Prep: 45 mins, plus 30 mins chilling
Cook: 40–50 mins
* 350g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
* 175g hard block margarine, plus extra for greasing
* about 6 tbsp cold water
* 1kg dessert or cooking apples
* juice of 1 small lemon
* 85g sugar, plus 1 tbsp to glaze
* 1 1⁄2 tbsp cornflour
* 1 tbsp milk, to glaze
* special equipment
* 23cm pie tin and a baking sheet
Make and roll out the pastry
Prep: 15 mins, plus 30 mins chilling.
1. Make the pastry (see ingredients and below), wrap it in cling film, and chill for 30 minutes. Remove half the pastry from the cling film.
Key to Success: re-wrap the pastry that you’re not using immediately in cling film so it doesn’t dry out.
2. Flour your work surface and rolling pin. Flatten the pastry.
3. Working from the centre out, roll out the pastry into a circle, about 35cm (14in) across.
Key to Success: Between each rolling, turn the pastry a quarter turn and dust the rolling pin with flour if sticky. Don’t stretch the pastry or turn it over.
Line the pie tin
Prep: 5 mins
1. With floured hands, fold the pastry in half, then in half again, to resemble a fan shape. Place it in the tin with the point in the centre. This will help minimize stretching.
2. Unfold the pastry and ease it into the tin without stretching or pulling. Do not worry about the pastry hanging over the edge, because this will be trimmed later.
Key to success: do not grease the tin before putting in the pastry; it is unnecessary and can cause the pastry to stick.
Make the filling
1. Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 220°C (fan 200°C/425°F/Gas 7). Peel, core, and slice the apples. Toss in lemon juice, then sugar and cornflour.
Key to success: sprinkling the apple slices with lemon juice helps prevent them browning and adds flavour to the pie.
2. Turn the apples into the lined tin, then use a fork to distribute the slices, heaping them up towards the centre. Brush the rim of the pastry with a little milk.
Finish the pie
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 40-50 mins
1. Unwrap the remaining piece of pastry, and as before roll it out, fold it into a fan shape and cover the pie.
2. Press down the edges. Trim the excess. Holding a knife horizontally, tap all around the cut edge of the pie.
Key to success: making shallow cuts around the edge helps to form a good seal.
3. Crimp the edge as shown. Brush the top with milk. Cut a 1cm (1⁄2in) steam hole in the centre.
4. Re-roll the trimmings, cut out decorative shapes, and arrange on top of the pie, leaving the steam hole clear. Brush the shapes with milk and sift sugar over the pie.
5. Put the pie on the baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (fan 160°C/350°F/Gas 4) and bake for 30–35 minutes.
Key to success: the pastry should be pale golden and the filling soft when pierced with a knife.
Making pastry: method
1. Place 350g plain flour in a bowl. Cut 175g hard block margarine into cubes; add to the flour.
2. Using your fingertips, rub the fat and flour together until you have incorporated all the flour.
3. Continue rubbing in, occasionally shaking the bowl to bring any large pieces of fat to the surface.
4. When all the fat has been rubbed in fully, the mixture will look like fine breadcrumbs.
5. Add about six tablespoons of cold water, a spoonful at a time. Mix with a knife between each spoonful.
6. Enough water has been added when the mixture just begins to hold together in a soft mass.
7. Gently gather the pastry together against the side of the bowl and turn it out onto the work surface.
8. Gently shape the pastry and pat it into a rough ball. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Tip: once you’ve mastered the art of pastry-making, you’ll be able to create a great range of quiches, tarts, and pies. Keep ingredients and utensils cool, handle the dough as little as possible, and chill it before use or it will shrink in the oven.
Used for both savoury and sweet tarts and pies (sometimes with sugar added), shortcrust is the most common and versatile type of pastry. For how to roll out pastry and line a pie tin, see above.
More from Mary Berry's Cookery Course: Mary Berry's Cookery Course, published by DK, £17.99 (Paperback edition)