We have this lovely elderly neighbour who has apple trees in his garden. He regularly brings ’round a bag full of apples for us, since he asked me whether my Mum bakes, to which I politely replied with, “yes, she does sometimes”. The truth is, she doesn’t really bake all that much any more. I love baking but haven’t made a fruit pie or crumble since I was in secondary school, probably over ten years ago!
So he brought a bag of apples yesterday, that fell off the tree (may I remind you that it’s January, in England!) and I felt awful that we never got around to using any of the last ones he brought so I decided to make an apple pie for him and his wife. I didn’t want him to think that we didn’t want the apples, though, so I made a load of mini apple pies and crumbles, some for our house and some for theirs.
I completely forgot how to make apple pie pastry and my step-dad, who is a chef, told me that the recipe is just the same as for crumble, but with a little water – so that’s what I did. Including the brown sugar which is apparently not typical in shortcrust pastry. I softened the apples he’d brought, along with two red Gala apples and two Bramley apples and some soft light brown sugar in the microwave (step-dad’s tip) and then sprinkled a little ground cinnamon in, halved the mixture and mixed sultanas into one half and blackberries into the other.
Now, I’m not a fan of fruit pie, unless it’s cherry pie, which I adore, and I’m especially not fond of apple pies, but I have to say that I actually quite enjoyed it. The only criticism was that I overworked the pastry a little and it was slightly short and crisp.
I took the pies to their house this morning and he was so thankful and couldn’t believe my thoughtfulness. That in itself made it worth my while!
It doesn’t cost much to be kind, does it?