When I first looked at the apple pie recipe, I got a bit confused. There were clear instructions relating to the pastry on the top and sides of the pie, but I couldn't see anything about the bottom. I couldn't decide whether lining the pie dish was just taken for granted, or whether it was supposed to be top and sides only.
I discussed this point at length with Mum, and we decided that if there was supposed to be a base to the pie, it would be in the recipe. And if you think about it, it makes sense: apple gets very juicy when it's cooked, and it's difficult to make anything with apple on a pastry base without the pastry going soggy. So what can you do to prevent the bottom going soggy? Don't have one!
Having cleared up this minor mystery, I whipped up yet another batch of sweet short pastry. This one didn't come out as well as previous attempts - I think perhaps I rushed it a little and didn't combine my ingredients well enough.
While the pastry was chilling in the fridge, I made a start on the apple filling. The recipe listed 4-6 Granny Smiths; I peeled, cored and sliced five apples of moderate size, thinking I could always add a sixth if need be. As it happened, four would have been more than enough.. but I'll get to that.
When I had my bowl full of sliced apple pieces, I mixed together some sugar, melted butter, flour and ground cloves, added it to the apples, and stirred them around with my hands until they were all nicely coated in the sugary mixture.
I placed my slightly dodgy pastry on top and sealed the edges with water. A few steam holes in the centre, and my mountainous, lumpy-looking pie was ready to go in the oven.
I was a bit worried as I watched the progress of the pie. The pastry had an odd texture to it, and instead of becoming a little less mounded and lumpy as the apples cooked down, it simply baked into the exact knobbly shape it started in. So much for that theory.
When the pie came out of the oven, it may have looked a little odd, but it seemed to have cooked through ok, so I wrapped it in a teatowel and headed off to Rakaia.