Make the most of autumn's bounty with this classic dessert. Golden pastry and succulent fruit make this one of the season's great puddings.
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Melt the butter and caster sugar in a 20cm (8in) ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat. Add the vanilla pod and seeds and swirl the pan around to melt the sugar in the butter. Continue to melt together until all the sugar has dissolved and mixed with the butter to form a golden caramel.
Peel, core and quarter the apples, and then place neatly in the pan so they fit snugly in the base. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook gently for 8-10 minutes or until softened slightly. Remove from the heat, discard the vanilla pod and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
Unroll the pastry and cut out a circle 2cm (1in) wider than the diameter of the frying pan. Carefully place over the hot apples, and then press down the sides to ensure all the fruit is covered and the pastry goes to the edge. Prick all over a few times with a fork, brush with a pastry brush dipped in beaten egg and then bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until puffed up and golden.
Leave to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then run a small sharp knife between the pastry and the edge of the pan, place a serving plate over the top and invert the pan. Cut into wedges and serve with scoops of vanilla ice cream, whipped or pouring cream, or hot custard.
See more Apple and pears recipes