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Does apple pie come from England or the US?

There is a saying in America, “as American as an apple pie” when describing something that is typically American. This implies Americans are extremely proud of their apple pies and consider it too has American origin. That’s not true, unfortunately. Apple pie has been eaten in Europe long before the colonisation of America and it got to America by English, Dutch and Swedish colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Where does it come from then?

The origin of the apple pie is England and the first recipe is as early as 1381. In Holland the first cookery book describing the method of making an apple pie is from 1514.

Although I am pretty sure everybody can make an apple pie, let me share a recipe I learnt here in England. You will see there are some slight differences, for example in Hungary we use grated apples, bake them in a rectangular tin and cut square shaped slices. It is different over here.

(makes 3 little pots, for 1 big pie dish use double the amount of ingredients)

125g plain flour
115g unsalted butter
15g sugar
¼ tsp salt
icy water
3 Bramley apples
juice of half a lemon
some ground cinnamon
1 egg

First I make the pastry. I mix the salt and the sugar in the flour and then add the cold butter cut in cubes. If you have a food processor then use that it is much easier. I do not have one so I have to work with my fingertips to get a a breadcrumbs like consistency. Then add some icy water and as soon as it starts to stick together, gather it together and pat the pastry into 2 same sized balls. The dough has to chill for 1 hour before rolling, so I wrap it in cling film and put it to the fridge.

Apple Pie with Tea

Whilst the dough is chilling in the fridge, I prepare the apples. I cut the apples in half and then take the half of either side of the core and then across the bottom of the core and then peel the pieces. I cut half a centimetre wide slices which I then put into a bowl. I add some sugar, cinnamon and the lemon juice which prevents the apple from turning to brown. I leave the apples for 30 mins to release the juice. Once done, I cook the apples just as long as they start to become soft on the outside and add some more sugar and cinnamon. This is really up to your taste. Then I let the apples to cool down.

Meanwhile, I roll out the pastry. I sprinkle flour on the work surface and rolling pin, then flatten the pastry. Working from the centre out, I roll out the pastry into a circle and put it into a bowl and press down the edges. I trim the excess. The bowls go back to the fridge to chill for 30 minutes again. Once ready, I fill the bowls with the cooled apple and put the top layer on top and tuck it under the bottom crust to seal the edges. I then brush the top layer with an egg wash and cut 3 holes so that the air can escape during baking. Bake it for 30-45 minutes 160C fan, or until golden brown. The filling should be soft when pierced with a knife. I let the pie rest and serve it with clotted cream a bit later. Alternatives to clotted cream can be vanilla ice cream, double cream (whipped) or custard.

I think it is perfect for an autumn day.


What do you think…?


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