This (no-bake!) pie may look all ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ but under the deceptively sweet exterior lies a real party for the tastebuds. The bramley apple curd has more than enough character and oomph to cut through the sweetness of the caramel – I am apple hear me roar! – and together they make you stand up and take notice.
This recipe may appear long and intimidating but it’s really not – I promise. Both the caramel and apple curd can be made well in advance and you can always use store-bought caramel sauce to make things a little easier. The biscuit base can also be made up to one day ahead to have time to chill properly.
I would advise you double both the caramel and curd recipes as both can be stored in the fridge for weeks and used to fill cakes, cupcakes or whatever takes your fancy.
For the biscuit base
- Blitz the biscuits in a food processor until you have fine crumbs.
- Add the melted butter and salt and mix together thoroughly.
- Line the bottom of a 20cm (8 in) loose bottomed cake tin and grease it lightly. Tip the crumbs in the tin and press down firmly using the back of a spoon to line the base.
- Press the crumbs up the sides of the tin using your fingertips. Make sure you have a sturdy, even base and sides.
- Chill for a couple of hours or overnight.
- Put the chopped apple and lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the apple is soft.
- Blitz the apple in a food processor until you have a smooth purée.
- Add the butter and sugar and stir together. Return to the saucepan and cook over medium heat stirring continuously until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.
- Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl. Add a couple of tablespoons of the apple mixture and whisk together. Gradually add the remaining apple then return to the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking continuously, for 5-10 minutes until thickened (it will thicken even more when cooled).
- Strain the curd through a sieve and cool before using. If you make a lot put in sterilised jars and keep in the fridge for up to four weeks.
- Half fill a frying pan with cold water and keep it handy.
- Put the sugar and water in a medium heavy-bottomed pan. Bring to the boil and cook, swirling the pan, until the sugar dissolves and the colour changes to deep amber. This will take about 5-7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put the crème fraîche and butter in a small saucepan and heat gently until butter melts.
- Remove the caramel from the heat and pour in the crème fraîche – be careful, this will cause the caramel to bubble and rise in the pan. Immediately plunge the bottom of the pot in the frying pan – this will stop the caramel from cooking further. Do not get water in the caramel.
- Add the salt and return the saucepan to the stove and cook the caramel for 2-3 minutes, whisking continuously.
- Strain the caramel through a fine sieve into a bowl and cool in the fridge before using. Any extra caramel will keep in a sterilised jar in the fridge for several weeks.
- Very gently pop the pie base out of the cake tin. Peel the baking paper off the bottom.
- Spoon enough caramel to cover the base – you may need to reheat the caramel in the microwave if it is completely set.
- Spoon apple curd over the caramel to fill the pie about 2/3 of the way. Chill the pie for an hour at this stage.
- Put the icing sugar and double cream in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk at high speed until you get firm peaks.
- Put the whipped cream in a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and pipe the cream over the apple curd.
- Drizzle with caramel and sprinkle with the crushed biscuit. Best eaten within a couple of days – store in the fridge.