500g Sainsburys puff pastry.
Halve the pastry, roll out into two circles, one slightly – say 2cm – wider than the other.
Put the slightly bigger circle into a pie dish and blind bake it for 20 mins (in total) at 180C. You’ll need to have some clay baking beans to put onto baking paper to weigh down the pastry circle while it gets partly cooked. Whip the beans and paper off after 10 mins and bake it naked* for another 10 mins. If you ain’t got beans, sacrifice a couple of hundred grammes of dried pulses like chick-peas or kidney beans instead. After 10 mins at 180 they will be like full metal jacket bullets, so just bin them afterwards. After the 20 minute blind bake (i.e. sans contents) it should look like this:
(Sorry folks, but I’ve been trying to get the images to actually appear in this post for about 12 minutes now, and a) I’ve lost the will to live, and b) my 15 minutes are nearly up, so hey, just select ’em and open ’em in another tab OK?)
OK, that’s built the basic container. Now for the scrummy filling. You can use any apples, but ideally you want a couple of utter bruisers from a decent cooker tree. Here are the two victims I chose from one of our trees:
Peel ’em and slice ’em up, bung them into a nice big frying pan with a good dollop of unsalted butter – by a good dollop I mean about 4cm lopped off the end of a standard butter brick. Melt the butter on the pan, set out the apples slices to fill the pan brim to brim, and heat on a medium heat. Give the apples a really generous sprinkling of suger, preferable demerara for the extra colour, but really any sugar will do. Let them bubble and cook for a wehile, move them about a bit with a spatula to make sure all of the apple gets the hot butter tratment. Turn them all over so the sugary sides are downwards, and then liberally sugar them once more. At this point you can bung in a splash of some alcoholic stuff – I use a splash of brandy, but choose your own poison. Let them cook like that for another few minutes until they look something like this:
Now you can pour the sugary appley gorgeousness into the pie base so it starts to look like something you might serve up at the table:
All that remains is toroll out the other half of the pastry into a circle the same size as the filled pie, paint the rim of the pie base with some milk and stick the pastry lid on for the final bake. Squidge the edge down lightly all around the pie, and brush the rest of the top surface with milk to make sure it browns nicely. Into the oven at about 180, and set the alarm for 40 minutes. Here is the pie plus payload and lid, all assembled and about to undergo the final bake:
Et voila, he-hon-he-hon, zut alors; around 40 minutes’ later (keep an eye on it for the last 10 mins in case your oven is feeling excitable on the day) out comes the finished thing. Put it aside to cool down or tuck straight in if you have heatproof mouth parts.
Best with creme fraiche or double cream or good yoghurt or even custard, depending upon your dietary preferences and/or the contents of your fridge.
*that’s the pie base naked, not you, ya dummy.