Happy birthday to my elder son, GW! A bit awkward to have a birthday in December, it can be in danger of being overshadowed by the Christmas celebrations. However we ensure that no sign of Christmas is visible in or around the house until after the 8th of December, so no tree, no lights and definately no birthday presents wrapped in Christmas paper! This has been the rule since GW was born thirty-one years ago - where has the time gone!
GW doesn't live locally so a birthday cake for him is out of the question and he doesn't have that much of a sweet tooth, so I'll be making his favourite dessert when he visits us over the Christmas period - apple pie. Here's a favourite recipe...
Festive Apple Pie
For the Pastry
4 ozs butter, cold and diced
7 ozs plain flour
1 tblsp icing sugar
zest of 1 orange
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tblsp orange juice and 1 tblsp very cold water
For the Filling
4 large HG cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 HG eating apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 tblsp cornflour
1 tblsp soft brown sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
grating of nutmeg
Place all the ingredients for the pastry, except the egg yolk mixture, in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Gradually add the egg mixture and process until the dough just comes together. Remove from the processor and form into a ball, cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least 30 mins but no longer then a couple of hours.
Meanwhile prepare the apples and place in a bowl of water with a good squeeze of lemon juice to keep them from going brown.
Then roll out the pastry between 2 sheets of clingfilm so that it is large enough to line a deep 7" pie dish and fold over the top of the apple filling. Place the pastry in the lightly greased pie dish with the excess overlapping the sides of the dish.
Drain the apples and place them in the pie dish in layers, sprinkling some of the cornflour, sugar and spices between each layer of fruit. Finally pull the pastry over the top of the apples so that they are covered leaving a gap in the middle for the steam to escape. Don't worry if the finished result looks a little untidy, it will look scrumptious when it is baked.
Brush the pastry with a little beaten egg or milk and place in the oven at 190C for about 30-40 mins until the pastry is golden. Serve warm with custard or, as it's Christmas, cider cream.