Who does not love a wholesome apple pie and especially when you find out apples are a delicious skin food.My family scream with joy when I mention apple pie, it is something about the ritual of baking and pouring custard over a steaming slice that gets them every time. Most of us dismiss making an apple pie and opt for a pre-made one instead. I'd like to challenge this notion knowing you can a) control your ingredients - ie less sugar and more fibre for clearer skin and b) forgot about being neat and go for rustic look with the pastry! I have given Stephanie Alexander's shortcrust apple pie pastry a little makeover, though I still use wheat flour I have swapped refined white flour for organic wholemeal flour. I also don't add any 'wrinkle forming' sugar to the pastry or filling. The apple pie pastry uses a lot of butter which gives it its melt-in-the mouth 'crispness' rather than the 'shortness' of sweet pastry. The pastry is perfect for both sweet and savoury pies and tarts.
BEAUTY BENEFITSWe all know an apple a day keeps the doctor away... who knew they ward off wrinkles too! Apples are packed with nutrients including antioxidants, fibre, potassium, manganese and vitamin B6. These nutrients work together to help protect your skin from fine lines forming and discourage sagging (oh no) skin. With a high flavonoid content, apples contain the antioxidant quercetin which fights free radicals. These free radicals can attack collagen and elastin which create your skins structure. By destroying these free radicals, your complexion will stay smooth and tight, maintaining a more youthful appearance. Vitamin C helps in the production of collagen, allowing damaged skin cells to be restored and your complexion smooth and luminous. Soluble fibre in the apples and insoluble fibre in the pastry can enhance your complexion by absorbing and removing toxins from your body and improving nutrient absorption.
APPLE PIE RECIPEThis apple pie shortcrust pastry is really easy to make, the quantity is generous for a 24cm dish - top & bottom. It's best to 'blind' bake it for 10 mins to form a seal before the filling is added, this will keep the pastry crisp and easy to serve.
YOU'LL NEED2 cups organic wholemeal flour 180g butter - from fridge - ideally taken our 30 mins before you start 5 tbsp chilled water 10 green apples – peeled, quarterd, cored and sliced 1/2 cup water 3 cloves and/or cinnamon stick - optional egg to glaze pastry top cinnamon and sugar to sprinkle
HOW TOShortcrust Pastry 1. On your bench top pour the flour into a pile. Chop the butter into small cubes and toss lightly in the flour. 2. Very lightly rub some of the butter in to the flour. 3. Make a well in the middle of the flour. Add water. 4. With a pastry scraper, work the butter into the flour to form a very rough heap of buttery lumps of dough. Using the heal of your hand, quickly smear the pastry away form you across the bench top. It will combine lightly. 5. Gather together, form into 2 balls, flatten into discs, sprinkle with flour, wrap in glad wrap and pop in fridge for 20 minutes to relax and for the butter to firm up again. 6. Turn oven to 200C. 7. When required roll our one pastry disc into a circle and line 24 - 26cm ceramic dish or metal pie/flan. Leave a lot of over hang so it can shrink back during baking. 8. Line pastry with a piece of non toxic baking paper, pop on some dried beans or what ever you use to blind bake. 9. Bake for 10 mins. Remove from oven. Remove paper and beans. If you are keen, pop back in for another 5 mins. Set aside to cool enough to be able to handle attaching the lid.) 10. Roll out 2nd disk making sure you have plenty of flour underneath to stop the pastry from sticking. Apple Pie Filling 1. Pop apples, water and (spices) into saucepan with lid on to cook. Once boiling, turn to simmer and keep lid on til apples start to soften. 2. Remove lid to evaporate off the water. The apples will take from 15-30mins to cook depending on how much structure or mush you like. If you added spices remove half way through to they are not overpowering. 3. Set aside cooked apples to cool. To Assemble 1. Into the cooled pastry shell, add the pie filling, smooth out. 2. Place over rolled out pastry. Gather up the over hang and pinch pastry in. Use 2 fingers in your left hand and push your thumb into the gap to make the pretty (rustic) pattern. Don't worry if it looks messy or pieces drop off. See pic below. 3. 'Wash' pastry surface with a beaten egg and generously sprinkle over sugar and cinnamon mix. 4. Use your fork to add several sets of wholes to release the steam whilst baking. 5. Bake at 200C til pastry is golden brown. Approx 20 mins. Serve warm or cold.
The pastry is simply 2 cups wholemeal flour, 180g butter (ie lots) and 5 tblspn cold water. The butter is smeared in with the palm of your hand....none of that time consuming rub in til resembles fine breadcrumbs stuff.
Apples are cooked with a little water for about 20 mins before left to cool. No sugar is added and you can spice it up with cinnamon or cloves.
I love this rustic look because it means no fiddling with the pastry. That means less time in the kitchen.