- 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 25g icing sugar
- Sea salt
- 140g cold butter
- 1 medium egg
- 1 tbsp cold water
- 500g crab apples
- 150g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 tbsp corn flour
- 1 lemon
- 1 vanilla pod
Because crab apples are hard, steaming them for a few mins starts the cooking process. This makes sure they cook down in the oven, so you get a soft, fluffy pie filling and a perfectly crisp pastry lid.
1. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Sift in the icing sugar and add a pinch of salt. Chop in the butter. Use your finger tips to rub in the butter so you get fine breadcrumbs (if you have a food processor you can whizz it all up in there).
2. Crack the egg into a small bowl and beat it. Scoop out 1 tbsp and pop in a separate bowl for later. Beat 1 tbsp ice cold water into the remaining egg, then add to the flour and butter mixture. Use a fork to bring the dough together, adding a splash more water if it needs it. Turn the dough out and pat into a smooth round. Wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 mins, or overnight.
3. While the pastry chills, make the pie filling. Quarter the crab apples, discarding the stems and any leaves. Use a small sharp knife to slice out the seeds and cores, being careful not to cut away too much of the apple. Put the crab apples in a steamer basket or large colander. Half fill a pan with boiling water. Rest the steamer basket/colander in the pan and clamp on a lid. Put the pan over a medium heat and steam the crab apples for 5 mins to soften them. Take off the heat and tip into a large bowl.
4. Add the sugar and cornflour to the crab apples. Squeeze in the juice from the lemon. Halve the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds from the pod halves. Add them to the bowl. Give everything a good stir to make sure it's well mixed and the apples are coated in the sugar.
5. Spoon the crab apple pie filling into a 24cm pie plate. Set aside. Heat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4.
6. Dust your work surface with a little flour. Roll out the pastry to make a round slightly larger than the pie plate and as thick as a £1 coin. Brush the edges of the plate with water. Roll the pastry up around the rolling pin and then unroll it over the pie plate. Use a fork to press down on the pastry and seal it to the edges of the dish. Trim off any over hanging pastry - you can use these make decorations for the pie crust.
7. Slash a little cross in the middle of the pastry lid to let out the steam. Brush the pastry with the egg you saved in step 2. Sprinkle it with a little caster sugar. Place the pie plate on a baking tray (to catch any juices that bubble over) and bake for 30 mins or till the pastry is golden brown. Serve the pie warm with cream, custard or ice cream.