Thursday, July 07, 2011

July 1, 2011: Road trip apple pies

We've done a pretty good job of breaking up this gloomy southern winter with weekend getaways. While jetting up to Sydney for some warmth was a real treat, I almost prefer hitting the road with our friends Mike and Jo. We have this rule that we have to stop at every open small-town op shop we pass, we eat and drink and walk and play cards, if we're lucky there's a fireplace. We can never agree on driving music.

Last weekend we set off to the west-northwest. I had a few hours in the lead-up to convert a couple of aging apples into free-form pies to eat on the way. I made a shortcrust pastry based on a Kurma Dasa recipe and free-styled the filling. They look oozy and collapsed when I check on the oven but the pastry held it together as they cooled; I didn't think I'd be blogging them. Michael shoved the pastries into a lunchbox while I panicked about toothbrushes and shoes.

Tired and coming down with a cold, I slept through the last couple hours of daylight. I awoke to quiet roads, a pretty sunset, and the last pie. It was pretty damn good! Worth a dim photo and slightly sappy blog post.

Road trip apple pies
(pastry based on this recipe by Kurma Dasa)

1 1/2 cups plain flour
2 tablespoons castor sugar
pinch of salt
125g butter
1 tablespoon cold water
2 teaspoons white vinegar
3 large apples
juice of half a lemon
pinch of ground star anise
larger pinch of ground ginger
2 tablespoons brown sugar

In a food processor combine the flour, castor sugar and salt. Add the butter in cubes and pulse the mixture until it resembles bread crumbs. Sprinkle over the water and vinegar and process the mixture until it comes together as a moist dough. Turn the dough onto a clean surface, bring it together into a ball with your hands, wrap it in plastic, and store it in the fridge for at least half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with paper. Peel the apples and roughly chop them. Stir through the lemon juice, star anise, ginger and brown sugar.

Divide the dough into quarters. Place a dough-ball between two sheets of plastic wrap and roll it into a rough circle 2-3mm thick. Spoon a quarter of the diced apples onto the pastry, leaving a 1-2cm wide perimeter clear. Fold up the edges and pinch them together so that they form a rough wall round the pie edge, and transfer the pie to the baking tray. Repeat with the remaining pastry and apples. Spoon over any sugary juice that might remain in the bottom of the bowl that held the apples.

Bake the pies until the pastry is firm and golden, 20-30 minutes. Allow them to cool a bit before packing them away to share on the road.


  1. I love those blurry photos because they capture the feeling of being out on a road trip in the evening! I was surprised recently to find how old apples that I wouldn't eat make good stewed apples so I am sure this would be a great way to eat them.

    E would love to stop at every op shop when we are on the road but too often there is not time. Hope to hear more about the road trip.

  2. Thanks Johanna! The photos are a bit different to my usual. I was thinking about stewing the last old apple I have here and will go ahead with it now that I know about your success.