Proper British Apple Pie

A British apple pie is the classic dessert or tea time treat. The pie is the stalwart of baking and practically every country has their own style. This one is a traditional British, and also Irish, one. Cinnamon is an optional, and not a traditional, flavor in the U.K. Though it is found here more often now as the flavor has crept over from the U.S.


For the Pastry:

  • 200 grams (about 1 2/3 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 110 grams (about 4-ounces) cubed unsalted butter, or an equal mix of butter and lard
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

For the Filling:

  • 700 grams (about 1 1/2 pounds) cooking apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 110 grams (about 4-ounces) sugar
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
  • 25 grams (about 1-ounce) unsalted butter
  • Milkas needed for glaze


For the Pastry

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place the flour, butter and salt into a large, clean bowl.

  3. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, working as quickly as possible to prevent the dough becoming warm.

  4. Add the water to the mixture and using a cold knife stir until the dough binds together, add more cold water a teaspoon at a time if the mixture is too dry.

  5. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for a minimum of 15 minutes, up to 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 425 F / 220 C / Gas 7.

For the Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Simmer the apples with the lemon juice and water in a large pan until soft. Add the sugar and cinnamon to the cooked apples. Remove from the heat and add the butter and leave to cool.

  3. Roll out half the pastry and line a 7-inch (18-centimeter) pie dish. Put the cooled, cooked apple mixture into the pastry case.

  4. Roll out the remaining pastry to make a lid for the pie. Damp the edges of the pastry in the dish with a little cold water, cover with the lid,  press the edges firmly together and crimp to decorate.

  5. Brush the top of the pie with milk and bake in the middle of a hot oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

  6. Serve hot or cold with cream, ice cream or custard sauce.


  • The dough can also be made in a food processor by mixing the flour, butter and salt in the bowl of the processor on a pulse setting. When the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, add the water, slowly, through the funnel until the dough comes together in a ball. Wrap in plastic and chill as above.

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