I have been thinking of posting a recipe for an apple pie for very long time, but somehow never got around, as I never managed to decide on the best version to make. Apple pie is one of those mythical concepts very difficult to grasp because everybody knows it but always in a slightly different version. Every household has a favourite recipe, which slightly differs from all the others and, as they are all likely to be very good, it is very difficult to pin down the ultimate one. So, in a sort of enlightenment, I realised there was no point in looking for the perfect apple pie, the one that would make everybody happy and, as usual, when I stopped overcomplicating things, it became clear that the only right choice was MY apple pie, or rather, the apple pie of my childhood.
My mother was used to make this almost every weekend when I was a child, it’s taken from a more traditional Swiss recipe, but totally revisited and optimised along the years, like any great family recipe should, so that it actually doesn’t have a lot in common with the original. It’s an extremely simple recipe, six ingredients in total, but a good deal of my childhood is packed in those six ingredients. This apple pie is my Saturday afternoons when as a child I would sit in the kitchen next to my mum, finishing my weekend homework in a hurry and trying to pinch one or two slices of apples, while she rolled the puff pastry. It’s my Saturday evenings when we would come back from church and the lovely smell of sweet meringues crunching in the oven would still be all around the house and I would help cutting the pie in slices and arranging them nicely on the tray. Mostly making a mess. It’s my mum precision and attention to details, the one that bogged me for years and now I am always trying to reach without actually managing just yet, the method that would make her to cut slices of apples all paper-thin and ALL exactly the same (it still drives me made not being able to do that). It’s my family, because for every special occasion or celebration we would have a different spread of different food, but this simple, almost non descriptive treat, was always present at the table.
I know that many people will raise their eyebrows for the total lack of spices, especially cinnamon, which is always put together with apples, and nothing should stop you from adding some of it to the egg yolk and sugar mix. Of course that would not be MY recipe anymore, but that’s one of the great things about baking and cooking, one can make every recipe his/her own with little changes. And although I also love more complicated recipes for apple pies, the beauty of this lays in the absolute purity of the flavours. The butter from the pastry, the apples, and the eggs comes out and comfort you totally unadulterated. Don’t bother to go and look in the internet for the name of this pie, I tried and could not find anything. I have started to presume that the name too was my mum’s special take on the recipe :).
Have a great 1st of May!
Puff pastry made as per the recipe of the Portuguese custard tarts (Pasteis de nata, 8th of June 2014), 500gr
Large apples, golden or golden delicious are the best for this recipe, in any case not too tart, 3
Large eggs 3
Caster sugar 450gr
Roll the puff pastry to 2-3 mm high, you can roll it into one big pie or 5-6 strips or even more to have smaller pastries. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and prick all over with a fork. Put in the oven at 200°C for about 10 minutes or until pale brown.
In the meantime, peel the apples divide in quarters and cut them by the length in slices as thin as possible. When the pastry is out of the oven, line the apple slices on it. Divide the egg yolks from the white and whisk the yolks with 100 gr of sugar to a fluffy foam. Spoon the egg yolks and sugar mixture on top of the apples and take back to the oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Prepare the meringue by whisking the egg whites to soft peak and slowly add the remaining of the sugar to obtain a stiff glossy meringue. Take the pie off the oven, set the oven on a medium grill and soon the meringue on top of the pies. return the pie to the oven on a high level so that the meringue will crisp up quickly. When the meringue is medium brown reset the oven at about 180-200°C, place the pies on a middle level and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
Take the pie out of the oven, let cool through and then you can enjoy immediately or wait the next day, it will be even more delicious J.