This time of the year brings back special memories that I have carried with me since childhood. I grew up in Cyprus and there the apples in the mountain region of the island are ready for harvest as early as the end of June.
Firstly, I would like to introduce my dearest aunt, Lucia. Although she passed away many years ago, she left behind a plethora of invaluable inspiration due to her gentle nature and big heart. In her youth, she was an elementary school teacher which suited her brilliantly as she was always patient and kind to the children. Needless to say, she was much loved and appreciated by both her students and their parents.
When she got married, she stopped working due to her husband’s profession. He was a doctor and, in those days, they were appointed to many different places and had to relocate often. As they were not blessed with children of their own, she loved all four of her nieces and nephews. I was the youngest one and had a special bond with her. Every summer I used to spend two weeks with them, having the time of my life! They had a small holiday home in a tiny mountain village surrounded by peach, apple, and orange trees. At the front of the house, she had planted mint and I still remember the lovely aroma every time the front door was opened.
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She was a great cook too, spending a lot of time baking all sorts of delicious food. Aunt Lucia often shared her recipes and baking with me and I will share my very favourite one with you – her apple pie!
Ingredients for the dough
1 cup of butter softened
3 cups of plain flour
3 teaspoons of baking powder
3 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 a glass of lukewarm water
For the filling
1 kilo of golden apples (grated)
1 cup sugar
Handful of raisins
Shelled blanched almonds
3 Tablespoons of plain flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat your oven at 170°C/Gas Mark 4/340°F. Mix the flour with the baking powder and add the butter, work with the fingertips to make the mixture into breadcrumbs. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs lightly and add in the sugar.
Add the egg mixture to the flour along with the lukewarm water to form a soft dough.
Keep the dough in the fridge until you prepare the filling.
To make the filling grate the apples, spread the sugar, add the raisins and the blanched almonds cut into small pieces. Sprinkle in the cinnamon. Add in the flour and mix gently.
Divide the dough into two. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Butter the surface of a 28cm pie dish and spread the dough. Add the apple filling and cover with the second rolled-out dough. With a fork pierce the pastry to allow steam to be released. Coat the top with egg yolk and bake at 170°C/Gas Mark 4/340°F. for 45 minutes or until the pie is golden brown.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and wish you good luck! I know if you make it once you will repeat it many times.