Apple and rhubarb pie





  • 500 g organic plain flour , plus extra for dusting
  • 100 g icing sugar , sifted
  • 250 g good-quality butter , cut into small cubes
  • 1 lemon , zest of
  • 2 large free-range eggs , beaten
  • 1 splash milk


  • 500g ready-prepared shortcrust pastry
  • 500g chopped rhubarb (I used half apple)
  • 1 1/3 cups caster sugar
  • 6 tablespoons plain flour
  • 30g butter


This pastry is perfect for making apple and other sweet pies. Even if you’ve never made pastry before, as long as you stick to the correct measurements for the ingredients and you follow the method exactly, you’ll be laughing. The one place where you can experiment is with flavouring. If you don’t fancy using lemon zest, try another dry ingredient like orange zest instead. Or a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg or cocoa powder. Vanilla seeds are great too. Just remember to be subtle and don’t go overboard with any of these flavours! Try to be confident and bring the pastry together as quickly as you can – don’t knead it too much or the heat from your hands will melt the butter. A good tip is to hold your hands under cold running water beforehand to make them as cold as possible. That way you’ll end up with a delicate, flaky pastry every time. Sieve the flour from a height on to a clean work surface and sieve the icing sugar over the top. Using your hands, work the cubes of butter into the flour and sugar by rubbing your thumbs against your fingers until you end up with a fine, crumbly mixture. This is the point where you can spike the mixture with interesting flavours, so mix in your lemon zest. Add the eggs and milk to the mixture and gently work it together till you have a ball of dough. Flour it lightly. Don’t work the pastry too much at this stage or it will become elastic and chewy, not crumbly and short. Flour your work surface and place the dough on top. Pat it into a flat round, flour it lightly, wrap it in clingfilm and put it into the fridge to rest for at least half an hour. Preheat oven to 230 degrees C. Line a 23cm pie plate or dish with pastry. Ensure that some pastry hangs over the edge of the dish. To make the filling, combine sugar and flour. Sprinkle 1/4 of the mixture over pastry in the pie dish. Heap rhubarb over this mixture. Sprinkle with remaining sugar and flour. Dot with butter. Cover the top with pastry, and pinch edges together to seal. Cut four slits in the top of the pastry for steam to escape. Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce oven temperature to 180 degrees C and continue baking for 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm or cold with ice cream or custard.

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