UK’s famous pie ingredient gets its just desserts after eight-year campaign to win ‘traditional speciality guarantee’ title alongside mozzarella and Belgian beer

The Bramley apple pie filling has officially been awarded protected status by the European commission.

The mixture, a stalwart of British baking, will join the likes of Italy’s mozzarella cheese and Belgian lambic beer in appearing on the Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG) list.

The commission defined the filling as a blend of fresh Bramley apple pieces, sugar and water, with the option of Bramley apple puree, cornflour and lemon juice.

The list seeks to protect the reputation of regional products, promote traditional and agricultural activity, and ensure inferior products cannot be promoted unfairly. The designation is good news for Bramley apple farmers, as it is thought to place a premium on their product.

Adrian Barlow, chief executive of English Apples and Pears, the trade association for the industry, which made the application eight years ago, said the development would keep apple pie standards high.

“It protects the integrity of the product and means people aren’t going to be able to sell something that is substandard by using a blend or some other apple. It’s also extremely good news for the English growers because they can be reassured that the product being used is Bramley, and that will increase their sales,” he said.

Barlow added that Bramley apples were unrivalled as a pie filling and a part of British cooking heritage. “The Bramley apple carries its taste right through the cooking process into the finished product. The apple itself cooks to a moist, airy, fluffy texture, almost cream-like.”

The commission, which provided a brief history of the Bramley apple, said the recipe for the filling dates back to the 1880s.

“During the Victorian age, there was a quest to develop single-purpose culinary apple varieties for the ultimate apple pie recipe,” it said. “At the 1883 National Apple Congress, the Bramley was acclaimed as the best-suited variety for apple pies. Since then, the recipe for traditional Bramley apple pie filling has remained unchanged and is still commercially used today.”

A farm product may be registered as TSG only if it is produced using traditional raw materials and methods. The TSG is one of three European designations used to protect local foods, which also includes Cornish pasties and champagne.

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