Especially frugal if you should happen to have apple trees in your garden, but thrifty even if you have to buy them. These quantities make two pies – one for eating now and one for freezing – adjust quantities for your own needs.
600g/18oz/2 and a quarter cups of plain flour
300g/9oz. vegetable margarine
about half a cup of cold water
200/g/6oz/1 cup sugar
about ten medium sized cooking apples (Brambley are good) – peeled and sliced
Preheat oven to 190C/380F degrees. Grease 2 pie dishes (9 inch rounds do well but any shape will do). For the pastry: rub the margarine into flour until you have a breadcrumb like consistency. Add the cold water and mix to a dough (by hand is best) – add gradually as flours do vary and you may need slightly more or slightly less water than stated. Divide your dough into four (two bases and two tops) and roll out the two bases (on a floured board or surface) and place in the pie dishes. Place the apple slices into them, cover with the sugar and roll out tops – place on top and seal with water. Cut an X in the centre of each pie and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake in oven for about half an hour or until pastry is cooked and apple/sugar mixture is bubbling (peek into the X!). Delicious hot with ice cream or cold on its own.
kid tip: if you have some left over pastry let your kids (or yourself!) make some little pies of their own – pastry shapes topped with jam, chocolate, sweets or marmite go down well especially if made by one’s own fair hand!! They take about 10-15 minutes to cook, being much smaller.
variations: this basic piecrust can be filled with anything you like – blackcurrant and apple is good in the summer, brambles/blackberries grow wild in the woods in autumn and can be used in place of apples, as can rhubarb. The same pastry can be used for savoury pies too – try mince or a grated carrot, cabbage and onion filling is tasty with gravy. Mixed roasted vegetable with herbs – let your imagination go (or use up the left-overs in your fridge!)
An alternative, sugar free version has been sent to us by Peter: 1 apple pie flan = 9oz Tescos value eating apples, 90g dried stoned dates, 125g raisins, 12oz wholewheat flour, (as so cheap, could afford to use own brand organic wholewheat flour), 12oz flour, 6oz Tesco Pure soya margerine. Half pint water. Mix up flour and marg, rest/chill in fridge for 30 minutes. Bring the half pint to boil, turn down to simmer, add the dates, stir around, break up with a fork. (If doing more than one flan filling to put in freezer, don’t do loads of water, the reason of the water is to break up the dates). Chop up apples in processor, add apples and raisins to dates, mix all up, that is filling done. Get a standard flan case, (I use the one that bottom comes off, easy to remove flan). Smear the flan case with marge. Weigh out the dough, rollout 2 thirds of the dough, pop in flan case, tip- roll rolling pin around edge to remove excess over edge, pop the filling in. Wet inside edge of flan with water, rollout other third of dough. Place on top, pinch around edge with thumbs. I use a teaspoon handle to make a little hole in center of top of flan. Pop into the middle shelf of a preheated oven at 180 degrees C. Take out after 30 minutes and you have one lovely flan, very filling.