It's almost Christmas and that means Christmas pie time! This Christmas Apple Pie is decorated with festive baubles and combines a classic apple pie with the festive season in the most delicious way. If you've ever wanted to try decorative pies, this is a great one to start on!
You can fill this Christmas pie with any fruit you like. I used apples because I developed this recipe for the new Bailey's Apple Pie but any fruit in season will work! Try whatever stonefruit or berries are plentiful at the time. I saw this decorative Christmas pie idea on BatterednBaked's Instagram and loved the idea of adding baubles on top of a pie. While decorative pies may seem intimidating at first all you need are these tips and a good pastry recipe below and some Christmas bauble cookie cutters. And if it all seems too much pastry talk, use a frozen pastry from the shops!
13 Tips for Making Decorative Pie Pastry!
1 - This pastry recipe below is a dream pastry for decorative pies. It rolls out easily and rerolls well two or three times. It also tastes deliciously buttery!
2 - I used Kialla cake flour for this pastry as it has a lower protein content which means that it rolls easier and doesn't require as much resting. If you want to make your own cake flour at home, for every cup of flour, replace 2 tablespoons plain all purpose flour with cornflour/fine cornstarch and whisk well.
The ideal pastry consistency
3- Like with all pastry and cake recipes, the flour can vary because each flour is different with different protein levels. Get to know the texture of the pastry that you want - you don't want it dry so that it can't form a cohesive mixture or has cracks in it but you don't want it sticky. The pastry shouldn't bunch together into a ball in the food processor and it should just start to come together. Knead it to form a cohesive mixture on a benchtop and sprinkle a few drops of water if needed.
4 - Make sure to cube your butter beforehand and keep it cold and use ice water, not room temperature water. Pastry is ALL about keeping everything cool before baking and the fridge is your best friend.
5 - You can make the pastry a day ahead and keep it in the fridge. Depending on the ambient temperature of your kitchen you will need to take it out of the fridge and rest it for 5-10 minutes to make it easier to roll.
6 - I always roll buttery pastry between two sheets of parchment. Buttery pastries can tend to stick to the benchtop otherwise.
7 - Some pies are made with not blind baking the base while with others you don't bake the base beforehand. I prefer to bake the base if I have time so that the base of the pie is cooked through, otherwise it doesn't necessarily cook enough (for my liking anyway). You do whatever suits you my loves :)
8 - Resting your pastry in the fridge or freezer prevents shrinkage of pastry once baked. You will do this twice in this recipe, once when you roll out the base and once when you roll out the top.
9 - When blind baking your pie base, dock the pastry with a fork and spray a sheet of foil with non stick oil spray and press it down gently on the pie base. Weight down the foil with pie weights. I use ceramic pie weights as they can be easily reused again and again. You can also use dried beans or raw rice to weigh it down (these too can be saved and reused again).
10 - This makes more pastry than you need but with pies, having more pastry helps make it easier to roll and fill the pie and decorate it. I usually label and freeze leftover pastry or just roll it up and fill it with spinach and cheese or a pizza type filling of salami, sauce and cheese and bake it as a turnover for lunch.
11 - When it comes to cutting out the pastry for the bauble decorations, it's easier to work with chilled pastry. As this pastry has a lot of butter, if the rolled out pastry starts to get too warm or floppy pop it back in the fridge for 5-10 minutes. That will make it easier to cut out the patterns and place it.
Placing the baubles on parchment so you can envisage the end result easier
12 - I also like to place the patterns on a parchment lined round tray before putting them on the actual pie. This makes it easier to see what it will look like and move things around. You can also easily place the tray in the fridge to firm things up.
13 - Like all pastries, once baked it is best served warm :)
With Christmas and the new year coming up I have some slight reservations for 2022 as demonstrated by the meme above. I was talking to my friend Soraya about the new year and she suggested that I see a clairvoyant that she sees once every 1-2 years. She told me about how she had picked all of these unusual circumstances in her life. They seemed odd and unlikely to happen at the time but when the time came about they happened like scheduled.
"She's awesome and you can either see her in person or do readings by Zoom," said Soraya. We talked about there are a lot of fake clairvoyants that give very generic platitudes and can read people's reactions and give them readings based on that (and I've certainly had my share). For example they say, "You've lost someone in your life" or "You're going through a difficult situation" (aren't we all?) while others google the person they're reading beforehand. Soraya who has a distinctive full name told me that she booked under a fake name and email address and her phone number doesn't come up under any searches. I got so excited to see if she could perhaps contact my beloved Mochi.
Then she mentioned something, "Oh she used to work in PR (public relations)".
"Wow what's her name?" I asked.
She told me her name and it sounded familiar. Then I looked it up in my email and I had corresponded with her quite a few times over the years. And then suddenly the urge to get a reading from her dissipated immediately as I was worried that she might recognise me and then know all of my secrets! I mean doctors have a code of silence but psychics don't. So I guess 2022 is going to be a bit of a surprise for me!
So tell me Dear Reader, what do you think 2022 will be like? And would you see a clairvoyant if they knew you?
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
Christmas Apple Pie
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by 1 readers
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 45 minutes plus resting time
Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- 435g/15ozs cake flour
- 2.5 tablespoons caster or superfine sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 265g/9.4ozs butter, cold and cubed
- 7-8 tablespoons ice water
- 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
- 750g/26.5ozs. apples
- 150g/5ozs. caster or superfine sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons cornflour/fine cornstarch
Step 1 - Place the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and process to a fine sandy texture. Add 6 tablespoons of water and pulse to just combine. Add an extra tablespoon of water if needed, use it sparingly as needed for it to start to come together but it shouldn't ball up now. Then knead on a benchtop to form a cohesive dough adding a few drops of water if you need it - you don't want it dry or cracked but you don't want it sticky. Divide in two equal parts and cover in cling film and refrigerate for an hour.
Step 2 - Peel, core and chop the apples and toss with sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon and place in a saucepan and cook for 10 minutes until starting to get soft and juices are released. This step can be done ahead of time (I usually do this a day ahead).
Step 3 - Spray a large pie tin with non stick oil spray and roll out one half of the pastry and place on the pie tin. Dock with a fork and place in the fridge for 15-30 minutes. Oil a sheet of foil and place on top of the pastry and use pastry weights to weigh down the foil. Bake for 20 minutes and then carefully remove the foil and bake for 5 minutes. Your pie base is ready to use. Stir in cornflour into the juice and spoon the cooled pie filling and juice into the base.
Step 4 - While it is in the fridge in step 2 you can get on with making the top. Roll out the other half of pastry and trim to fit on top of the pie and crimp the edges if you like. With the remaining pastry rolled out you are going to cut out baubles using bauble cookie cutters. Don't roll this pastry too thickly as the pie already has a layer of pastry already. Also it helps if you refrigerate your pastry for 5-10 minutes before you cut it out. Dust your cookie cutters in flour and cut out baubles. Then use a pizza cutter to cut thin strips as "string" and decorate them however you like. I used small stars and made swirls and made tiny balls by rolling up the pastry in my hand. Rest in the fridge for 15-30 minutes and then brush lightly with egg wash. Bake at 190C/374F for 35 minutes or until the top is golden.
I was a bit heavy handed with the eggwash, I'd recommend a lighter touch