These simple apple and almond pies looks impressive because of the plaited pastry (a trick I learnt years ago from an Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook), but are quick and easy and can be assembled up to a day ahead. Butter puff pastry makes a big difference to the flavour and mouth-feel; Carême brand is a great freezer staple to keep on hand. It does soften quickly, so keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the pies, then work fast and, if it gets too soft, put it back in the fridge for 10 minutes or so before continuing. Keep it on the plastic sheet it’s packed in until the pies are ready to go onto the baking tray, as this makes them easier to move. I whip some Disaronno amaretto liqueur into the cream and then serve a glass of it with dessert, it works a treat with the marzipan and almonds.
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 small Granny Smith apple
- 50g butter, melted
- 40g flaked almonds
- 375g ready-rolled butter puff pastry
- 75g marzipan
- Icing sugar, for brushing
- Whipped cream, for serving
- Place lemon juice in a mixing bowl and stir in sugar.
- Peel, quarter, core and finely slice apple. Chop roughly and toss with lemon juice and sugar.
- Melt about two-thirds of the butter in a small frying pan, add almonds and stir for a few minutes, until lightly golden.
- Toss through the apple mixture and set aside.
- Cut pastry sheet into quarters.
- Slice marzipan into 12 discs and place 3, overlapping slightly, in a strip down the centre of each pastry square, leaving a 1cm gap at either end.
- Drain any excess liquid from the apple mixture.
- Top marzipan with apple mixture, covering the centre third of each pastry square and leaving a 1cm gap at either end.
- Using a sharp knife, make 8 horizontal cuts in each square either side of the apple, cutting from the edge to the apple mixture.
- Fold the 2 top and bottom strips around the apple mixture, pressing the ends together to form an enclosure around the filling.
- Fold remaining strips over the top of the filling, working from side to side and stretching them slightly, to create a plaited pattern.
- Place on a baking paper-lined oven tray and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 220°C.
- Melt remaining butter.
- Brush pastries with butter and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden.
- Dust with icing sugar and serve with whipped cream.