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dessert recipes | Serves 6-8
"This is a Gascon apple pie, and the amazing crust is so unbelievably thin that locals call it a ‘wedding veil’ or ‘nun’s veil’," say Caroline Conran. "Originally, the pie was rolled out by hand, but readymade filo pastry also makes a very good croustade and is easy to use." This spectacular pie keeps well for a day, or even two, and can be reheated.
1. Put the apple slices in a bowl and pour over the armagnac. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5. Brush a loose-based 25cm round flan tin with a little of the melted butter. Brush a sheet of pastry with butter and lay it over the bottom of the tin, draping the excess over the sides. Sprinkle over ½ teaspoon of sugar. Brush a second pastry sheet with butter and lay it at right angles to the first, then sprinkle with sugar. Repeat the process with more pastry sheets, laying each sheet diagonally, until you have 4 pastry sheets left.
3. Drain the apple slices, but not too thoroughly as the armagnac flavour is so good, then mix them in a bowl with the remaining sugar, vanilla extract, lemon zest and rosemary. Pile the apple slices into the flan tin and spread them out evenly. Brush the remaining pastry sheets with butter and sprinkle with sugar, as before, then drape over the apples, each sheet at right angles to the one before it. Draw the overhanging ends lightly over the top of the pie and arrange them so they stick up as much as possible, like crumpled tissue paper. They should completely cover the top of the pie, forming a light and airy crust. Brush lightly with butter.
4. Bake for 20 minutes until golden, then very loosely cover with a sheet of foil. Continue to cook for a further 20–25 minutes. Allow it to cool slightly in the tin before transferring to a serving plate. If you feel nervous about doing this, serve it from the flan tin.
Recipe Caroline Conran
Photo David Loftus
from Issue 22
ingredients• 1kg golden delicious or chantecler apples, peeled, cored, quartered, and thinly sliced
• 100ml armagnac
• 55g unsalted butter, melted
• 270g filo pastry (approx 12 sheets)
• 115g caster sugar, plus extra
• 1 tsp vanilla sugar or a few drops of vanilla extract
• Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
• Pinch of finely chopped rosemary