Halloween is almost upon us and I simply couldn’t let it pass without adding one more spooky baked treat to add to your celebrations. With minimal tweaking to the decoration, I’ve turned a family favourite I’ve been making for years into a fearsome dessert. Yes, I’ve turned Hungry Hubby’s favourite apple pie into an Egyptian Mummified Apple Pie!
Hungry Hubby has never been known to turn down the offer of apple pie and if I’m ever stuck for which dessert to make, he will always suggest it. I keep things simple with a basic sweet short crust pastry but I do have a few tips and tricks plus additional flavours to bring the most of my favourite seasonal fruit and The Hungry One’s most favourite pie.
To ensure there is no soggy bottom to my pie, I do two things – first I crumble up a few amaretti cookies (the hard type, not the soft morbidi style ones) onto the pastry base to soak up the juices from the apple filling and secondly, I bake my pies on my Welsh bakestone. It’s invaluable – a thick piece of steel which retains a lot of heat so practically guarantees your pastry bases and bread bottoms bake to perfection every time. To flavour the filling, I use some freshly squeezed orange juice and just a hint of cinnamon to flavour a mix of Pink Lady and Bramley apples. I like that the Bramleys really soften and slump on baking whereas you do get a little more texture from the Pink Ladies, plus they lend natural sweetness so I can keep the added sugar in check. The combination of citrus and spice here is my most favourite festive aroma (I have room diffuser oil and candles scented with orange and cinnamon filling the Apple Chapel from November to January!) so if you aren’t eating this delicious pie at Halloween, complete with strips of mummy bandage style pastry and edible monster eyes, then make a beautiful lattice top and enjoy it at Christmas instead. Just tell me – are you a cold apple pie with hot custard man like Hungry Hubby or do you prefer a hot slice of pie with cold cream like me? Hubs can be tempted if there is a rich and creamy vanilla ice cream on offer mind you, but only the good stuff will do! Quite right really, who would want second rate ice cream with their Mummified Apple Pie?!
- 220g plain flour
- 110g soft butter
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp very cold water
- Juice of half an orange
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 5 tbsp soft brown sugar
- 1 Pink Lady apple, peeled and chopped into fine dice
- 2 Bramley apples, peeled and cored and finely sliced
- 2 level tbsp cornflour
- 4 amaretti biscuits (the hard sort)
- 1 egg yolk, beaten
- Edible monster eyes!
- Make the pastry by hand rubbing the butter into the flour, stir in the sugar then enough cold water to bring together into a dough. Or like me, place the flour in the bowl of a food processor, pulse in the butter, then the sugar and then the water, until you form a dough (it will need finishing by hand but all you need to do is tip it onto some cling film and bring together into a flat disk)>
- Chill for 20-30 minutes.
- Cut off 2/3 of the dough and roll out about 2mm thick and large enough to line a 35 by 12 cm loose bottomed tart tin (a cm or two either way is fine - these tart tins can vary a bit in exact size). Transfer to the tin and press into the crenulations and using your thumb, trim off the excess against the edge.
- Roll out the remaining dough for the topping a little thicker and about 1-2cm bigger than the tin - place on a baking sheet and transfer it and the pastry lined tart tin to the fridge to chill for an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C and prepare the filling by mixings all of the ingredients together - I leave the cornflour until all the apples are done and then sprinkle it over and mix well.
- Crush the amaretti biscuits in a mortar and pestle or in a plastic bag with a rolling pin if not and scatter the fine crumbs in the chilled pastry lined tart tin. Tip over the apple filling including it's juices. Level it off as best as you can.
- Slice the pastry for the topping into strips a little less than a cm in thickness across the pastry. Carefully, and without stretching the strips, lay them across the pie, overlapping a little in places and leaving gaps in others. Just as you might imagine an Egyptian mummy's bandages looking! Again, use your thumb to cut off the excess pastry from the edges and then brush with the egg wash before baking for 40 minutes.
- The pie will be ready when the pastry has browned and is dry to the touch plus it will be shrinng away from the tin a little in place.
- Cool on a rack and unmould from the tin before adding pairs of monster eggs in the gaps between the pastry bandages and serving. Have a deliciously spooky Halloween!
- Of course you can make this into a regular lattice topped or plain topped apple pie at any other time of year - there is enough pastry for most designs.
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