But one of the best fates I believe an apple can have is ending up in a nice apple pie, made with delicious buttery pastry! There's nothing better than rolling out the pastry, loving chopping up the apples and sugaring them up, popping it into the oven, and smelling the delicious, cinnamony goodness waft around the house as it bakes... you open the oven, take out the pie, cut a lovely slice out and--
The bottom is a soggy, mushy, mess. It breaks your heart.
However! This doesn't have to be your pie! There are a few ways to avoid a soggy bottom, and over the next few days, I'll be sharing the benefit of my knowledge with you, starting right now with my most recent adventure: a blind baked bottom crust.
Simple bake the bottom crust separately before assembly, and you'll have gorgeous, crispy crust all the way through!
Pros of Blind Baked Bottom: no soggy bottom, repeatable every time, bottom can be baked in advance and frozen for another time
Cons of Blind Baked Bottom: a little more time consuming, a little fiddly, and you run the risk of an undercooked filling.
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Requires experience with baking shortcrust pastry
About 2 hours
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Makes one 9 inch (22 centimetre) round pie
About 1 pound (455 grammes) shortcrust pastry, premade or shop-bought
1½ pounds (680 grammes) of Granny Smith or Bramley apples, peeled and halved
4 ounces (115 grammes) light brown sugar
Zest of a lemon
Juice of half a lemon
4 tablespoons (60 millilitres) cornflour
1 ounce (30 grammes) butter, soft
2 teaspoons (10 millilitres) ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon (1 millilitre) ground cloves
¼ teaspoon (1 millilitre) grated nutmeg
Eggwash, for assembly, or use flour and milk
Demerara (Turbinado) sugar, for assembly
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Gluten if using shop-bought pastry, eggs, dairy, refined sugar, pectin from apples
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First, make the bottom crust
- Take roughly two-thirds of the pastry and roll out on a floured surface to quarter of an inch (5 millimetres) in thickness.
- Using the rolling pin to support the dough, lift it up and drape into a 9 inch (22 centimetre) pie dish, pressing down gently into the dish. Trim the excess, and then chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
- After chilling, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F, Gas Mk.4). Take the pie dough out of the oven, line tightly with tin foil, fill with a layer of dried beans or rice, and blind bake on the centre shelf for about 20 to 25 minutes. You want it cooked all the way through and dry to the touch, but not browned.
- Once cooked, allow to cool slightly, but leave the oven on for the next step.
- Slice the peeled, halved, and cored apples into quarter inch (5 millimetre) slices, and mix in a mixing bowl with the rest of the filling ingredients.
- Roll the remaining dough out to the same thickness as the base to make the lid. If you want to make a decorative lid, cut the pastry as you need to.
- Brush the baked crust liberally with eggwash, or you can mix some flour into a slurry with milk or water and use that instead, add in the filling, and drape over the lid.
- Firmly press the lid onto the edge of the base crust, then trim off the excess. If your lid is whole and uncut, cut at least one slash in the top to allow for steam. Eggwash the top, or brush with milk, and sprinkle with Demerara sugar.
- Return to the centre shelf of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the crust is a beautiful golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving hot, or allow to cool completely for serving cold.
These will keep in an airtight container for up to three days in the fridge.