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Apple of my Eye – Mothers Day Pie

April 25, 2017

Seeing as Mothers Day is fast approaching (Sunday 14th May 2017), I was thinking about a favourite dessert that my mum used to make: apple pie. Rather than baked in a typical pie dish, she always made it on a flat sheet, resembling a buttery pastry mountain Uluru, crammed with freshly stewed apples. It was delicious hot or cold and would last for a few days as it was a generous recipe.

Whilst my friends were chowing down on “snot blocks” and jam donuts from the school canteen, I would always prefer the apple shortcakes which were much more like flat little pies. They were filled with a sweet & gloopy apple mixture and blanketed with a thick layer of white fondant! I have never seen them here in Queensland and have fond memories of chipping off the icing in thick shards. This recipe is definitely a refined version; much healthier and gluten-free.

Australia produces a large range of apples, but the top five most popular apples in Australia are: Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Pink Lady, Fuji and Gala.  As a kid I only remember there ever being Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Jonathans.  We would drive out to the orchards (now 30-year-old housing estates) and buy 3 kg bags and munch on them in the car on the way home. Those were the days when the bakery closed at 12 noon on a Saturday with the queue starting at 8am! But I digress.

I always use granny smith apples to cook with as they are lovely and tart but if you prefer a sweeter pie, you could use your favourite.

By the way, Granny Smith apples are named after Mrs Maria Ann Smith (1799-1870), who in the mid 1800’s cultivated the first crop of our now famous Granny Smith apples. She was an illiterate who migrated to Kissing Point (Ryde), New South Wales under the government bounty scheme in 1838.

It is said that she had developed a seedling from the remains of some French crab-apples grown in Tasmania. The apple was not a commercial variety in her lifetime but its cultivation was sustained by local orchardist’s and by 1892 ‘Granny Smith’s seedlings’ had begun to win prizes in the cooking-apple class.

What are your favourite apples to cook with?

I like to steam my apples in the Thermomix, rather than cook them in the TM bowl as I like them to retain their shape.  Just peel and quarter them (or cut in eight, depending on the size), place them on the Varoma tray, sprinkle with a little lemon juice and steam for 15-20 minutes, Temp Varoma, SP 1. I only use about 350g water.

By all means you can cook them on the stove in a little water or use canned apple.

                             Ready for the oven

You will need about 450g stewed apple – cooled.

Spices: cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to taste

1 tab currants

2 – 4 tabs sugar (to taste)

1 teas tapioca flour (or cornflour)

For the pastry:

3 tabs sugar
1 lemon, rind only
240g GF flour mix
½ teas xanthan gum (or guar gum)*Optional
110g cold butter
1 egg + 1 egg, beaten & divided
2 ice cubes
Mill the sugar & rind on SP 9, 5 seconds
Add the flour, butter & ice and mix on SP 7, 5 seconds
Add 1 whole egg and half an egg, mix on SP 6 until just forming a dough.
Rest the dough in the fridge for 20 mins, then divide in 2. Roll out half the dough into a 7mm base.  Sprinkle the base with a dusting of tapioca flour** then top with apples, currants, spice and a little sugar if required.
Roll out a larger round of dough and squish the edges up. Brush with the remaining egg and sprinkle the top liberally with sugar. Prick with a fork to allow the steam to escape and bake for 30 – 40 minutes in a moderate oven or until golden. Serve hot, cold or warm with cream or ice-cream. Or nude!
* Helps to keep the pastry strong without breaking.
** The tapioca flour helps absorb the juices from the apples, preventing the base from going soggy.
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