This is a loose adaptation of an adaptation of a recipe from Hannah Glasse's The Art of Cooking (1747).
If you can't get suet, butter will work but the dough will be less firm. If you don't have a spring mould, any straight-sided ovenproof container will do, but it's going to be much harder to firm up the sides (in that case I recommend not trying to unmould it before it's completely done). If you don't have a meat grinder, it might be possible to grind the meat in a food processor but you should be careful not to grind it too finely. Or ask your friendly butcher to grind it and add the onion, salt and spices later.
Add suet, salt and sugar to the water and bring to the boil in a large saucepan. Add all the flour at once and mix until the texture is even (you may need the kneading attachment of an electric beater; it's very firm). Use more flour if the dough seems wet or flabby. When the dough is cool enough to touch, line a greased 20cm spring mould with about 2/3 of it, extending about 1cm over the edge. Sprinkle the bottom with breadcrumbs. Roll out the rest of the dough to a circle large enough to cover the top generously. Cut a hole in the middle (with an apple corer or a knife).
Roll some aluminium foil into a stiff tube, about 10cm long, around the handle of a wooden spoon. (Unless you have a real pie funnel, of course.)
Cut the meat into chunks, sprinkle with salt, pepper, ginger and cloves, and put it through a meat grinder alternately with chunks of onion. Knead the mince until it's smooth.
Cut the apple into smallish pieces and sprinkle with brown sugar.
Press half the mince into the lined mould. Make a hole in the middle with your finger and stick the foil tube in. Spread the apple over the meat and top with the rest of the mince. It's all right if the mould seems too small; just mound up the meat a bit around the foil tube.
Drape the rolled-out circle over the top so that the foil tube pokes through the hole. Press along the edge with your hands so the excess dough falls off (or encourage it with a blunt knife if it won't). Optionally, pinch the edges of the dough together decoratively. You can also cut shapes (leaves, for instance) from the leftover dough to decorate the pie.
Bake the pie at 175° C. It's a good idea to place the spring mould in a shallow oven dish (I used the leakproof base of a larger spring mould) because some juice is likely to drizzle out. After 1 hour, push the top of the pie gently to see if it seems firm. If not, bake for another 10-15 minutes. Take the ring off the spring mould, leaving the pie on the base.
Beat the egg yolk with the water and use it to brush the pie with. Put the pie back in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes more until it's golden brown and shiny.