CARAMELIZED APPLE PIE
½ cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
4 large, tart cooking apples, about 3 pounds in total
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
1 pound, or 1 recipe, sweet tart pastry (recipe below)
1 extra-large egg yolk, beaten with 2 teaspoons water, for egg wash
Start by preparing the caramelized apple filling. Mix the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together. Peel, quarter, and core the apples, then cut into thick chunks. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with the spiced sugar to coat. Fry the apples in two batches: Melt half the butter in a wide, nonstick frying pan, add half the apple chunks, and fry over high heat until golden and caramelized around the edges, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining apples and butter. Let cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roll out about half of the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about ⅛-inch thickness. Overturn an 8-inch pie pan on top of the pastry and cut out a rough circle slightly bigger than the pan. Line the pan with the pastry, lightly pressing down to remove any air pockets, then trim off the excess pastry. Roll out the remaining pastry into another circle, again slightly larger than the pan, for the top crust.
Spoon the cooled apples evenly into the pie shell. Brush the rim of the bottom crust with a little water, then drape the top crust over the pie. Press down lightly to seal and trim off the excess pastry. Crimp the edges and brush the top with the egg wash to glaze. Use the tip of a knife to cut a small cross in the center so that steam can escape during cooking. Sprinkle with a little sugar.
Bake until the crust is golden brown and crisp, 35 - 40 minutes. Let stand for 15 - 20 minutes before serving.
SWEET TART PASTRY
Makes about 1 pound
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
7 tablespoons sugar
1 extra-large egg
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
Place the butter and sugar in a food processor and blitz until just combined. Add the egg and blitz for 30 seconds. Tip in the flour and process for a few seconds until the dough just comes together. (Be careful not to over-process, or the dough will become tough.) Add a tablespoon of cold water if the dough seems too dry. Knead lightly on a floured surface and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before using.
From Cooking for Friends by Gordon Ramsay. Copyright © 2008 by Gordon Ramsay. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.