Isn’t it funny how we all seem to complain no matter what the weather is? In summer, we find it too hot and sticky and spend our days sweating our butts off, constantly muttering “I hate this heat, I hate this heat!” as we anticipate the crisper season of autumn. Then, when the cooler weather settles in and winter is here, we complain that it is too cold, curse the rain and chilly winds, muttering “I just can’t wait for summer!” under our breaths. There is never a happy medium, is there?
It’s nearing the end of September and only now it seems like winter is on its way out, making room for spring. Finally! The days are now longer and the sun will stick around long enough to make it until dinner time. But, before you know it, I’ll be complaining of the heat once again when summer arrives, haha!
To mark the end of winter, I thought I’d make something winter-inspired. To me, nothing says winter warmer more than a pudding or pie, but I have been itching to make pastry over the last few weeks, so I decided to make little apple pies. The recipe has quite a few steps and can be a bit fiddly, but the time and effort is well worth the result. The pastry is deliciously short and crumbly, the filling is sweet yet still tart and fragrant with cinnamon. Delicious!
Little Apple Pies
Adapted from a recipe on Taste.com.au
Makes 10, or if it’s easier, just make one big pie.
350g plain flour
60g ground almonds
55g (¼ cup) caster sugar
pinch of salt
200g butter, coarsely chopped
60ml (¼ cup) cold water
4 large apples (about 1kg) (I used Granny Smith)
55g (¼ cup) caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons cornflour
milk, to brush
caster or raw sugar, to sprinkle
1. To make the pastry, process the flour, ground almonds, sugar, salt and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the water and process until it comes together. Form the dough into a ball, and divide into three, shape into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours.
2. Peel, core and cut apples into a 1.5cm pieces. Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan, add the apples, sugar and cinnamon and cook until apples are tender and the mixture is quite wet. Remove a few tablespoons of liquid from the pan, mix with cornflour and return to the pan, mixing thoroughly with the apples. Cool to room temperature.
3. On a floured surface, roll out each disc to 3mm thick. Cut out 10 x 11cm rounds and 10 x 7cm rounds. Line a 12-hole muffin pan (80ml or cup capacity) with the larger rounds. Refrigerate for around 20 minutes.
4. Place a baking tray in the oven and preheat to 200C.
5. Divide the apple mixture evenly among the prepared pie cases, about three-quarters full (do not fill right to the top, as I did, hence the tops coming off!) Place a pastry round on top, fold in the edge to seal and cut a steam hole in the top. Brush the pies with milk and liberally with extra sugar.
6. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 180C and bake for a further 20 minutes or until golden. Cool for 20 minutes before removing them from the tin.
Serve with custard or ice cream.