Recipe of the Month - Ben’s Gran’s Apple Pie

Ben’s Gran’s Apple Pie, by Ben O’Donoghue for Delicious Magazine

With the cool winter shift here I wanted to start off the month by sharing this heart-warming family favourite. This no dish, no fuss, rustic apple pie will win everyone over. Guaranteed. 

Serves: 6 adults


1kg Granny Smith apples

1 cup (220g) caster sugar, plus extra to sprinkle

Juice of 1/2 lemon

3 cloves

1 star anise


3 cups (450g) plain flour

1/3 cup (40g) custard powder

1 cup (150g) icing sugar

350g chilled unsalted butter, chopped

3 egg yolks, plus 1 lightly beaten

egg to brush


1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped

8 egg yolks

½ cup (110g) caster sugar

300ml milk

300ml pure (thin) cream


  1. For pastry, place flour, custard powder, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a processor. Add butter and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add yolks and process until pastry comes together in a smooth ball. Divide into 2, then knead each into flat discs. Enclose in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, peel and core apples. Place in a pan over medium heat with sugar, juice, and spices. Cook 10 minutes or until fruit is tender but still holds its shape. Cool, then discard spices.
  3. For the custard, place milk, cream, vanilla pod and seeds in a pan over medium heat. Bring to just below boiling point, then set aside for 15 minutes to infuse. Meanwhile, whisk yolks and sugar in a bowl until thick and pale, then gradually whisk in warm cream mixture to combine (discarding vanilla pod). Return mixture to pan over low heat. Stir with a wooden spoon for 6 minutes or until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Strain through a sieve. Cool, then cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Chill until needed.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roll out each pastry disc between 2 sheets of baking paper to 3mm-thick, 28cm circles. Place 1 circle on a baking tray, leaving the bottom sheet of paper in place as lining. Pile apple mixture in the centre, leaving a 3cm border, then brush the border with egg.
  5. Top with remaining pastry, press down the border, then trim edges into a neat circle. Pinch edges with your fingers to seal. Brush top with beaten egg, then bake for 30 minutes. Remove, sprinkle with caster sugar, then bake for a further 10 minutes until golden. Serve with the custard.

Don’t be afraid to play with flavours, mix and match with what’s looking good and in season for maximum flavour.

  • Apple and blackberry
  • Apple and mixed spice
  • Apple and rhubarb
  • Pear and cinnamon 
  • Pear and blueberry
  • Stone fruit