When I awoke on the 6th April, officially British Summer, this is what my garden looked like.
What better way to celebrate the summertime than baking?
Trouble was, I couldnâ€™t decide what to bake. Apple pie? Rhubarb Crumble?
The oven temperature for this recipe is 350f, Gas Mark 4, 180c or 160c in a fan oven.
<b>Making the pastry base</b>
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, and add the butter or margarine. Rub the fat into the flour until the mixture looks like fine bread crumbs. Add the sugar and toss lightly to distribute.
Add the water a little at a time, tossing with a fork as you go. Press the dough into rough ball. If it is too try add a little more water, if too wet, add a little more flour.
Dust a work surface, and turn the dough on to it. With the heel of your hand, push the dough away from you, smearing it on the surface, then pull back and push in another direction. Mix the dough in this way until it is pliable and easily comes away from the surface.
Press the dough into a smooth ball, wrap with cling film or place in a plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, more if youâ€™re feeling good. Use this time wisely, you can either make the filling or the crumble top, or you can do what I did, and watch Big with Tom Hanks.
<b>Preparing the filling</b>
Peel, core and chop the apples if you havenâ€™t done so already. Chop up the rhubarb too, in to inch long pieces. Put the apples in a saucepan, with the water and the sugar. Bring it to the boil, then simmer it and let it stew. After about 3 minutes, add the rhubarb. Let it stew all together, and when the apples go mooshy and the rhubarb pulls away and youâ€™ve just got those fibrey bits left, stir it all together so itâ€™s a funny looking pink mess. If you need to drain any water off, then do so.
<b>Line the pie tin with your chilled pastry</b>
Line it, bitch!
<b>Making the crumble topping</b>
Put all the ingredients for the crumble topping into a bowl and rub everything together, like the pastry base, but donâ€™t add any water to bind it. Leave it like breadcrumbs.
Put the filling into the pastry case, then sprinkle your crumble topping onto it. After this I added a sprinkle of all spice, and I cut out leaf shapes from the excess pastry, and arranged on the top to make it look pretty.
Put the pie into a preheated oven, and leave for 30-40 minutes checking occasionally. You ought to take it out when it is golden brown. Serve however you like.
Fresh out of the oven:
And what it looked like when I finally got to it: