Sussex Pie with lattice pastry top and Sussex written in pastry letters

Sussex Pie or Apple Pie The Sussex Way

It’s apple season again here in the UK!

British apples are beginning to appear in the shops and those lucky enough to have apple trees are gathering in their crop.

I only have one small apple tree which is not very productive so I have been very pleased that neighbours and friends have been sharing their more bountiful crops.

To use these apples I have been making apple pies and puddings (Apple Dappy), apple cakes (Cornish Aromatic Apple Cake), apple scones and apple chutney and as I have so many I am even thinking of making my Christmas mincemeat early this year.

One recipe I always make at this time of year is a Sussex version of apple pie which is a very old recipe that seems to have been almost forgotten.

Slice of Sussex Pie on a plate

I found it some years ago in a book of old Sussex recipes which was first published in 1937, where it is simply called Sussex Pie.

I have tinkered with the original recipe increasing the proportion of apple to dried fruit and given the pie a lattice top. I also write SUSSEX across the top in pastry letters.

Sometimes if I am short of time I use the filling in an ordinary plate pie but I still always write SUSSEX in pastry on the top.

Sussex Pie

I use a shortcrust pastry for this pie made with butter and either lard or solid vegetable fat – it’s your choice.

Ingredients

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Shortcrust Pastry

Filling

  • Use approximately 2½ pounds or just over 1 kilo of apples (cookers or eaters – just use what you have).
  • To make the filling you will need to end up with about 1½ pounds / 675 grams of apple after you have peeled, cored and sliced them.
  • 4 ounces / 115 grams raisins
  • 4 ounces / 115 grams currants
  • 3 ounces / 85 grams soft light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground all spice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 tablespoons of water

Directions

  • Put all the filling ingredients in a medium sized saucepan and cook over a medium to low heat until the apple is tender.
  • Leave to become cold.
  • While the filling is cooling make your pastry.
  • Pre-heat your oven to 180°C / fan 200°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6. Place a baking tray in the centre of the oven.
  • Divide your pastry in half and roll out one portion to line a greased metal 9 inch / 23 cm flan tin with a removable base.
  • When the filling is completely cold fill the pie shell.
  • Brush the edge of the pastry with milk.
  • Roll out the remaining pastry and cut it into 10 strips, approximately 10 inches / 25 cm long and 1 inch / 2.5 cm wide.
  • Use these strips to make a lattice top for your pie.
  • Alternatively you can use a 10 inches / 25 cm enamel pie plate and make the pie as in my recipe for apple pie.
  • Gather together any pastry scraps and roll out. Cut out some very narrow strips of pastry to form the letters of SUSSEX. Brush these with milk and press down to fix them in place.
  • Brush the whole pie with milk.
  • Place the pie on the hot baking tray in the pre-heated oven and cook for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with caster sugar.
  • If you have made the pie in a flan tin allow to cool for about 30 minutes before you attempt to remove it from the tin.
  • If you have made it on a pie plate you can serve it straight from the oven.

Sussex Pie or Apple Pie The Sussex Way

Course: DessertCuisine: BritishDifficulty: Easy
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

35

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes

For the pastry I use my mother’s shortcrust pastry recipe. See the recipe in more detail in my Pastry section. I have also included the ingredients and directions here.

Ingredients

  • Shortcrust Pastry
  • Made with 8 ounces / 225 grams flour. I use my mother’s shortcrust pastry recipe which is in my pastry section.

  • Filling
  • Use approximately 2½ pounds or just over 1 kilo of apples (cookers or eaters – just use what you have).

  • To make the filling you will need to end up with about 1½ pounds / 675 grams of apple after you have peeled, cored and sliced them.

  • 4 ounces / 115 grams raisins

  • 4 ounces / 115 grams currants

  • 3 ounces / 85 grams soft light brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground all spice

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

  • 4 tablespoons of water

Directions

  • Put all the filling ingredients in a medium sized saucepan and cook over a medium to low heat until the apple is tender.
  • Leave to become cold.
  • While the filling is cooling make your pastry using my mother’s shortcrust pastry recipe.
  • Pre-heat your oven to 180°C / fan 200°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6. Place a baking tray in the centre of the oven.
  • Divide your pastry in half and roll out one portion to line a greased metal 9 inch / 23 cm flan tin with a removable base.
  • When the filling is completely cold fill the pie shell.
  • Brush the edge of the pastry with milk.
  • Roll out the remaining pastry and cut it into 10 strips, approximately 10 inches / 25 cm long and 1 inch / 2.5 cm wide.
  • Use these strips to make a lattice top for your pie.
  • Alternatively you can use a 10 inches / 25 cm enamel pie plate and make the pie as in my recipe for apple pie.
  • Gather together any pastry scraps and roll out. Cut out some very narrow strips of pastry to form the letters of SUSSEX. Brush these with milk and press down to fix them in place.
  • Brush the whole pie with milk.
  • Place the pie on the hot baking tray in the pre-heated oven and cook for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with caster sugar.
  • If you have made the pie in a flan tin allow to cool for about 30 minutes before you attempt to remove it from the tin.
  • If you have made it on a pie plate you can serve it straight from the oven.

How to serve Sussex Pie or Knucker Poisoned by Sussex Pie

There is an old Sussex legend that a poisoned Sussex Pie was used to kill the ‘knucker’, a water-dragon that lived in Knuckerholes (deep round pools of infinite depth) in the Sussex village of Lyminster.

However, I can vouch that this pie is delicious hot, warm or cold with custard, cream, clotted cream or ice cream.

Do try to make this forgotten recipe, especially if you live in Sussex!

Next time I will be continuing the apple theme as I still have a lot of apples to use.

Until then “Happy Baking!”

Tanya

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