Chef Lorraine Pascale Puts a British Spin on Apple Pies

courtesy Lorraine Pascale
Courtesy: Lorraine Pascale

Bestselling TV chef and cookbook author Lorraine Pascale has been a big deal across the pond for quite awhile but now, Americans are getting a taste of her on not one but two Food Network shows — Worst Bakers in America and Holiday Baking Championship.

Pascale became a superstar model at the age of 16, appearing in magazines from Vogue to Elle to the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. She turned to the culinary arts after she ended her modeling career and wrote several bestsellers while opening a much-loved London bake shop.

Her website is equal measures food and fitness, offering up yummy desserts as well as protein pancakes and workout tips.

But since she’s elbow deep in baked goods right now, we asked her about enjoying the holiday season without losing your way.

Fit Bottomed Eats: What’s your favorite holiday indulgence to bake?

Lorraine Pascale: An apple pie with lots of cinnamon.

FBE: How can someone stay on track during the food-laden holiday season while still enjoying themselves?

LP: I like to write down what I’m eating so I stay on track. I have an idea of the calories I need, which makes this relatively simple. It’s surprising how much I eat but don’t realize sometimes!

FBE: Do you have any tips on lightening up traditional holiday dishes?

LP: I like to eat smaller portions. I think holidays are for indulging but you can still be careful and just not go in for a second portion.

Here’s a great way to indulge in apple pie — Little Warm Bramley Apple Pies from Lorraine Pascale’s Fast, Fresh and Easy Food cookbook. Since this recipe is British, we’ve done a little bit of translating in the measures and ingredients. Bramley apples are a popular British sour apple, so Granny Smith applesauce should be a good substitute.

Little Warm Bramley Apple Pies

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 8 pies

Store-bought applesauce is fine to use. In fact it is a great time saver when in a hurry; ditto for the pastry. There may be some leftover pastry here, which can be wrapped up and frozen and kept for a month.
Ingredients
  • For the filling
  • 800g (28 ounces) Bramley applesauce
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • For the pastry
  • Small handful of plain flour
  • 500g (18 ounces) puff pastry
  • 1 medium egg
  • Icing sugar, for dusting
  • Softly whipped cream, ice cream or crème anglaise to serve
Instructions
  1. Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment and set aside.
  2. Empty the applesauce it into a medium bowl and finely grate the lemon zest over. Add the cinnamon and ginger, stir everything well to combine and set aside.
  3. Put some flour on the work surface and roll the pastry out to a 16-inch square. Keep the pastry moving around as you roll so it does not stick, adding more flour underneath if need be. The pastry will be really nice and thin. Then cut out eight 4 x 8-inch rectangles (cut the pastry in half
  4. and then across the opposite way into quarters) and arrange them on the baking sheet.
  5. Crack the egg into a mug, whisk it lightly and then, using a pastry brush, brush a half-inch border around the edge of each pastry rectangle (and hang on to the remaining egg for later). Then, using up all of the applesauce, put a few dollops of it on one half of each one (inside the border). Stuff as much of the applesauce as you can inside the pastries, otherwise they won’t look nice and plump when they’re cooked. Fold the other half of the pastry over the applesauce and use your fingers to press the edges down to seal. Press in good and tight to the apple so everything is nice and cozy.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the pies in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up (or the fridge will do just fine if you have double that time to spare). Once firm, remove them from the freezer, brush liberally with the remaining egg and then mark the top of the pastries with a sharp knife with whatever pattern you like. I like to do the outline of an apple. Put them in the oven for about 25 minutes.
  7. Once baked, the pastry should be crisp and golden brown, so remove the pies from the oven. Leave to cool a bit before eating (that apple gets super hot!).
Notes
I really love to eat these while they are nice and warm, but they are very tasty served cool, too. Either way, give a sift of powdered sugar over them before tucking in with a little softly whipped cream, ice cream or crème anglaise.

What’s your favorite holiday treat? —Gail

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