Last week I almost bought a flat.
The whole thing was a whirlwind. It started as a ‘let’s just check out this open house and talk to an agent about the share to buy scheme’ and then rapidly turned into fast filing of tax returns, crash courses in mortgages and talks with financial advisors. This was all in the space of eight days!
After catching our breath for a second, sitting down and calculating our finances on paper (well excel, it’s 2017 after all!) instead of hastily approximated sums in my head whilst simultaneously filling out forms and printing reams of bank statements, we realised this wasn’t our flat. It wasn’t a good financial investment for us, it wasn’t the right time.
After all the excitement of those 8 days I feel utterly deflated. I’m not sure how much of it is to do with saying no to that specific flat (with it’s separate laundry room and whole apartment underfloor heating) and how much of it was wanting to cross something off the dreaded ‘ADULT TO DO LIST’. It’s hard not to feel the pressure of what you are meant to have achieved now I am in my 30s, even though the rational part of my brain knows that I am exactly where I need to be and bloody love the life and freedom I have now. That these are some of the best days of my life full of fun, adventures and few responsibilities.
So, until my dream home with it’s white wall (ugh! So. Much. Beige. Here.) becomes mine I will comfort myself with the homeliest of desserts. The apple pie.
Maybe I should be a little easier on myself, surely recognising and avoiding bad investments is the definition of being an ADULT. Maybe I’m not doing as poorly as the irrational part of my brain thinks.
This is the only apple pie recipe I will ever use again. The combination of spices has that wonderful autumnal scent, similar to the childhood memories I have of McDonalds apple pie (before you take a bite, burn the roof of your mouth and realise it doesn’t actual taste of anything). The real magic of this recipe is that by leaving the fruit to macerate overnight (where the sugar pulls the juice out of the fruit) and then making that juice into a syrup you accentuate the flavour of the fruit.
If you liked my blog, you can also find me on:
You can subscribe to BAKE via email by following this link
Recipe adapted from Pies and Thighs Serves 8 Time 2+ hours plus overnight
This recipe from Pies and Thighs is one of the best things I have ever baked. Those girls are geniuses. I wish I had had time to try it in person whilst I was in New York but the queue out the door didn't fit our schedule. But it is a testament to what brilliant bakers they are! When it comes to pastry I am sure that homemade is far superior to the store bought, but I have to admit that it can be a little more effort than I am willing to go to when I am on a time crunch with people coming over imminently. Maybe that will change when I have a dishwasher to take care of all the extra washing up it creates. When buying shortcrust pastry it’s always worth buying the blocks and rolling it to size as you can then make it a little thicker than the prerolled variety.
500g shortcrust pastry block
1.5kg bramley apples, peeled, cored and sliced.
30g salted butter
100g light brown sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
2 tbsp plain flour, plus extra for dusting
Few tablespoons of milk, or a beaten egg
- The night before you are baking the pie combine the apples, butter, sugar, lemon juice, spices and flour in a large sealable sandwich bag, pressing out as much of the air as you can as you close it. Give the bag a good shake to combine everything thoroughly then allow to macerate overnight.
- Drain liquid from the apples into a saucepan and simmer over a medium high heat, stirring consistently until the liquid has reduced by half and thickened. Stir through the apples and allow to cool.
- Whilst the fruit is cooling to room temperature, preheat the oven to 175C (155C Fan) and grease and flour your pie dish. Roll out half the dough to slightly bigger than the size of your pie dish. Carefully lay the pastry over the dish and cut round the excess so it only just hangs over the lip of the dish. Reserve any excess pastry for the design on the top. Roll out the second half of the pastry into a slightly smaller circle than before. Tip the cooled fruit into the pie dish and top with the second piece of pastry. Fold the excess bottom pastry up over the lid of the pastry and use your fingers to crimp the edges (watch this video from the 3.45 minute mark for the method).
- Using a sharp knife cut a few steam vents in the top of the pie, and attach any pastry decorations you like to the top. Brush with beaten egg or milk and place in the oven for an hour and 30-40 minutes.
- Allow to cool slightly before serving.