Thursday, 10 October 2013


Two bagfuls of windfall fruit have generously made their way to us from trees across the Firth of Forth. Like all things that have fallen from a height onto hard ground, they are not the prettiest, but their sticky, woody smell is autumn in a poly bag.

Nothing makes me feel more Good Life than whittling away at a windfall harvest – slicing off the knobbly bits, the bruised bits, the holey bits, to reveal perfect flesh beneath, ready for a pie.

Despite fresh figs still being in season, I used the dried sort for their toffeeish notes and because they were what I had to hand. I scattered a few pecans in there too because I am a tiny bit obsessed with them and they add another layer of texture. There is a reasonable school of thought that says you shouldn’t mess with the perfect simplicity of an apple pie, but I say when you’ve got a glut, mess away to keep things interesting.

I used ready-rolled pastry because time was of the essence; if you want to knock up your own, please do. I used an egg glaze, just fiddling, and that’s what is pictured, but a simple milk wash is just as nice.

Oh, and I got a bit arty with the air-hole on the top; it’s meant to be an apple, not a bunny.  You knew that, right...?

Figgy apple pie

Serves 6–8

1kg dessert apples, peeled, cored, quartered

100g unsalted butter

100g soft light brown sugar

100g dried, ready-to-eat figs, sliced

2 tsp cinnamon

Handful of pecans

Sheet of ready-rolled shortcrust pastry

Glaze: one egg, 1 tsp caster sugar, ½ tsp cinnamon; or just milk

Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan).

Put the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan, turn on a low-medium heat and let it melt. Throw in the apples, sugar, figs and cinnamon and let them all bubble away gently for twenty minutes or so until the apples start to soften.

Tip the mixture into a ceramic pie dish (mine measures 24cm across) and scatter the pecans over the top. Dab the rim of the dish with water, then unfurl the pastry onto the top of the dish. Cut off the excess pastry, cut a few holes into the top to let the steam come out and brush with either an egg glaze or milk.

Bake for around 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden and the filling hot and bubbling. If you've made the filling in advance, as I did here, it will take a bit longer to heat through so cover the pastry with foil and stick it back in the oven for another 10 minutes or so.


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