I’ve been going a little crazy with the apples. The two young trees in our small city garden (a Bramley, because you have to, and a James Grieve) are bent low with fruit. Friends arrive from the country, or from their own corners of the city, with more bags of apples. The whole house smells of them.
I’ve juiced them and stirred them into cakes and puddings. At night, I let the dog out, turn on the dishwasher, lock up the house and spoon another batch of cooked apples into their muslin hammocks so they can drip drip drip their juice into bowls, to be made into herb jellies in the morning.
Friends arrive with apples.
And twice now, I’ve made this pie. It comes from TheSilver Palate Cookbook, an enormous favourite of mine, picked up on a trip to America in the 80s and now falling apart from decades of love and overuse.
I’m terribly keen on the cosy look of lattice-topped pie, something that would look good cooling on Laura Ingalls’ window sill in Walnut Grove. I could try and tell you how to do it here, but it would go on for ages and we might fall out. What you need is something from YouTube like this (if only for the use of the word ‘cattywampus’ at 8.05). For happiness, try to banish from the kitchen anyone who might be inclined to chip in with ‘You’re doing it wrong!’ at any stage.
Silver Palate Sour-Cream Apple Pie
Making the lattice.
This makes a deep pie with a tender crust - as it cooks, the topping bubbles and melts into caramelised lusciousness under the pretty lattice. Serve it warm or at room temperature with thick cream, clotted cream or good vanilla ice cream.
I’ve metric’d the ingredients here, because we’re not actually in Walnut Grove, and I link here to the method from epicurious. I used a mixture of James Grieve apples and Cox’s Orange Pippins – you don’t really want the fluffiness of Bramleys here. I like to toast the walnuts very lightly in the oven before mixing them into the topping, about 5-6 minutes on an oven tray at 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas 4 should do it.
For the crust:320g plain flour
60g caster sugar
¾ tsp salt
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
90g butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
90g lard, chilled and cut into small cubes
4-6 tbsps chilled apple juice or water
5-7 tart apples
160ml sour cream
75g caster sugar or vanilla sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp plain flour
For the topping:3 tbsps light muscovado sugar
3 tbsps granulated or demerara sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
120g shelled walnuts (see note in introduction), roughly chopped
Filling the pie.