Preheat the oven to 180°C, Gas Mark 4.
For the pastry
Add the salt to the flour. Either rub the cold butter into the flour with your finger tips in a bowl, or pulse flour and butter in the food processor, until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add 2 tbspn cold water and, with a table knife in the bowl, or using the food processor, mix in until it forms a ball. Add the other tbsp if it is not coming together. Tip out onto a flour surface and knead very gently until smooth. Do not over work. Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Remove from fridge and roll out on a floured surface to a thickness of half a cm. Choose a pie dish with a flat rim about 1 cm wide. Place it top down onto the rolled out pastry, and cut around the outside about 1 cm larger than the pie dish, to create the pastry top. Do the same with the ready-made pastry if chosen. From the pastry trimmings, cut ribbons of pastry the same width as the pie dish rim, and long enough to fit all around the edge.
For the filling
Tip peeled, cored and chopped apples with the lemon juice and zest into the pie dish. Dust over the sugar and spice, and add the raisins or sultanas, turning the filling to coat the apple pieces thoroughly with the other ingredients.
Wet the rim of the pie dish, and carefully arrange the ribbons of pastry all the way round, pressing gently into place. Wet the top of the pastry ribbons, and carefully lay the pastry top over the filling and ribbons. Trim off any overhanging pastry at the edges with a knife, and use a fork to press the pastry gently onto the wetted edge to form a seal. Make a couple of small holes in the pastry top with a knife to let out steam. Brush with a little water, and sprinkle over the caster sugar.
Bake for 35 minutes until golden.
Freezing and defrosting guidelines
Once the dish has cooled completely, transfer it to an airtight, freezer-safe container, seal and freeze for up to 1-3 months. To serve, defrost thoroughly in the fridge overnight. Loosely cover with foil and bake until dish is thoroughly heated through if wanting to serve warm.
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