Every year when they're ready we have a glut of apples, way too many and all at the same time. So in a way it makes sense to use a few now to make an early season apple pie.
Just read on for my mother's recipe:
2 tablespoonfuls of granulated sugar
2 tablespoonfuls of hot water
8oz/ 225 g margarine or butter
12oz/ 340g plain cake flour
2 or 3 Bramley apples for the filling and a little more sugar to sprinkle over them to taste
Dissolve the sugar in the hot water and leave it to cool.
Add the flour and beat until the mixture has an even consistency.
Scoop the dough out of the bowl onto some cling film. Wrap in the cling film and leave to chill for several hours in the fridge.
When you're ready to make your pie, peel and core the apples. Cut them into thin slices.
Take your ball of pastry out of the fridge and cut it in half. You will use one half for the floor and the other for the roof of the pie.
Roll out the first half of the pastry on a floured surface and drop it gently onto the plate. Cut around the outside of the plate with a knife so that the pastry is a neat fit.
Roll the other half out in readiness to form the roof.
Fill the pie with the sliced apples, and then add a sprinkle of sugar over the top to sweeten them up a bit. A couple of dessert spoonfuls ought to do the trick unless you've got a very sweet tooth.
Using a pastry brush and some cold water, wet the outer edges of the pie to help the pastry floor and roof bind together. It's important to get a good seal around the edge, otherwise there's the risk of a messy leakage of juice as the apples cook.
Drop the other piece of rolled out dough on top to make the roof of the pie. This step can be a bit tricky as the pastry is very fragile and will tear easily. Cut around the edge with a knife to make it a perfect fit.
When you've got the roof on your pie, push gently using your first two fingers all around the edge to seal the two layers of pastry together. Then take the blunt side of a butter knife and very gently push it into the outer edge of the pastry repeatedly to make the two layers of pastry fuse together.
Using the knife make a few vent holes in the roof of your pie to let the steam out as it cooks.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200ºC/ 390℉ for about 30 minutes until it's cooked through and golden on top.
Allow to cool, dust with sugar if you like and enjoy with a nice cup of Rosy Lee or a great big dollop of vanilla ice cream.