I still remember the first time I watched my Mum bake an apple pie (from scratch) and serve it with custard (not from scratch!) I was about four years old and I was sat on the kitchen work top and I saw her get to work making the pastry dough; rolling it out; covering a pie dish with it and trimming the edges before filling it with sliced fresh apples. Oh and my favourite bit: sealing the edges with a fork so that it had that lined effect that pastry chefs deem ‘old fashioned’ but to me is the sign of a good homemade pie.
I can still taste how good it was and how the sharp, tangy apples contrasted deliciously with the sweet, creamy custard. It’s still one of my favourite puddings to this day but then who isn’t partial to a bit of apple pie and custard? Oh and has to be custard. Flavoured creams and ice-cream are all very well but nothing beats lashings of hot custard.
Unfortunately Mum doesn’t really do recipes as she pretty much likes to experiment as she goes along – and most of the time it works! But I did stumble across a recipe which is very similar what Mum used to bake. And If you are more adventurous than Mum, you might like to have a go at making custard from scratch and not just open a tin of Birds custard powder (even if that does take me back to my childhood!)
- For the pastry
- For the filling
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
- Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl.
- Rub in the margarine or butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the cold water to the flour mixture. Using a knife, mix the water into the flour, using your hand to firm up the mixture. The pastry should be of an even colour and suitable consistency for rolling.
- Divide the pastry into two halves. Take one half and roll it out so that it is big enough to cover an 20cm/8in enamel or aluminium plate. Trim the edges with a knife using the edge of the plate as your guide.
- Cover the pastry with the stewed apples and sprinkle with sugar to taste.
- Roll out the other half of the pastry. Moisten the edge of the bottom layer of pastry and place the second piece on top.
- Press down on the pastry edges, making sure that they are properly sealed. Trim off any excess pastry with a knife in a downward motion, again using the plate as your guide.
- Flute the edges with a pinching action using your fingers and thumb.
- Prick the surface of the pastry lightly before placing the pie in the oven. Cook for 20-30 minutes.
- When the pie is cooked it should move slightly on the plate when gently shaken.
- Slide on to a serving plate, dust with caster sugar and serve.
- 570ml/1 pint milk
- 55ml/2fl oz single cream
- 1 vanilla pod or ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 4 eggs, yolks only
- 30g/1oz caster sugar
- 2 level tsp cornflour
- Bring the milk, cream and vanilla pod to simmering point slowly over a low heat.
- Remove the vanilla pod (wash the vanilla pod, dry and store in jar with caster sugar to make vanilla sugar).
- Whisk the yolks, sugar and cornflour together in a bowl until well blended.
- Pour the hot milk and cream on to the eggs and sugar, whisking all the time with a balloon whisk.
- Return to the pan, (add vanilla extract if using) and over a low heat gently stir with a wooden spatula until thickened.
- Pour the custard into a jug and serve at once.
- To keep hot, stand the jug in a pan of hot water and cover the top with cling film to prevent skin forming.