I love a bit of pastry, this is true. There’s not much I’m not willing to either pile on top of, wrap up in or top with a bit of flaky, buttery pastry. Surprisingly, I haven’t been making pastries all that long. In fact, up until a few years ago the thought of making my own pastry left me feeling somewhat the way I do when I’m staring at my tax return and trying to do judicial judgement to the hard work my accountant has done filling in the forms by pretending to try and understand what’s what. My first real encounter with a pastry-maker (person not machine) that I can remember was in the late 90′s here in Canada, at the home of the inspirational Mrs R, who would send us off into the Canadian Summer to pick raspberries, strawberries and the like and then make the most delicious pies from the buckets of sweet, sticky fruit we’d brought home. She made it all look so simple, the way my accountant makes such simple sense of all those numbers floating on the page in front of him. And yet, when I finally built up the courage to give it a go myself (the pastry, not the accounts) I was almost horrified to discover that (a) it was easy and (b) it was fun. Horrified, that is, that I’d spent so many years in shy awe at anyone who claimed to make their own pastry. Perhaps I’ll find the same one day with my taxes, though I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Most the pastries I’ve made over the years have been of a similar variety: shortcrust. I’ve not yet managed to confront the lurking monster that is puff pastry and continue to buy mine frozen, knowing full well that I’m compromising somewhat in flavour and quality but not willing to perform what Ms Glaze makes look like fabulous theatre. However, there is one pastry that I really don’t think I will ever bother to learn the knack of making because, let’s be honest, why would you? Filo pastry is that one pastry that I really think is absolutely essential to buy, freeze and have at hand just in case. In case of what, you might ask? In case of Apple Pie, that’s what:
The process for this was really simple, although the slices would have held their shape better if I’d let the pie cool properly before slicing. But sometimes one is completely overwhelmed by a sheer lack of Pie-Patience and one Must Eat Pie Now.
Start with a box of thawed Filo pastry, unwrapped on a board and covered with a damp tea towel to stop it from drying out.
Peel, core and thinly slice a couple crisp, green apples like granny smith. Put them in a bowl with the juice of half a lemon. Mix this with a couple tablespoons of sugar, a good sprinkle of cinnamon and a pinch of cloves.
Measure out a cup of walnuts, slightly chopped up.
Melt some butter, probably around 50g or so, in a small saucepan.
Grease a small springform pan (I used a 20cm one).
Line the pan with a layer of Filo, brush with butter and repeat with 3 more layers of filo and butter. Now place a layer of apple, then walnuts then filo and butter again and repeat until the pan is full and the ingredients used up, finishing with a pretty layer of apple and some nuts.
Dot with a bit more butter and bake in at 375 for 30 – 35 mins until the pie is bubbling and browned. I burned the apple on the top of mine, so keep and eye and if the apples start to get too crisp, put a layer of foil over the top for protection.
Allow the pie to cool for about 10 mins before loosening the tin. And maybe a good bit longer than I did before slicing.