Today is Apple Day! Originated in 1990 by Common Ground, apple day has grown to be a celebration of English apples, orchards and mellow fruitfulness. Apple Day events have sprung up around the country where you can try your hand at apple pressing, drink freshly squeezed apple juice, taste delectable pies and cakes and enjoy a little piece of England!
We live in Somerset, famed for its orchards and, of course, its cider and we try to attend an apple day event every year. Yesterday the heavens opened and the event we had planned to tootle along to was postponed so, undeterred, we held our own!
We started with some apple crafts, slicing open one of the apples from our faithful old tree to reveal the beautiful star at its heart.
We squeezed a small dollop each of red and yellow acrylic paint into a bowl and dipped the apple in before using it to print onto a sheet of baking parchment. Acrylic paint doesn’t take long to dry and, once it had, we cut around our apple shapes and I put them into laminator pouches before passing them through our laminator. We cut around them again and threaded them onto cotton before hanging them in the window to catch the light.
They look lovely even on this gloomy grey day and I rather like that our faithful old apple tree, provider of so much delicious fruit, can be seen in the background behind our apple day craft!
Of course my daughter, being my daughter, spotted another crafty possibility and went off piste to produce these lovely chaps just in time for Halloween! We used a black sharpie marker to draw on the faces, which one do you like best?
Apple day wouldn’t be apple day without a pie and, as Waitrose had sent us the recipe for a deep filled bramley pie and a voucher to buy the ingredients, that is what we had! I don’t claim to be a pastry chef, I am often to be found swearing over a crumbling shortcrust and resorting to ready made but I stuck with it this time. The result was, what I like to call, ‘Rustic’ and others might call ‘a bit of a mess’. Teen One was worried it would taste of angst but, despite its crumbly appearance, it was absolutely delicious and I have been persuaded to give shortcrust pastry another go!
- 500 g plain flour
- 250 g chilled butter diced
- 100 g sultanas I didn't put these in because I have a sultana hater ;- )
- 150 g golden caster sugar plus extra for sprinkling
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 600 g bramley apples
- 2 red eating apples
- 1 tsp ground mixed spice
- 3 tbsps plain flour
- milk for brushing
- Sift flour and place in a food processor. Add the diced butter and whizz to form crumbs. Add 4-5 tbsps cold water and pulse to form a firm pastry. Remove from the bowl, roll into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill for half an hour.
- Place the sultanas (if you're using them), sugar and lemon zest into a large bowl. Peel, core and thinly slice the apples, adding them to the bowl as each one is done. Sprinkle over the spice and the flour.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C, 390°F. Roll out two thirds of the pastry and use to line a 23-24cm pie dish, leaving any excess pastry to overhang the edge. Spoon the apple mixture into the dish and dampen the edge of the pastry along the rim with milk.
- Roll the remaining pastry into a circle large enough to cover the filling and lay on top of the pie. Using a sharp knife, trim the excess pastry away and crimp the edges to seal. Brush the pie with milk and sprinkle with a little sugar. Make a slit or two in the top and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool for at least 45 minutes before slicing and serving with cream or custard.
That picture is with custard, obviously, now I am going to try the last little slice with a dollop of cream and a cup of tea to see how that tastes!
For more information about apple varieties and more recipes visit here (there is a meat based one but you can easily use veggie sausages instead, see my veggie friendly toad in the hole recipe here)
Disclosure: We received a voucher from Waitrose to buy the apple pie ingredients, Bonus Boy has a little garden kit to play with – mainly digging muddy holes at the moment frankly – and we have been promised a new apple tree. We planted 5 new fruit trees in the spring when I spotted a ‘bargain’ on line – it wasn’t a bargain as two of them are now quite clearly dead despite receiving the same tender loving care as the other three so I was delighted when Waitrose offered to send us a new tree and I’m looking forward to its arrival; there is something very special about planting a tree. All words and pictures are, as always, my own.