1.5kg cooking apples, such as Bramley’s (or, for a more textured filling, about 1kg
cookers and 500g eaters)
40–60g golden caster sugar,
plus extra to finish
375g shortcrust pastry
2 tbsp ground almonds (optional)
Custard, cream or yoghurt, to serve
Put all the citrus zest and juice into a large bowl. Peel, core and thinly slice the apples, dropping them into the bowl as you do so.
Transfer the apples and juice to a fairly large saucepan and add the sugar. Cook over a medium heat, stirring often, for around 15 minutes until the apples collapse into a silky golden purée (if you use some eating apples, they will stay chunkier). Taste for sweetness and stir in a little more sugar only if you think it needs it. Allow to cool completely before you make the pie. You can make the pastry while the apple is cooling. Wrap and place it in the fridge to rest.
Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/Gas 7. Put a baking tray inside to heat up. Have ready an oval pie dish, about 28 x 19cm. Divide the pastry into two pieces: roughly one-third for the top and two-thirds to line the base and sides of the dish. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the larger piece to the shape of your pie dish, until about 3mm thick. Use this to line the pie dish, allowing the excess pastry to overhang the rim.
Scatter the ground almonds, if using, over the base of the pastry case, and lightly press in. They aren’t essential but they are a nice touch of flavour and texture in the base of the pie. Tip the cooled apple purée in and level it out. Roll out the other piece of pastry for the pie lid, again to about a 3mm thickness. Brush the rim of the pie dish with water. Lift the piece of pastry over the pie, trim off the excess from around the edge, then press the pastry edges together firmly to seal, all the way round, using a knife, a fork or your fingers.
Scatter another 1 tbsp sugar all over the pastry lid, and cut a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Place the dish on the hot baking sheet in the oven and cook for 10 minutes, then lower the oven setting to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas 4 and cook for a further 30 minutes or until the pastry is a rich golden brown.