Mark Hix shares his own family recipe for this classic dessert  

It’s always a joy to use recipes handed down from one generation to another. Often handwritten on a dog-eared postcard or in a food-stained notebook, these should be treasured family heirlooms. This is a recipe from my own family vaults, and it’s on the dessert menu at The Oyster & Fish House in Lyme Regis. It’s one of my Gran’s recipes. Heaven knows where it came from because. from what I can recall, she only owned one cookbook - a ration cookbook of wartime recipes, and this is certainly no ration cookbook apple pie! It may seem a bit odd having double cream in the pastry, rather than pouring it over the finished pie, but this is what makes the pastry taste amazing. My Gran’s fridge was never without a pot of cream, and I must say it makes the sweetest pie pastry. 

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Great British Life: Grandma's apple pie served with custardGrandma's apple pie served with custard (Image: Matt Austin)

Grandma’s apple pie 

Serves 4 

For the pastry 

110g soft butter 

135g caster sugar 

225g strong flour 

½ tsp baking powder 

pinch of salt 

125ml double cream 

1 egg, beaten to glaze 


For the filling 

4 dessert apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped 

4 large Bramley apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped 

50g caster sugar 

good knob of butter 

Method: First, make the pastry. Mix the butter and sugar, sieve the baking powder and flour together into a large bowl, add the salt and rub the butter mix in to the dry mix until it resembles bread crumbs; then slowly pour in the cream to make into a dough. Chill the dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, put the apples in a pan with the butter, sugar and a tablespoon of water, cook on a very low heat with a lid on for about 6-7 minutes until they are beginning to break down. Remove from heat, taste for sweetness, stir in more sugar if necessary. 

Roll the pastry out on a floured surface to about 3-4cm thick. Cut four discs large enough to line 10cm x 3cm deep, individual tart tins. Cut four more discs to fit the tops. Lightly grease the tart tins with butter, line with the larger disc of pastry to just above the top of the tin. Leave to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge. 

Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Remove the pastry cases from the fridge, spoon the cold apple mixture to the top of the pies, not putting in too much of the liquid. Brush the edges with the beaten egg then lay the second disc over the top, sealing the edges together with your fingers. 

Brush the tops with more beaten egg, make a small slit with a knife in the centre to let the steam escape, then bake the pies on a tray for 20-25 minutes until golden. Turn the oven down a little if they begin to colour too much. Leave to rest for about 15 minutes before turning out of the tins, then serve with clotted cream, crème fraîche, custard or ice-cream. 

READ MORE: Recipe: How to make Dorset Apple Cake