Cast iron skillet or shallow metal pie dish and a baking sheet
6eating applessuch as Cox’s or Granny Smith
3tbsplight brown sugar
1tspground cinnamonor one cinnamon stick
For the pastry
250gcold unsalted butterdiced
500gplain flourplus more for dusting
120gwhite granulated sugar
70gmature Cheddar cheesegrated (optional)
To make the pastry, add cold butter to flour and rub in between fingers. Or use a food processor. (I run my wrists and hands under cold water to cool them down first).
Rub the butter and flour until they resemble breadcrumbs; some small, some the size of peas. Then add sugar and salt and continue to mix.
If using, dust the grated cheese with a sprinkle of flour, mix, then add to the pastry mixture.
Whisk the egg and pour into a well in the centre of the mixture. Keep mixing and add very cold water, tablespoon by tablespoon, until it comes together in a ball. If using a food processor, do this part by hand.
Tip the pastry onto a piece of cling film and use the cling film to bring it together into a disk. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. If not using a cast iron skillet, add a baking sheet to the oven at this point, giving it time to heat up. Rest the pie dish on this while cooking to prevent the base from becoming soggy.
To make the filling, peel and core the apples, cutting each into six chunks. Add a generous nob of butter to a saucepan and melt with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. After cooking the spices on low-heat for two minutes, add the apples, brown sugar, lemon zest, and a tablespoon of water. Cook on medium-low heat for approximately 15 minutes, until the apples are soft but aren’t pureed. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Dust a work surface with flour and roll the pastry into two 0.5cm/ ¼ inch thick pieces, one for the base and another for the lid. Alternatively, cut the lid pastry into strips and arrange in a lattice.
Grease a cast iron skillet or shallow metal pie dish and place the bottom layer of pastry into the pan. Lightly push down, prick all over with a fork, and add the apple filling.
Beat an egg and egg-wash the rim of the pastry base to help the lid stick. Place the lid on the pie and crimp to seal. The easiest way to do this is my using a fork to push the edges down, or by using your thumb and fingers.
Egg wash the pie, make a few slits to allow air to escape (if not latticed), and bake the pie for 45 minutes, or until golden.
Any leftover pastry will keep in the fridge for two days.