A surprisingly fine apple pie

Dessert: serves 4. Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes
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Indy Lifestyle Online
You will need a loose-bottomed tart tin measuring approx 20cm wide by 4cm deep.

800-900g Bramley apples, peeled, the flesh sliced off in small pieces, using a sharp knife, and dropped into a bowl
juice of a small lemon
5 cloves
175g golden caster sugar (25g of which is used to sprinkle over pastry top after brushing with milk)
1tbsp cornflour
25g softened butter
375g puff pastry
a little milk

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C/gas mark 4, together with a flat baking sheet. Mix the apples with the cloves, lemon juice, 150g of the sugar and the cornflour. Set aside. Lightly grease the tin. Roll out two-thirds of the pastry to line the tin (don't make it too thin), allowing for a slight excess to flop over the rim. Tip in the apples -- which might look too many but, be assured, will flop down as they cook -- and lightly press them down with your hands. Now brush a little milk around the edge of the pastry, roll out the remaining one-third of pastry, but to a slightly thinner degree than the base. Carefully drape it over the apples and, with your fingers, lightly press the two pastry edges together.

Then, with a sharp knife, cut through the joined edges almost flush up to the rim, knock up the pastry join to form a crinkled edge all the way around and decorate with the tines of a fork. Brush the surface with more milk and evenly sprinkle with the remaining caster sugar. Make 3-4 incisions in the centre of the pastry lid to allow steam to escape.

Place the pie on the baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 300°F/150°C/gas mark 2 and continue to cook for a further 35-40 minutes, or until the pie-crust is well stippled with semi-caramelised sugar crystals and there is also clear evidence of burbling, golden apple juices erupting from within the pie, both through the central vents and around the edges too. Mind you, it is the intoxicating smell, above all, that tellsyou the thing is ready.

Leave to cool to lukewarm before un-moulding. Clotted cream, perhaps?

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