In association with British Gas
This week I’ve teamed up with British Gas to champion the lost art of home economics and at the same time celebrate British Pie Week which runs from 6 – 12th March. British Pie Week has been running since 2007 and celebrates all our wonderful pastry enrobbed creations. I can’t say I’ve ever lost the art of home economics as I won the school prize for this subject and went onto to study it at A’ Level and beyond. It’s such a shame that it’s no longer taught in schools as the lessons I was taught have stayed with me and I put them into practice all the time. For instance one afternoon we tested out how much energy was required to boil water on the hob and in a kettle. We found that kettle was far more energy efficient so whenever I need to boil water for vegetables etc, I always use a kettle to bring the water to the boil first and then add to the saucepan!
GBBO winner John Whaite (and all round lovely/funny/talented guy who I’ve met) has created the nation’s “Smartest Pie” for British Gas which uses many energy saving tips. Watch the video to see how he makes the nations 5 favourite pie fillings, Steak, Vegetable, Chicken, Pork and Apple using the principals of Smart Home Economics. There are some seriously good tips here!
British Gas challenged me to come up with a cost effective and energy efficient pie using some of their Smart energy saving cooking tips. I came up with a Spiced Apple Lattice Pie and used these 4 Top Tips for Smart Pies from British Gas:
- Keep the oven door closed while baking. As tempting as it is to take a peek at your pie, opening the oven door causes the heat to drop and use extra energy to get back up to temperature.
- Turn the oven off 5-10 minutes before the pie is done. It will retain plenty of heat during this time and will continue to cook your pie to perfection.
- Keep the oven clean. Grease and little pieces of burnt food in the oven can absorb the heat and make the oven less efficient. Keeping the glass clear also gives you a sneak peek while baking. (OK I can’t lie, my oven needs a clean, but my oven door was clean enough to see through to my pie)!
- There’s no need to pre-cook the apple slices when making apple pie. Simply bake them with the pastry and they’ll still turn out lovely and soft, plus you’ll have saved the energy you would have used when stewing them first.
I made my apple pie with a lattice topping to enable the whole pie to be made from just one sheet of puff pastry making it economical with both your money and time as you only need to roll out the trimmings to make a pastry rim and apple decoration if you use a lattice pastry cutter. I chose to flavour the apples with light soft brown sugar for a caramel note, plus cinnamon, mixed spice and vanilla for a lovely depth of flavour. My family loved my apple pie so I do hope you give it a try and be mindful of saving energy when you do!
Did you know that a smart meter is an easy way of keeping track of energy use in real time, thus avoiding any unexpected bills? You can get them installed for free as part of the government’s plan to reduce carbon emissions! I’m off to tell my husband all about them as he loves saving money! If you do make my Spiced Apple Lattice Pie during British Pie Week I’d love to see it, you can use @fabfood4all, @BritishGas and #SmartasPie #BritishPieWeek to share your creation and I’ll happily give it a RT:-)
- 650g dessert apples (I used a mix of Braeburns & Pink Ladies)
- 1 tbsp freshly squeeze lemon juice (to prevent browning)
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp mixed spice
- scraped seeds of 1 vanilla pod (or 1 tsp vanilla paste/extract)
- a few grinds of salt
- 100g light soft brown sugar
- 320g ready rolled puff pastry
- 1 egg, beaten (for eggwash)
- granulated sugar, for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
- Fill a bowl with enough water to cover your apples and add the lemon juice.
- Peel, core, quarter and thinly slice the apples, placing the slices in the water as you do to prevent them browning.
- Mix the cornflour, vanilla seeds (if using extract wait for next step), cinnamon, mixed spice, salt and sugar until well combined. (You might want to used your fingers to distribute the vanilla seeds)
- Drain the apple slices and spin dry in a salad spinner if you have one, otherwise pat dry with a clean tea towel.
- Pour the cornflour mix over the top of the apples and mix well.
- If using vanilla paste or extract now is the time to add this.
- Unroll the puff pastry (keeping the paper in place) and give it a few rolls with a rolling pin to make it a little deeper (not longer).
- Place a 20 cm upturned pie plate on top of the left hand side of the pastry sheet leaving about 1cm of pastry either side and cut with a knife to leave about ⅓ of a sheet to the right.
- Now place the square of pastry sitting under your pie plate into your pie plate and pat in using your knuckles.
- Hold the pie plate in your left hand and using the back of a sharp knife, cut away the excess pastry.
- Roll out the excess pastry to a rectangle and cut 1.5 cm wide strips.
- Dab the strips with water using a pastry brush and line the rim of the pie plate with as many as needed (I used 3).
- Re-roll the last bit of pastry and cut out a small circle, fashion it into an apple shape and cut out a couple of tiny leaves with a knife and score on veins. (If you want)!
- Place the apples (and the juices that they will now have produced) into the pie dish and arrange neatly.
- With the remaining ⅓ of pastry, roll a lattice pastry cutter over it (and again down the side where you’ve missed) make use you roll fully from one end to the other. (If you don’t have a lattice pastry cutter, just cut thin strips of pastry and weave or criss cross over the pie).
- Wet the rim of the pie with a pastry brush.
- Pick up the scored pastry (which might stick to the paper so yell for help at this point, or if none available just upturn the pastry onto the middle of the pie and gently peel off the paper).
- Tease out the lattice over the pie by placing a knife underneath and gently pull apart the lattice from either side.
- Then trim the excess pastry using the back of a knife.
- Brush the back of the pastry apple and leaves with water and lay on pie.
- Brush the pastry lattice and apple decoration with egg wash and then sprinkle with granulated sugar.
- Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake on the bottom shelf of oven for 20 minutes at 190ºC.
- Then turn the oven down to 175ºC and bake for about another 55 minutes.
- Towards the end of baking you’ll need to cover the pie loosely with foil to prevent burning (my pie needed covering in the last 15 minutes). Close the oven door as soon as you have removed the pie to retain the maximum amount of heat.
- Turn the oven off (leaving the fan on for fan assisted ovens) in the last 5 minutes of baking to save energy.
- The pie is ready when a cocktail stick is easily inserted into the apple slices.
- Once ready, allow the pie to cool down for about ½ an hour and serve warm or cold with ice cream, cream or custard.
For more British Pie Week inspiration you might like the following recipes:
Steak Pie – Christina’s Cucina
Beef & Guiness Pie with Vanilla & Thyme – Bangers & Mash
Chicken Brie & Cranberry Pie – Christina’s Cucina
Chicken & Asparagus Pie with Coconut Milk – Gingey Bites
Chicken Leek and Ham Pie in a Cheese & White Wine Sauce – Glug of Oil
Monday Pie – creamy chicken pie made with leftovers – Mint Custard
Sausage Feta and Tomato Filo Pie – Foodie Quine
Gala Pie – Patisserie Makes Perfect
Vegetarian Nut Road Pie – Domestic Gothess
Classic Apple Pie – Kavey Eats
Gluten Free Apple Pies – Jo’s Kitchen
Why not pin for later?
NB Post commissioned by British Gas.