A reliable recipe for one of the most popular desserts of all time!
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7 large green apples (Granny Smiths work well), peeled, cored and sliced thickly
1 vanilla bean, split
Zest of 1 lemon
1 stick cinnamon
1/3 cup light brown sugar (this may need to be increased depending on your apples and personal taste)
50 mL water
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
2 cups plain flour
1 tbsp icing sugar
125 g butter, cubed (must be cold)
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp caster sugar
Preheat oven to 190C. Grease a 24cm pie dish with butter.
Place sliced apple in a large saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add seeds and bean to the apple, along with the lemon zest, cinnamon stick, brown sugar, nutmeg and water.
Cook the apple mixture over low-medium heat with the lid on for 15 - 20 minutes or until apples are soft. The apple should still hold its shape. Remove cinnamon stick and vanilla bean and set aside.
Sift the flour and icing sugar into a large bowl. Add the cubes of cold butter and rub into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the egg yolk and one tablespoon of chilled water to the flour mix and knead through gently until the mixture starts to come together into a ball. Add chilled water, a tablespoon at a time until the pastry properly comes together as a ball.
Turn pastry out onto a floured surface and form into a flat disc. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for half an hour.
Remove the pastry from the fridge. Divide the pastry in two - one piece roughly 1/3 of the pastry, the other 2/3. Roll out the larger piece on a floured surface and use to line the dish.
Fill the pie dish with the apple mixture that should be slightly cooled by this time. Roll out the other portion of pastry on a floured surface and use to top the pie. Trim any excess pastry from the edges.
Using a fork, press the top layer of pastry into the sides to make a seal. Use the fork to lightly prick the top of the pastry in a couple of spots. Sprinkle caster sugar over the top of the pie to form a light layer. Place the pie in the oven and bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until golden.