Today is apple day.In 1809 a young girl, Mary Ann Brailsford, planted a few pips in her garden in Southwell. Those pips grew into the apple tree that is responsible for one of Britains most beloved fruit.
Forty years later a local butcher bought Mary Ann's cottage and garden, after a decade of enjoying the trees fruits a nurseryman from the area asked him if he could sell some of the apples from the tree in his garden. The butcher agreed but wanted the apples to bear his name... Bramley.
Bramley's seedling were an important source of food during the First World War as during the 1900s the trees were extensively planted and the crop plenty.
Every single Bramley apple tree has come from the tree planted in that cottage garden in Nottinghamshire.
The tree was almost lost forever when in 1900 a destructive storm knocked it over, leaving it wounded on the grounds of the garden where he had grown and grown for nearly a hundred years. But from the old wood of the tree emerged a new one and it grew to be the monument we can see today.
The Bramley apple tree in Southwell has become the towns treasure and they host many celebrations of the Bramley Apple, there even is 'The Bramley apple Inn' which is located just a few doors away from where the original Bramley apple tree still grows his apples to this day.
The lady who lives in the cottage now, acquired the house from Mr Bramley 50 years ago and has cared for the tree ever since.
Bramley apples are gorgeous in pies, tarts and traditional British puddings, simply covered in shortcrust pastry or with custard. Bramleys are also good to use in cakes, chutneys, jams, compote, orchard sauce to accompany pork and for cider making.
For this pie I chose for the classic apple and blackberry combination. The blackberries are added at the end so they give texture and color to the dish.
Why not pay a visit to Brogdale farm in Kent, home to the 'National fruit collection'.
They host an Apple festival and a Cider festival every year. If you have an apple tree in your garden and you think this might be a very old variety, you can send in a sample and they will investigate the fruit.
Bramley apple and Blackberry pie
Sweet Shortcrust pastry
What do you need:
500 g plain flour
100 g icing sugar
250 g cold butter cut into small cubes
half a teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large free-range eggs
1 teaspoon milk
- Sieve the flour and icing sugar on to a work surface or into a large bowl.
- Throw the cubes of butter into the flour and using a knife start cutting them into even smaller pieces mixing it with the flour and sugar. This is a trick I use to keep the butter as cold as possible, if you touch the butter it melts quicker.
- To create good Shortcrust pastry your butter should be kept cold and your dough shouldn't be over worked as this will activate the gluten.
- When you have a crumbly texture start using your hands to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
- At this point ad the vanilla
- Ad the eggs one by one, and the milk, using a knife or fork to work it together.
- When the mixture is crumbly again use your hands to work the mixture until you have a ball of dough.
- Remember don't work the pastry too much as it will leave you with a whole other texture.
- Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 180° gas
Prepare the filling while the pastry is chilling
What do you need:
5 Brambley apples, cored, peeled and cut into halved wedges
100 g Blackberries
50 g butter
80 g light brown sugar
1 egg beaten
a sprinkle of caster sugar
20 cm shallow pie dish
- Put the butter into a saucepan and melt over a low fire
- Ad the sugar
- Ad the apples and slowly cook for 10 minutes
- Ad the blackberries and stir briefly and some of the berries release their juice
- Let it cool slightly
- Tip the fruit into a sieve and keep the juices and fruit aside
- Take your pasty out of the fridge
- Cut the dough in half and put the second piece back into the fridge
- Roll out the dough until it's about 5 mm thick
- Butter your pie dish
- Line the pie dish with the pastry
- Trim off the excess pastry around the sides with a sharp knife
- Put the fruit into the lined pie dish so you have a little mount in the middle
- Use a spoon to add a bit of the juice, not all of it or it will get too wet.
- Take the rest of the pastry out of the fridge and roll it out like you did before
- Lay the pastry over the pie
- Trim off the excess pastry around the sides and crimp the edges of the pastry together with the back of a fork or your fingers.
- Decorate your pie if you like, cut an opening in the pastry so the steam can escape
- Brush the pastry with the beaten egg and sprinkle over some caster or cane sugar
Place the pie on the bottom of the preheated oven for 50 minutes to an hour.
The top should be golden and crisp.
Serve with a dollop of clotted cream or double cream.
You might also like
Kentish Cobnut cake