Cakes & Bakes: Spiced apple & sultana pie

Home-made spiced apple sultana pie | H is for Home

We’re coming to the end of British Pie Week so we’re getting involved again and making a pie.

Sliced ball of shortcrust pastry

At the mere mention of the word ‘pie’ we usually get involved – any excuse! Yes, the saying may go, “As American as apple pie”, but we’re famous for our apples here in Blighty – and have no doubt been using them in pies for centuries.

Peeled, cored and chopped apples

We’ve rustled up a spiced apple & sultana pie for our Cakes & Bakes post… it’s quite a comforting, wintery version of the simple classic.

Saucepan of chopped apples and Muscovado sugar

Crisp, buttery pastry with a soft, warm, cinnamon-infused fruity filling… and finished off with thick, cold cream of course.

Trimmed shortcrust pastry pie base

You might have a bit of pastry left over – if you do, don’t just bin it, use cutters to turn it into shapes or letters to adorn the top.

Home-made spiced apple sultana pie top

The perfect, celebratory Pie Week pie!

Spiced apple & sultana pie
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For the pastry
  1. 240g/8½oz plain flour
  2. 120g/4¼oz cold butter
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 4tbs cold water
For the filling
  1. 4 Bramley apples - peeled, cored & chopped into 2cm chunks
  2. 50g/2oz butter
  3. 50g/2oz sultanas
  4. 75g/2½oz brown or Muscavado sugar
  5. ¼tsp ground cinnamon
  6. 2tbs milk
  7. 2tbs caster sugar
  8.  
  9. Home-made spiced apple & sultana pie ingredients
  10.  
For the pastry
  1. Grease a 9" diameter round pie dish
  2. Put the flour, butter and pinch of salt into a food processor and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs
  3. Add the cold water, a tablespoon at a time, pulsing between each addition until the mixture comes together into a ball
  4. Flatten the ball into a disk and wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for at least half an hour
For the filling
  1. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan before adding the chopped apple
  2. Add the sultanas and brown/Muscavado sugar and cook until the apple is slightly softened but still al dente
  3. Set aside to cool completely while you roll out the pie base
  4. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6
For the pie
  1. Divide the chilled pastry into two, one ⅓ and the other frac23;. Put the ⅓ back into the fridge
  2. Roll out the other piece into a round about ⅓cm thickness and line the dish, carefully pressing it flat cut off the excess around the rim leaving a ½cm overhang
  3. Prick the base with a fork, cover with baking beans (or dried peas like I do) and blind bake for 15 minutes
  4. Remove the pie base from the oven and set aside
  5. Remove the 2nd piece of pastry from the fridge, roll out into a round, again about ½cm
  6. Spoon the apple filling on to the cooled pastry base and cover with the pastry round. Press into the pastry base and trim any excess.
  7. Brush the top with milk, sprinkle with the caster sugar and put back into the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the top turns golden brown
  8. Allow to cool slightly before serving with cream or vanilla ice cream
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Cumin-spiced pumpkin chickpea pies

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Home-made cumin-spiced pumpkin chickpea pies | H is for Home

There were a couple of culinary firsts for me this week.

burying egg with egg shell when making hot water pastry

Firstly, I made a vegetarian hot water pastry, based on one I found in my Pie cookbook.

melting butter and suet in hot water

Instead of using lard, I used a bit of vegetarian suet.

making hot water pastry in a mixer

I’ve never, ever eaten a pork pie (I’ve been vegetarian since the eighties). I had to ask Justin if my pastry was anything like it is meant to be… seeing as he eats this kind of raised pie on a regular basis. In fact he eats pork pie every Thursday without fail – sharing it with Fudge on their walks after an early flea market forage.

rolling hot water pastry in cling film before putting it in the fridge

My other first was cumin-spiced pumpkin & chickpea pies.

lining pie tray with parchment paper

We bought a pumpkin at Halloween so I was looking for a new way of using it.

slicing hot water pastry

I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin pie. Granted, I’ve only had it the once, but it didn’t leave fond memories.

frying off chopped onions an cumin seeds

I much prefer these squash type vegetables savoury rather than sweet.

pumpkin and chickpea pie filling

It certainly makes a good substantial filling for this type of pie – great flavour too with the addition of the very complimentary curry spices.

adding filling to pumpkin and chickpea pies and putting on lids

This recipe makes quite a few, small pies. If like us you’re only likely to eat a few at a time, they can be frozen both before and once cooked.

cooked pumpkin and chickpea pies cooling on a wire rack

They’re the perfect little autumn pies!

Cumin-spiced pumpkin chickpea pies
Yields 15
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For the pastry
  1. 275g/10oz plain flour
  2. 1tsp salt
  3. 1 egg
  4. 60g/2oz butter
  5. 60g/2oz vegetable suet
  6. 110ml/4 fl oz cold water
For the filling
  1. 2tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 large onion
  3. 1tbsp cumin seeds
  4. 1tbs curry powder
  5. 1tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  6. 1 tin chickpeas (180g/6oz net)
  7. 750g/1lb 10½oz pumpkin, cut into ½cm cubes
  8. 2tsp salt
  9. cracked black pepper to taste
  10. 1 bay leaf
  11.  
  12. cumin-spiced pumpkin chickpea pie ingredients
  13.  
For the pastry
  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl
  2. Make a well in the centre and crack in the egg, then use the empty shell to flick a little of the flour over the surface of the egg so it's hidden
  3. Put the water, butter and suet into a small saucepan and set over a medium heat, stirring until everything dissolves and the water is just coming to a boil
  4. Remove from the heat and pour the hot mixture over the flour and egg
  5. Mix continuously with a metal spoon (I used the dough hook and my electric mixer) until the mixture comes together into a ball
  6. Tip on to a lightly floured work surface, knead briefly for about a minute before wrapping it in cling film, forming it into a fat sausage shape as you wrap
  7. Chill in the fridge for 30-45 minutes to firm up before using
For the filling
  1. In a large saucepan over a low heat, soften the chopped onion in the olive oil
  2. Add the cumin seeds and then curry powder and chilli flakes and stir
  3. Drain and rinse the chickpeas under the tap using a strainer before adding to the saucepan
  4. Add the pumpkin, bay leaf, salt and black pepper, combining everything well before putting a lid on the pan and allowing it to cook for about 10 minutes
  5. Once cooked, set aside and allow to cool completely
  6. Cut a number of 1cm strips (2 per pie) of baking parchment to line the pie tin (I used a silicon muffin tray, see my image above). This is to help remove the pies easily once cooked
  7. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4
  8. Remove the pastry dough from the fridge, remove the cling film before slicing into 1cm rounds
  9. Roll out or flatten the rounds and put half of them into the lined pie tins so that there is an overhang
  10. Fill each pastry case with filling right to the top, before using the other pastry rounds to top the pies
  11. Fold the overhanging pastry over the pie lid, crimping the edges to seal
  12. Pierce the centre of each lid to allow steam to escape when cooking
  13. Brush a little beaten egg over each lid
  14. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes
  15. Allow to cool on a wire rack
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Spinach, cheese & onion tart

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Home-made spinach, cheese & onion tart | via @hisforhome

I bought myself a brand new, fluted loose-bottomed tart tin this week and couldn’t wait to use it!

ball of wholemeal shortcrust pastry

I decided to make a spinach, cheese & onion tart from a recipe that I tore out of a Telegraph magazine a few weeks ago.

wholemeal shortcrust pastry flan case

A couple of spoonfuls of English mustard adds a nice piquancy and depth of flavour.

wholemeal shortcrust pastry flan case ready to be blind-baked

We got six, good portions from the tart which can be eaten either hot or cold.

slicing onions and garlic

It’s perfect for a light lunch with a few salad leaves – and can be made well in advance if you’ve got guests coming and don’t want any last-minute stress.

washed fresh spinach

We had it the following night as more substantial evening meal pairing it with paprika-salted potato skins and mixed salad.

eggs, cream and English mustard

There are all kinds of flavour variations possible using this basic method – bacon, chorizo, smoked salmon, goat’s cheese, mushroom…

spinach, cheese &onion tart

Very delicious and very versatile.

Spinach, cheese & onion tart
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For the pastry
  1. 200g plain flour
  2. 100g wholemeal flour
  3. 150g cold butter, cubed
  4. pinch of salt
  5. 3tbs cold water
For the filling
  1. 30g butter
  2. 550g onions, peeled and very finely sliced
  3. 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  4. 450g spinach
  5. 2 whole large eggs, plus 3 egg yolks
  6. 300ml double cream
  7. 2tsp English mustard
  8. 150g mature cheddar, grated
  9.  
  10. cheese soda bread ingredients
For the pastry
  1. Put the flour, butter and pinch of salt into a food processor and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs
  2. Add the cold water, a tablespoon at a time, pulsing between each addition until the mixture comes together into a ball
  3. Shape into a thick disc, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for half an hour
For the filling
  1. Melt the 30g of butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and gently cook the onion and garlic, with a little salt, until slightly golden, then add a good splash of water and cover
  2. Sweat on a low heat until the onions are soft and sloppy - around half an hour - stirring occasionally
  3. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas mark 4 and put a metal baking sheet inside
  4. Roll out the pastry and line a loose-bottomed tart tin 27cm diameter or 20 x 28cm (keep any leftover bits of pastry)
  5. Chill for 20 minutes
  6. Take the lid off the onions, turn up the heat and let the excess moisture bubble off and the onions cook until they are golden and sweet
  7. Wash the spinach and cook in a covered pan with just the water left clinging to it, about 4 minutes over a medium heat, until wilted
  8. Drain in a colander and leave to cool
  9. Line the pastry case with parchment paper, fill with baking beans and blind-bake on the preheated tray for 15 minutes
  10. Remove the paper and beans and cook for a further 7-10 minutes
  11. Remove from the oven and use any leftover raw pastry to patch any cracks
  12. Squeeze the excess moisture out of the spinach, chop roughly, season and add to the onions
  13. Mix the eggs, yolks, cream and mustard and season well
  14. Spread the onion and spinach in the tart case, sprinkle on the cheese and pour on the cream mixture
  15. Put back into the oven, on the baking sheet, for 30 minutes, until set in the middle and golden
  16. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Apple & sultana strudel

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Bowl of home-made apple & sultana strudel with ice cream | H is for Home

Some say life’s too short to stuff a mushroom, I say life’s too short to make home-made filo pastry. I’m more than happy to whizz up a quick batch of puff, shortcrust or hot water pastry – I think it tastes much better than shop bought. Filo, at least to me, is just that little bit too finicky and time-consuming to make from scratch.

Apple & sultana strudel ingredients

Peeled & cored Bramley apples

That’s why I picked up a pre-made pack of filo for my apple & sultana strudel.

Uncooked apple & sultana strudel filling mixture

Cooked apple & sultana strudel filling mixture

Yes, I know that filo (or phyllo) is Greek and apple strudel (or apfelstrudel) is German, but the former is the closest thing to the type of pastry traditionally used to encase the filling. Apparently you should be able to read a newspaper through it, it’s so thin!

Brushing melted butter between sheets of filo pastry

Spooning apple & sultana strudel filling mixture on to filo pastry

The filling is quick to make, I added sultanas to my apples, but you could try adding walnuts, dates or figs instead. The trickiest part is the assembly. Place the pastry onto a clean tea towel or baking parchment before filling and use it to help with rolling.

Uncooked apple & sultana strudel

Cooked apple & sultana strudel

It’s best served hot, and always with cream… or ice cream… or both!

Apple & sultana strudel
Serves 4
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Cook Time
35 min
Cook Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 Bramley apples
  2. 50g/1¾oz sultanas
  3. 30g/1oz soft brown sugar
  4. ½tsp ground cinnamon
  5. 80g/3oz butter
  6. 270g (6 sheets) pre-made filo pastry
  7. 1tbs Demerara sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6 and grease a large oven tray
  2. Peel, core and chop the apples into large cubes
  3. Put the apples into a large saucepan with the sultanas, soft brown sugar, ground cinnamon and 50g/2oz of the butter
  4. Cook over a medium heat for 5-8 minutes, stirring to combine well, until the apple just begins to soften
  5. Set aside to cool
  6. In a small microwaveable bowl, melt the remaining butter (about 5-8 seconds)
  7. Fold the pastry sheets over in half, laying them out onto a clean tea towel or baking parchment
  8. Unfold the pastry sheets, one by one, and brush the top of each sheet with the butter using a pastry brush
  9. Using a slotted spoon to drain off the cooking liquid, place the apple & sultana mixture on the pastry forming a line along the long edge
  10. Sprinkle the rest of the pastry evenly with the Demerara sugar
  11. Using the tea towel/baking parchment as an aid, roll the pastry into a log shape, tucking in the ends so the filling doesn't fall out and place it onto the greased oven tray
  12. Brush the top with melted butter and bake for 30-35 minutes
  13. Serve hot
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Cheese and celery pies

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Home made cheese & celery pies | H is for Home

National Pie Week is going from strength to strength here in the UK. It’s been talked about all over social media and in the traditional media too. Chris Evans and his team have been waxing lyrical about pies they’ve been sent by bakeries from all over the country.

Ingredients to make home made cheese & celery pies | H is for Home

Flour and cubes of butter in a food processor | H is for Home

 Last year for Pie Week I made a lovely butter pie; this year I wanted to keep with the theme of a vegetarian, rustic, humble pie. I turned to my copy of Pie by Genevieve Taylor that we reviewed last year. I found just the recipe – cheese and celery pies – but with a little twist.

Flour and cubes of butter blended in a food processor | H is for Home

Pastry crumbs poured out on to clingfilm | H is for Home

The original recipe is a single pie done in a shallow pie plate. I quite liked the idea of doing little individual hand pulled pies. I used a couple of cling film-wrapped jars in lieu of a pastry dolly.

Pastry wrapped in clingfilm | H is for Home

Veg stock | H is for Home

Pulled pies are usually made using hot water pastry, but I was being lazy and just whizzed up a quick batch of shortcrust pastry. I think it worked just fine, but I’m sure Paul Hollywood wouldn’t approve!

Cooked off onions and celery | H is for Home

Hand pulled pie cases | H is for Home

This recipe made 4 small pies but you can easily scale it up. We had one each so I put the other two in the freezer – pre-baked – so that they can be taken out and baked off the next time we fancy a pie.

Filling pulled pie cases | H is for Home

Making pie tops | H is for Home

There was a little bit of pastry left over – isn’t there always? I quite like rolling it out thinly, slicing it into long thin strips, sprinkling over with cheese and baking for 15 minutes. What do you do with yours?

Glazing pie tops | H is for Home

Sliced home made cheese & celery pies | H is for Home

I’ve already started thinking about what pie I’m going to make next year!

Cheese and celery pies
Yields 4
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for the pastry
  1. 360g/12½oz plain flour
  2. pinch of salt
  3. 180g/6⅓oz cold butter, cubed
  4. 6-8 tbsp cold water
for the filling
  1. 25g/1oz butter
  2. ½tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 medium onion, chopped
  4. ½ head celery, sliced
  5. 125ml/4 fl oz veg stock (or ½ veg stock cube + 125ml boiling water)
  6. 30g/1oz mature cheddar cheese, grated
  7. salt & ground black pepper to taste
  8. a little beaten egg to glaze
for the pastry
  1. Put the flour and salt into a food processor and whiz briefly together to mix
  2. Add the butter cubes and pulse briefly a dozen times or so until you have coarse crumbs
  3. Trickle in the water continuing to pulse until the mixture resembles rough lumps and looks a bit like overcooked and dry scrambled eggs. Add only as much water as you need
  4. Tip the clumped crumbs onto a sheet of cling film and gently squeeze together into a ball without pressing too hard
  5. Wrap & chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before using
for the filling
  1. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan
  2. Add the onions and celery and cook over a medium-low heat for around 10 minutes or until they are just starting to soften
  3. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper and then pour in the stock
  4. Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for around 30 minutes or until the celery is really soft and the stock has virtually all evaporated, stirring every now and then
  5. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely
  6. Once the filling is cold, preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6
to make the pies
  1. Get the pastry out of the fridge, divide into two - ⅓ (for the pie lids) & ⅔ (for the pie cases). Put the smaller piece back into the fridge
  2. Divide the larger piece again into 4 equal pieces, rolling each into a ball
  3. Wrap four small, clean, empty, straight-sided jars with cling film (I used a couple of 90g Lidl Deluxe® french pâté selection jars.
  4. In turn, put each ball of pastry onto a lightly-floured work surface and place a jar on top of the pastry
  5. Sculpt the pastry around the jar, making sure the pastry is an even thickness all around. Make sure the bottom isn't too thick and that there are no holes in the pastry
  6. Once you've done them all, put the pie bases in the fridge for about 20 minutes
  7. Roll out the reserved ⅓ of pastry and, using a round cutter (slightly larger in circumference to the jar) cut out 4 circles. Make a hole in the centre of each and chill in the fridge.
  8. Remove the pastry cases from the fridge and carefully work the jars out of the cases. If they don't come away easily, pour hot water into each jam jar to soften the pastry slightly to release them
  9. Fill the pastry cases ⅔ of the way up with the cooked celery mixture and top each with a large pinch of grated cheese before pressing down gently and topping with a little more cheese
  10. Remove the pastry lids from the fridge, and one by one brush the outer circumference with a little water, lay on the filled case and crimp the edges to seal
  11. Brush each top with a little beaten egg to glaze
  12. Put the pies on a baking tray and cook for 35-40 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp & browned on top and sides
  13. Allow to cool on a wire rack before devouring! :-)
Adapted from Pie by Genevieve Taylor
Adapted from Pie by Genevieve Taylor
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Jam Roly Poly

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Home-made jam roly poly & custard | H is for Home

We do love a hearty pudding on a cold winter’s day – and what could be better than jam roly poly?

Jam roly poly ingredients

I have to confess that I needed two attempts to perfect this week’s bake.

Jam roly poly pastry mixture in food processor

Roly Poly ‘Mark I’ was a disaster. There wasn’t enough jam to start with. Also I rolled up the pastry way too tightly. Last and certainly least, I boiled it. A method I’d read in a few recipes. It was so bad that Justin spat it out declaring it was the worst thing I’d ever made! Ever!!

Rolling out jam roly poly pastry mixture

I’m pleased to report that Roly Poly ‘Mark II’ was a triumph!

Adding jam to the rolled out roly poly pastry

 The ingredients were blended gently, then rolled not too tight… with plenty of filling.

Rolling up jam roly poly

Sugar was sprinkled over the surface (another omission in the earlier version).

Rolled up jam roly poly with top brushed with milk and sprinkled with granulated sugar

And finally it was baked to a wonderful golden brown, the hot jam oozing through cracks.

Freshly baked jam roly poly

After allowing to cool slightly, it was devoured – with lashings of custard of course!

Bowl of jam roly poly and custard | @hisforhome

And the official verdict from the chief taster? “Superb – I could eat that all over again!”

Jam roly poly
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 300g/10½oz self raising flour
  2. 75g/2½oz (vegetarian) suet
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 180ml/6fl oz cold water
  5. 4 tbs fruit jam or jelly (raspberry, strawberry etc. I used a jar own my home made blackberry jelly)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. In a large bowl or food processor mix the flour, suet and salt
  3. Add the cold water and combine to form a stiff dough
  4. Dust a work surface with flour and roll out the dough into a rectangle
  5. Liberally spread the jam leaving a 1cm gap along each edge
  6. Roll up along the short side and brush the long edge (and ends if desired) with milk to seal
  7. Grease a large baking tray and put the roly poly on it, putting the join at the the bottom
  8. Brush the top with milk and sprinkle with a little granulated sugar
  9. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes
  10. Allow to cool slightly on a wire rack before serving with custard
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/