You say ‘pie’, I say ‘tart’ – it’s an Irish thing, and this is a national institution. Make this for a special occasion as it’s a little fiddly in places. But I really enjoy the process. On the plus side, it feeds eight people generously and it’s every bit as good as I say it is.
Live a little.
• 200g golden raisins or sultanas
• 250g Demerara sugar
• 1.5kg cooking apples, peeled and cored
• Small knob butter
• 1 cinnamon stick, slightly crushed
• 284ml pot whipping cream
• 1 egg beaten with a drop of milk added
500g plain flour
For the Savoury Sprinkle Sugar (optional)
140g muscovado sugar
10g Maldon sea salt
Zest 3 lemons
Make the savoury sugar. Heat the oven to 160˚C. Scatter the muscovado sugar, Maldon sea salt and lemon zest over a baking sheet. Put it in the oven for 15mins to dry out. Leave to cool, blitz in blender. Pass it through a large sieve to remove lumps and set aside.
For the pastry, pulse the flour and butter together in a food processor until it is breadcrumbed. Add the sugar and eggs, and pulse until everything comes together. Wrap in cling film and chill.
Tip the raisins into a pan with 100ml water, add 1tsp of sugar, bring to a simmer and set aside.
Cut the apples into large wedges and melt the butter in a heavy based pan. Toss the apples in the butter and add half of the the Demerara sugar and the cinnamon stick. Cook for 3-4 mins until coloured. Put the apples in a sieve and drain away excess juices.
Grease and flour a 28cm diameter, 3cm deep baking tin (preferably with rippled edges). Roll two thirds of the pastry to the thickness of a pound coin and line the tin. Chill for at least 20mins. Prick the pastry with a fork and bake blind for about 10mins. Brush with the beaten egg and return to the oven for another 5mins.Repeat this process again and bake for another 5mins. This will ensure the pastry stays crisp after the apples are added. Leave to cool, then add the apple and raisin mixture (make sure all excess liquid has been drained from the raisins).
With the remaining pastry roll a lid for the tart. Use egg wash to secure it in place at the edges, pressing it together gently with your fingers. Prick the top of the tart to release steam while its cooking. Brush the entire top with egg wash and sprinkle over the remaining Demerara sugar.
Turn the oven up to 180˚C and cook for 20mins until the top is golden. Place the warm tart on a large board for serving.
Lightly whip the cream. Serve on the side along with the spiced sugar in a bowl for sprinkling over.