My friend Ivy at Kopiaste is hosting a Sweet Pies Event - all you have to do is make a sweet pie and post about it during October. So come on all you budding "Waitresses" out there - bake a pie and join the fun, and you will be entered into the draw to win some Tupperware.
A little while ago, some people that I met at a professional dinner introduced me to the Britain's Best Dish website. One of the dishes featured on the site and in the TV show that it accompanies is a Traditional Apple Pie, which along with Apple Crump, was the most popular dish on the site last year (although neither of them won the prize as Britains's Best Dish). Having already tackled the apple crump (although not a fan - too sugary and buttery for me!), I decided that the apple pie would be perfect for Ivy's event. You can find the recipe for this Traditional Apple Pie here.
This apple pie is not like my Mom used to make, because it uses lard in the pastry. This sounds rather gross, but I am willing to give things a go, and it tasted OK. Lard is not commonly used in Australian pastries, although old cookbooks suggest that it may once have been, and lard is certainly not easy to buy. However, in the spirit of adventure and compromise, I used Supafry as a lard substitute, as it is, after all, tallow (that is, clarified beef fat), and lard is rendered pork fat. One important difference that I noticed between the pastry in this apple pie and my usual pastry is that it was much crisper - perhaps this is attributable to using half butter, half animal fat in the pastry?
Although I didn't realise until I started, some of the directions in the recipe are quite vague. For example, it says to peel, core and chop the apples, but not how finely to chop them. I just used my you-beaut gadget to core and cut each apple into eighths in one go, which seemed to be fine enough for the purposes of this pie. The recipe also says to cook the apple with sugar and lemon juice "to taste". Unfortunately, if you taste the apples too much, you'd have none left for the pie. For the record, I used two tablespoons of lemon juice and a third of a cup of sugar, which made my tart Granny Smith apples quite sweet. Where the recipe says to dot the pastry with extra margarine when making the lid of the pie (without saying how much extra margarine), I totally ignored it, as there was enough fat in there already, and it didn't seem to affect the final outcome.
While the recipe calls for quince marmalade with which to cook the apples, I used good ol' orange marmalade, which did the job nicely. I also used butter instead of margarine. Finally, there was no way I was leaving a carton of milk on the bench for two to three days to create sour milk - the potential health issues are mind-boggling. Instead, I used buttermilk, which I thought may be a fair substitute, given that you can "fake" buttermilk by adding lemon juice to ordinary milk, which sounds pretty sour to me.
Despite its odd ingredients, I really liked this apple pie - it beats the commercial ones hands down, and I liked the unusual crispness of the crust (even though I have divorce myself somewhat from the fact that it contains animal fat).
Don't forget to check Ivy's site in early November for the Sweet Pies roundup - thanks for hosting Ivy!