I've adopted this technique after visiting an apple-pie bakery in Tokyo, where they roast apples until golden and tender before baking them inside the pastry. It means they require less sugar, remain in big chunks with a more intense natural flavour, and best of all, release excess juice as they roast, which would otherwise create too much liquid in the pie. The pieces shrink slightly, so you can pack the dish with a mountain of cooked apples and get a truly impressive pie.
9 medium-sized sweet dessert apples, such as braeburn
juice of two lemons
80g light brown or demerara sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 160C. Peel, halve and core the apples, place in a large mixing bowl and add the lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon. Toss gently to coat.
2. Bake apples in a loosely covered dish for about 40 to 50 minutes, or until tender and golden. Leave to cool in the dish then drain the apples onto a plate, reserving the slightly caramelised juice to serve with the pie.
Tip: This technique also works for other fruit. Rhubarb and firm plums need extra sugar when roasting; pears and ripe fruit slightly less.
Use the roasted apples as the filling for my apple and raspberry crumble pie.
Find more of Dan Lepard's recipes in the Good Food Favourite Recipes cookbook.