Happy Pi Day!

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Today is the day to celebrate the mathematical formula Pi = 3.14 (to non-geeks today is known as March 14, as in 3/14). What better way to celebrate than with pie!

It’s an understatement to say that I love to bake. Whenever there is a family get together or celebration I always volunteer to make something sweet. One of the most frequently requested treats is Apple Pie. The recipe I always use is from Mary Berry’s Step by Step Desserts and Confections

I received this book from my parents as a gift for my 21st birthday. This cookbook probably marks the start of my serious baking. It’s a fabulous cookbook with many great recipes that are well written and have useful, instructive photos. It was the perfect gift to get started in baking.

So while I have had it for more years than I care to admit I still haven’t cooked quite a few of the recipes. Although I have probably cooked more recipes from this cookbook than any other in my large cookbook collection. It’s all too easy to repeat what you’ve done previously, especially when it’s been so successful. One of the reasons I started this blog was to expand my baking repotoire, but here I am, still making pie. Oh, it’s just so delicious!

Do you have a winning recipe or formula for desserts that you always use?

Adapted from Mary Berry’s Old English Apple Pie recipe

Pastry
300g (10oz) flour
1 tsp salt
175g (6oz) unsalted butter, very cold and hard
3-4 tbsps cold water

Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Take the butter out of the fridge and, using a box grater, grate the butter in batches and the toss the butter in the flour to coat. When all of the butter has been grated, rub the butter into the flour using only your fingertips until it looks rough and crumbly; don’t fuss and overwork it. Add just enough cold water for it to hold together. Wrap in plastic cling film and rest in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. The pastry can be prepared well in advance and stored in the fridge for a day or two.

Filling
8 Bramley or Granny Smith apples
1 tbsp cornflour
100g (3.5oz) caster sugar
juice of half a lemon

Peel, core and slice thinly the apples. Mix in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients.

To assemble
Melted butter (about 30g or 1oz)
Demerera sugar (about one large handful)

Grease an ovenproof dish with some of the melted butter. I use a glass pie dish measuring 22.5cm (9 inches) in diameter and about 3cm (just over 1 inch) deep.

Cut the pastry into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Roll out the smaller piece until it is large enough to line the base of the dish with a little overhang. Roll the dough over the pin, lift it, and gently ease into the dish. Place the filling in dish.

Roll out the remaining piece of dough until it is large enough to cover the entire pie with a little overhang. Roll the dough over the pin, lift it, and gently ease onto the top of the filling. Trim away and tidy the excess dough from the edge of the pie, ensuring that you leave an overhang of about 2.5cm or 1 inch. Feel free to roll out the trimmings and use to decorate the pie.

Crimp the edges of the pastry. Pierce the top of the pastry several times to allow steam to escape during cooking. Brush melted butter over the top and sprinkle with demerera sugar. Place in the oven preheated to 200C (400F) and cook for about 45 minutes. Turn the pie around about half way during cooking.

Enjoy hot, warm or cold with cream, ice cream or custard.

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This is how my apple pies usually look when I’m not doing some geeky kitsch thing like Pi Day.

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