JFK’s Apple and Banana Pie

According to the last person to taste it, this is an “awesome” double crust pie. It is definitely a personal favourite and had I ever been chosen to compete in the Great British Bake Off, this pie would have been my first choice for pastry week.

Apple and Banana Pie

It started off as a normal plated apple pie recipe my granny taught me decades ago, but it has developed in content and size ever since.

Choose apples which will not turn to mush when baked. As they tend to fall, I avoid Bramleys for this recipe, but use a mixture of the tarter apple varieties from the garden. If using shop-bought apples the usual offerings of granny smith, gala, braeburn, jonagold, jonathan, etc. are all fine.

Serve hot or cold with custard, yoghurt, créme fraiche, whipped double or pouring cream or any combination thereof!

Serves 10-12

Ingredients

For the pastry:

  • 1lb / 500 g plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½lb / 250 g fat (margarine, butter or lard or combination of any)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon sugar (optional)

For the filling:

  • 2lb / 1 kg mixed orchard apples
  • 2-3 bananas
  • 3 oz sugar (or more to taste)
  • 2 generous handsful golden raisins and/or sultanas
  • 1 lemon, grated peel and juice
  • 1 heaped teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 generous pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 generous pinch of ground allspice
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon semolina or ground rice

Method:

  1. Make pastry in the usual way. I prefer this pie with shortcrust, but add the sugar if you prefer sweet pastry for fruit pies. Put a third aside  and roll out the rest large enough to line a 24 cm deep spring cake tin or deep pie dish. Leave the excess overhanging the sides, then put aside in a cool place to rest whilst making the filling.
  2. Peel, core and slice each quarter of the apples into three and put in a bowl.  Stir in the grated lemon peel and juice. Slice the bananas and stir into the apples. Sift the spices and cornflour over and mix well. Pick over the dried fruit and remove any stalks, then stir into the fruit mix.
  3. Sprinkle the semolina or ground rice evenly onto the pastry base and then evenly spoon in the filling. It should come up to just under the top of the tin. If not, you can always add more fruit by gently stirring it in without disturbing the semolina or pastry case. Roll out the lid. Use water to wet the edges of the pastry in the tin and place the lid over the top. Press well together and cut off excess pastry evenly with a pair of scissors. Crimp the join back all round and make steam slits in the top with a sharp knife. (You can use the pastry trimmings to decorate if you like, but I always make fly cakes* instead).
  4. Glaze with beaten egg yolk and milk, Put the tin on a baking sheet to catch any escaping juice and bake in a preheated oven 180°C electric / gas 5 for about an hour. Check it is not catching towards the end and loosely cover with foil if it is. The pie should be golden brown when cooked. Loosen the spring and remove, but leave on the base until cooled. Serve hot or cold with custard, yoghurt, creme fraiche, whipped double or pouring cream as prefered. Sprinkle generously with sieved icing sugar once cold, if liked.

Guten Appetite!

Extra recipe: Fly Cakes

Being a young bride during World War I with children born 1915, 1917, 1919 and 1921 and a woman struggling on her own through the Depression and World War II, my grandmother would use pastry trimmings to feed rather than decorate. As she taught me most of my baking skills, I continue that tradition. Fly cakes were one of the “extras” we would enjoy at teatime on baking day.

  1. Gather all the pastry trimmings together. You will need rolled pastry circles about the size of a saucer.
  2. In the middle of each circle put a spoon full of currants and a sprinkle of sugar.
  3. Dampen the edges with water, gather the sides over the fruit and seal well.
  4. Roll with a rolling pin to flatten out the “cakes”.
  5. Bake in a hot oven until golden brown.
  6. Cool on a wire tray.

These will keep several days in a sealed tin in the pantry.

Recipe provided by Janet Kaiser.