With free apples at selected Farmers’ Markets from the 8th to the 16th of March (depending on the venue), Bord Bia and the Irish Apple Growers Association are looking for Ireland’s best apple pie in celebration of World Pi (pie) Day!
The world over, the occasion is celebrated on March 14th (3.14). Einstein was coincidentally born on the same day, which means all the more reason to celebrate and especially so if you’re an academic. Pi, for those dreamers in maths class, is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.
The apples are free…but there’s a catch! You have to bake a pie with the apples and give it to someone. And if you’d like to win a weekend away for two at Ballyknocken House & Cookery School,, Tweet or Instagram a picture of your pie using the hashtag #IrishApplePieChallenge
The competition closes on the 19th March and the winner will be notified on the 22nd March. The judges decision is final (see the terms and conditions).
Recent Bord Bia research show that four in five Irish bakers are female (82%). 53% are baking at least once a week and 30% monthly. Incidences of home-baking increase as we near the weekend, peaking on Saturday afternoon. 14% follow recipes that have been passed down through the generations, and those are the apple pie recipes we’d really like to see!
For foodies, baking with Bramley’s is the surest way to savour every piece of Pi. Bramley’s are one-of-a-kind apples and the only type used in cooking nowadays, with that unique fluffy texture. Ireland grows 1/3 of the world’s Bramley apples, and has been growing Bramley’s for more than 200 years.
Why don’t you have a go yourself on March the 14th? Here’s a recipe to get you started:
225g plain flour, extra for dusting
2 tbsp icing sugar
100g butter, diced and chilled
2 large egg yolks
2-3 tbps ice-cold water
900g Bramley cooking apples
100g caster sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Good pinch ground cloves/4 whole cloves
1 tbsp milk
To make the pastry: Sift the flour and icing sugar into a bowl. Using a round-bladed knife or the tips of your fingers, work in the butter and then mix in the egg yolks. Add the ice-cold water until the dough just comes together. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5). Lightly dust the work surface with flour.
Divide the pastry into 2 portions, one slightly larger than the other, then roll out the larger piece until it is about 30cm in diameter. Use to line a 20cm pie dish or a 23cm flat plate, gently pressing into the corners. Trim the edges with a knife and reserve the excess for decorating. Place back in the fridge to chill while you prepare the apples.
Peel, core and slice the apples. Place in a large bowl with all but 1 tablespoon of the caster sugar. Add the cinnamon and cloves and mix together. Brush the edge of the pastry with a little milk and then pile the apples into the lined pie dish. Roll out the second piece of pastry into a circle slightly larger than the pie dish and use to cover the apples. Press the edges together to seal, then use a sharp knife to cut away any excess.
Crimp the edges of the tart with a round-bladed knife, using your fingers as a guide. If you wish roll out the pastry scraps and cut into leaf shapes. Brush the shapes with milk and stick on top of the pie. Brush the entire top of the pastry with milk and sprinkle over the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes, then reduce the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4) and bake for another 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.