Apple Pie

I can’t think of anything more autumnal than a lovely apple pie - rustic pastry draped over cinnamon-spiced apples is just the ultimate treat. Serve with homemade custard, and let the world go by...

Serves 6 • Prep 30’ • Resting 1h • Oven 50’ • A little effort

For the pastry:
100g icing sugar
50g ground almonds
150g cold butter

1 vanilla pod

1 egg

225g flour

For the filling:
5 apples, Cox or Granny Smith (about 500g)
1 lemon

90g brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1⁄4 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp flour

1 egg yolk, beaten

1 tbsp sugar

Put the icing sugar and almonds into a bowl. Cut the butter into small chunks and add to the sugar and almonds. Mix with the kneading attachment of your electric whisk until the butter starts breaking down. Slice open the vanilla pod, carve out the vanilla seeds and add with the egg to the almonds. Whisk again, then gradually add the flour until you get a rough dough.

Now use your hands and quickly knead into an even dough, form into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. The dough will be quite sticky at this stage, but it will firm up in the fridge.

Once the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 160°C fan. Peel the apples, core, cut into slices and cut each slice in half – so that you end up with apple chunks in the size of about 3cm. Put the apples in a bowl, squeeze the juice of one lemon over them, add the sugar, cinnamon, ginger and flour and set aside.

Cut the dough in half – one part slightly bigger than the other. Roll out the bigger half on a floured surface. Put into a buttered and floured 23cm pie dish. Put the apples on top of the dough. Then roll out the second piece 
of dough and fold over the apples.

Press down the edges and trim o any excess dough with a knife. Make 3 slits into the lid of the pie to let the steam out while the pie is baking.

If you want to, make leaf shapes out of the remaining excess dough. Brush the pie with the beaten egg yolk and stick the leaves onto the pie,

then brush the leaves with egg yolk. Sprinkle the pie with some caster sugar and bake for 50 minutes.

Fish Pie

For most of my English friends, this dish brings up memories of school dinners, where fish pie was one of the staples. I’ve revamped this true British classic with a dash of cheeky white wine and fragrant tarragon. Really simple to make, this baked dish is ideal for a mid-week supper. Don’t worry if you can’t find any smoked fish, you can use any kind of fish you like,
 and even throw in some prawns if you feel like it.

Serves 6-8 • Prep 45’ • Oven 30’ • A little effort

For the mash:
1kg potatoes

50g butter + some more for brushing
100ml milk

2 tbsp crème fraiche

For the filling:
2 leeks (300g)

1 shallot or small onion
1 garlic clove

50g butter

3 tbsp flour

400ml milk

150ml white wine
100g frozen peas

2 handfuls fresh tarragon

300g smoked haddock
300g salmon fillet
100g grated cheese (cheddar or gruyere)
salt and pepper
1 lemon, to serve

Peel the potatoes and cut into dice. Cook in boiling salted water until cooked through. Drain, add the butter, milk and crème fraiche and work into a nice smooth mash. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and set aside.

Trim the leeks and cut into fine rings. Chop the shallot or onion and garlic. Melt the butter in a frying pan and fry the leeks, shallot and garlic for a few minutes until soft but not brown.

Stir in the flour and cook for another minute, then add half the milk and stir on a medium heat. Once the milk thickens, add the rest of the milk and the wine, stir and let the liquid bubble up and thicken for a couple of minutes. Take off the hob and season with salt and pepper, add the peas and tarragon.

Preheat the oven to 200°C fan.

Cut the fish into small chunks and put in the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Pour over the leek sauce and mix with the fish. Sprinkle the cheese over the fish sauce, then cover with mashed potatoes. You can make little patterns into the top by running a fork through the mash.

Melt a little butter and brush over the mashed potato layer.

Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges and a green salad such as lamb’s lettuce.

Steak and Ale Pie

If you ask me, this is the mother of all pies! Succulent chunks of tender beef snuggled in a hearty beer- based sauce, topped with flaky puff pastry – you’re in for a treat! It does take some time to prepare, that’s why I like to make this pie on a weekend, so that the filling can stew away whilst I read the papers and potter around the flat.

Serves 6 • Prep 30’ • Cooking 1h30’-2h • Oven 30’ • A little effort

5 tbsp sunflower oil
200g smoked bacon lardons

2 onions

2 garlic cloves
850g braising or stewing steak
500ml ale

500ml beef stock

1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 bay leaves

4 sprigs of thyme
250g carrots

2 tbsp cornflour
250g mushrooms
500g ready-rolled puff pastry

1 egg yolk
salt and pepper

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy-bottomed casserole dish. Finely chop the onions and gently fry with the bacon for 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Crush the garlic, add to the onions and fry for another minute. Take out of the casserole dish and set aside.

Meanwhile cut the steak into rough 2.5cm cubes and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the casserole dish and fry the steak in batches until well browned over.

When the beef has browned, add the bacon and onions. Pour the ale into it. Bring to the boil and stir so that all the sediment from the bottom of the pan comes off.

Peel the carrots and cut into slices. Add the beef stock, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, bay leaves, thyme sprigs and carrots. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 1 1⁄2 to 2 hours until the beef is tender. Take out the bay leaves and the thyme sprigs, season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Mix the cornflour with 4 tablespoons of sauce, add to the beef stew and cook for a further 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper and leave to cool while preparing the mushrooms.

Clean the mushrooms and cut into quarters. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes until golden, add to the meat.

Transfer the meat into a 1.2 litre pie dish or ceramic oven dish. Cover the dish with the puff pastry. If there is excess pastry which overlaps, cut it o and make little leaf shapes with it. Brush the pastry with beaten egg yolk and stick the leaves onto it, then brush the leaves with some more egg. Cut a hole into the lid of the pie to let the steam out while the pie is baking.

Bake the pie for 30 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Serve with a green salad and a pint of ale.

Recipes from the book Anne’s Kitchen, Editions Schortgen : http://anneskitchen.co.uk/the-book/