This is a fabulous little recipe that comes from
bakingmad.com (don’t worry – I’ve got permission to reproduce it!) – check out
their site for more great ideas, including some lovely Valentine’s Day recipes. In
this pie, rich sausage meat and streaky bacon is combined with the delicious
sweetness of baked apple, and crisp golden pastry tops the whole thing off.
It’s marvellous hot or cold, and although I thought it was scrumptious with
salad and fried potatoes, you could also make it part of a picnic spread,
perhaps with some homemade coleslaw. One final thing – try not to be put off by
the idea of making your own pastry. It’s one of those things that sounds much
scarier and more complicated than it is! All you need to remember is that you
should handle it as little as possible, to keep it nice and cold, so that the
butter doesn’t melt.
Serves 8 –
although since there are only two of us in my house, I did halve the
quantities, which gave us enough for dinner and lunch the next day.
First of all you need to make the pastry – start this a
good few hours in advance, since the pastry needs to rest in the fridge for a
little while. Weigh out the butter and chop into small cubes, then
pop it in a large bowl with the flour and salt. Mix the water with the lemon
juice and pour into the bowl, then use a round-tipped knife (a table knife will
probably be fine) to ‘chop’ through the mixture until it’s roughly combined –
remember that this isn’t like making a cake, where you need a smooth lump-free
mixture, all you need at this point is for the pastry to come together.
Next, sprinkle flour on a clean flat surface. Tip the
dough out and quickly shape it into a rectangular brick (it’s okay to use your
hands at this point). Roll it out into a rectangle – you’ll notice that there are
still quite large pieces of butter visible, but don’t worry, because these will
disappear as you go on. Looking at the rectangle lengthways, fold one side in
and then the other on top, so that you’ve divided the rectangle into thirds.
Sprinkle with more flour and roll out again, then repeat three times. By this
point, you should have a pliable dough that’s even in colour. Sprinkle with
more flour, then carefully fold it up, wrap in clingfilm and pop in the fridge
for a couple of hours.
When you’re ready to finish off, take the pastry out of
the fridge to warm slightly. Start the filling by finely dicing the onion and
the streaky bacon, and frying until golden and slightly crispy. In a bowl, mix
with the sausage meat (no need to cook this as it will bake in the oven –
frying the onion and the bacon is mainly to add flavour), the chopped sage, and
the mustard, and season well. Leave it on one side for a little while until the
whole mixture is completely cool.
Preheat the oven to 210˚C (190˚C fan). Unfold the pastry
and spread it out on a floured surface. Roll it out a bit more if it’s not big
enough – you need it to be about 3mm thick, and big enough to put the filling
at one end and then roll up so it’s completely covered. Use a damp pastry brush
to seal the edges tightly, and place it on a baking tray so that the seam is
underneath. Beat the egg in a small dish and then brush the top of the pie with
it, to give a nice shiny crust, and then finally use a sharp knife to slash the
top diagonally (as in the picture).
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then turn the heat down
to 190˚C (170˚C fan) and bake for a further 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it
towards the end and cover with a bit of tinfoil if you think the top is in
danger of going too brown. I’d suggest serving with some fried potatoes and a
bit of salad, so if you want to do this, once the pie is in the oven, peel the
potatoes and cut into slices about 5mm thick. Parboil in salted water for five
minutes or so, and then drain and put to one side. When the pie’s got about 15
minutes left to go, fry the potatoes at a high heat in a splash of vegetable
oil and a bit of lard, to get them really crispy. Sprinkle with salt and then
serve up with a slice of pie, some green salad and a bit of chutney –