My lack of bloggin’ is disgraceful. I was down with brief cold and then on holidays. So no sympathy necessary as I was in Italy for a week! One of my key phrases was senza formaggio! 🙂
I have returned in perfect time for Irish Apple season! First day back and my friend who recently moved to the countryside brought me beautiful yellow cooking apples from her garden. Apple Pie or Apple Tart it is! I have made it with green tart Granny Smiths and I made it last year with Braeburn apples from my sisters garden. Every time the apples have been different! Cooking apples tend to be tarter and more firm. Depending on your variety of apple you should adjust the sugar levels. If you are using a eating apple maybe reduce the sugar by a dessertspoon or so.
The spelt gives the pastry a depth of flavour, a little nutty. Spelt’s gluten is a little more brittle which makes it easier to digest. That brittle gluten is the reason I balance it some strong white flour so that the dough can be handled well and rolled out nice and thin.
The wonderful Vegan Pie in the Sky book by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero was a good source of tips when I was perfecting this recipe. Esp. the apple cyder vinegar to stop the dough becoming tough when working with it!
You will need a few bowls, measures, a 20cm/7.5inch pie/ tart dish and tinfoil.
It is Armadillo Apple Pie or Armoured Irish Apple Tart as the sugar coating gives it a crunchy crust!
- Half a teaspoon of sea salt
- One and a half cups of wholemeal spelt flour
- One cup of strong white flour
- Two dessert spoons of rapadura sugar
- Six spoons of organic coconut oil
- Three spoons of olive oil
- 6-12 dessert spoons of chilled water
- One dessertspoonful of apple cyder vinegar
Put the dry ingredients into a bowl and stir them together.
In another bowl mix your coconut oil and olive oil. Add the oils into the dry stuff. Rub the oil into the dry ingredients. The mixture should start to have a mealy pebbly look.
Grab your chilled water and put FOUR dessert spoons of it into a bowl and add your one dessertspoonful of apple cyder vinegar. By the dessertspoonful drizzle the mix over the floury ingredients. Mix each time. Another two dessert spoons of iced water will definitely be needed. Start pressing the mixture together to form your dough. If you end up having to add another six spoons you may have been over generous with the flour or too scant on the oil! The more water the more steam created when it is evaporating off in the oven. So be extra sure not to forget to prick your base to allow the steam out!
Wrap the dough and stick it into the fridge!
- Five or Six peeled and cored apples, sliced thinly
- One generous third of a cup of rapadura/turbinado/ sucucant sugar
- Two or three dessert spoons of more rapadura sugar
- One dessertspoonful of cornstarch
- Two dessert spoons of wholemeal spelt flour
- One teaspoon of cinnamon
- Half a teaspoon of vanilla powder/ one teaspoon of extract
- One teaspoon of sunflower oil suitable for heating
- Four drops of food grade lemon oil or the zest of one unwaxed lemon
- Two dessert spoons of lemon juice
- Optional: One large dessertspoonful of chopped creamed coconut
Peel, core and slice your apples as evenly as possible and set to one side.
At this stage I start preheating my oven to 200C/ 380F as it takes ages to heat up!
Mix the dry ingredients. In another bowl mix the wet ingredients. Add the oil lemon mix to the dry and stir together. For an extra creaminess add the creamed coconut. Rub the coconut into the mix.
Now toss the apples in the mixture so they are all coated. If using an eating apple be aware sometimes they can be a bit more crumbly and delicate, so handle with care. I cover the bowl with a plate and stick it in the fridge.
- One teaspoon of vanilla powder or a generous spoon of extract
- Two dessertspoonful of rapadura/ caster sugar
- Two dessertspoonful of cold water
This is to coat the surface of the tart just before you put it in the oven
Putting the Pie/ Tart (“Pitart?”) Together
So you make your dough first and pop it in the fridge. Then make up the filling and put in the fridge if the weather is warm. You can make the topping then too if you like.
Take your chilled dough out of the fridge. Cut it so the lump for the topping is every so slightly bigger than the part for the base. Put the dough for the top back in the fridge.
Roll out your base on a clean surface. Check it is the right size by placing your greased 20cm/7.5inch tart/pie dish over it. It should be a little bigger than it so there is enough dough to go up the sides of the dish when pressed in. Roll the dough onto your rolling-pin and unfurl over your dish. Press the dough in, if it is a little uneven at the sides- don’t freak out, you can patch with bits that go over the edge. If there is not enough steal some of the dough set aside for the top and patch it with that!
Prick the base seven or eight times with a fork.
Start Filling! I start in the middle and work my way out in a circle. Overlaying the apple slices. I keep the odd little bits of apple for laying on top, try to spread the gooey filling evenly over the top. It may seem like there is a little too much, but it will shrink as it cooks.
Cover it up, pop into the fridge and take out the dough for the top.
The Roof! Roll out the dough for the top layer. It should be a little thinner and bigger than the base. This is so it will cover the apples and there is enough to crimp the dough where it meets the base. Gently use your rolling-pin to lift it again. Tuck the edges into the pitart and crimp/ press the edges together so the apples cannot escape! Put five slits into the top so all the steam can escape. I had a tiny bit of dough left so I stuck on a badly shaped heart! darn I should have made an apple shape.
Pour your prepared vanilla-y topping mixture over the top and stick into the middle of your preheated oven.
After fifteen to twenty minutes turn the heat down to 180C / 350F. I find it is usually starting to brown at this stage. If not give it another few minutes. Do not open the oven to check. Use a torch if you do not have an oven light see what is happening. I have used torches, bike lights and currently its a radio with a light on it that doubles as my oven spy.
Once browning cover it with a loose tinfoil dome, do NOT tuck all the sides. I push two points under, just to hold it in place. The pie/ tart needs to breath, the tinfoil tent is to stop the pastry burning.
Bake the pie/tart for a total of 50mins, it may even take 60min in a non fan oven. It takes this long as there is no blind baking and a lot of filling.
Take out and leave it too cool for 30minutes. I know I know after all that you have to wait again. The insides need to cool, if you cut it straight away it could be all runny.
I will take a photo again tomorrow as the light is so awful the pie looks weird!
Hope you like this mash of pie and tart. It is sweet and caramel-y and has filled my flat with smells that remind me of my Mum and Nana. Just need to get some vegan vanilla ice-cream to have it with tomorrow! 🙂