it from attaining a ranking, he’s an apple pie purist, but I’m here to tell you he didn’t hold back, the pie disappeared very quickly.
A recipe for apple walnut pie posted by Sabine at Mamangerie inspired this dessert, here is my close adaptation. Meanwhile we continue to seek apple pie perfection.
Apple Walnut Pie
200g spelt flour
100g castor sugar
70g walnut meal
1kg cooking apples (I used Granny Smith)
50g castor sugar
4 tablespoons rum
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter
35g chopped walnuts
1 egg, lightly beaten (save a little to brush the edges of the pie)
3 tablespoons cream
2 tablespoons brown sugar
30g walnuts finely chopped
Rub the butter into the flour until totally incorporated.
Stir in the sugar and walnuts.
Add the egg and mix until just incorporated.
Bring the pastry together with a scraper and form into a ball. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
Peel and core the apples and but into 1/8ths.
Bring the apple, rum, sugar, butter and cinnamon to the boil, cover, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Uncover the pan and cook vigorously until all the liquid has evaporated, shaking the pan frequently to stop the apple from sticking. Avoid using a spoon if you can because you want the apples to keep their shape.
Set the apple aside to cool.
Stir in the walnuts
Preheat the oven to 170C fan forced.
Thoroughly grease a deep 20cm flan tin.
On a well floured bench, roll about half the pastry into a 30cm circle.
Line the flan tin, easing the pastry gently into the corners. It make crack and tear, but will repair easily.
Roll half the remaining pastry into circle big enough to covert top.
Drain of off any juices that have bled from the apples then tip the fruit into the pastry lined flan tin.
Top with the circle of pastry easing it down onto the surface of the apples. There should be a shallow space between the top of the pie and the top edge of the tin. Trim the pastry and then seal the edge by pushing the layers of pastry together with the handle of a small spoon
Bake for 30 minutes
Mix all the ingredients together.
Pour the topping onto the top of the pastry of the par baked pie and continue baking for a further 20 minutes.
*You will only need about 2/3 of the quantity of pastry for this pie. Line some tartlet tins with the excess and freeze them, unbaked, for future use.