I was rummaging around in the freezer the other day, (because I had a craving for frozen peas) when I spotted the container I thought I'd lost buried beneath T's bread and ice cube trays. I was curious, what had I put in there? I don't freeze a lot of things, food gets eaten up too quickly in our little nest, despite there only being the two of us.
After bashing it on the table a few times I managed to get the lid off and there, despite being a little bit frosty, was the wonderful stewed apple mum and I had made when I was last at my parents house.
My mouth started watering as I remembered the tangy apples simmering on the Aga, the smell of cinnamon and cardamon drifting all about the house and the sweetly sharp taste nibbling on my tongue every time I sneaked another mouthful.
I knew I had to whip up a batch of apple pies immediately.
As I pulled flour and sugar from my cupboards I thought about T, he loves apples and tells me I don't bake with them often enough. I suddenly had the urge to bake him a HUGE apple pie, the kind that my mum bakes for Sunday tea in winter, only I'd add toffee and pecans and little paper flags.
It was a great plan, until I realised I didn't have long before he came home from work and that I also didn't have any pecans. I stood for a few minutes staring at the thawing stewed apple. OK, so maybe a HUGE pie wasn't such a great idea, with only us two it would sit for days on the side by the cooker, slowly being nibbled at until the last slice was left unwanted because the pastry would be soft.
I wanted this apple pie to say things, not big things, big things need words, but sometimes you can say the little things without words. Sometimes you can say them with pie.
When I shaped these little pies, baked them and then gave half of my apple pie heart to T, what I was really saying was you're damn amazing and I'll always think you're amazing and I bloody well love you.
So if you've got somebody who you think is the best thing since rock and roll, somebody so amazing you'd share your last apple pie with...then bake them these little lovelies, perfect for sharing.
Little Heart Shaped Spiced Apple Pies, for the ones who want to share the love.
Makes 4 whole hearts
For the pastry -
1 1/2 oz Vegan butter - I use a sunflower spread because I think it gives a better flavour than a soya based spread
1 1/2 oz Vegetable shortening - this gives the pastry a crumbly, flaky texture
6 oz Plain flour
1 oz Brown sugar
Half of a nutmeg - grated
Pinch of salt
4 tbsp Water
Coconut milk to glaze
Brown sugar to sprinkle on before baking
Use your favourite stewed apple recipe for the filling.
My go to recipe is very simple, just a couple of apples, peeled, cored and chopped, pop them into a pan with a tiny splash of water, cinnamon and a sprinkle of brown sugar to taste. Simmer on a low heat until soft and mushy, then add a few drops of vanilla extract.
To make these beauties...
Rub the vegan butter and vegetable shortening into the flour with your fingertips. Keep your hands cool and try not to get the mixture onto the palms of your hands as this will warm the fat and we don't want that!
Add the sugar, salt and nutmeg and give it a stir with a knife.
Now mix in the water until it starts to cling together.
Bring the dough into a ball with your hands, it will be quite crumbly but try not to over work it.
Wrap it in clingfilm and let it rest in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
Roll out the dough and use a heart shaped cutter to cut out 8 hearts. I used a 4" cutter.
Now place a couple of spoonfuls of the stewed apple onto the left hand side of 4 of the hearts, and then onto the right hand side of the remaining 4 hearts.
Brush coconut milk around the edges and fold the pastry over, using a fork to crimp the sides down.
Use the fork to poke holes into the pastry, I marked mine with a heart pattern but just a simple stab with the fork will do!
Brush them with coconut milk and sprinkle with brown sugar.
Bake at 200 c for about 10-15 minutes, until they're golden all over and browned at the edges.
I drizzled mine with this Coconut&Rum Caramel Sauce
Eat them with your lover or your friend or even the person you sit next to on the bus. Go on, wear your heart in your cake tin and give half away!
Happy baking! x