Saturday, August 16, 2014


Blackberry and apple pie, rustic and comforting                                                                                                                UHG
The mind boggles to think that one day you can be frantically stuffing your travel kit into bags in Cape Town and the next be peacefully stuffing blackberries into your gob, while dawdling along the South Downs in Sussex.

Careful not too squish them                                                                            UHG
Blackberries are everywhere and I’m visiting at just the right time: the berries are dark, plump and mostly sweet. The odd sour one causes your face to crinkle, but the sweetness and tartness all baked in a pie with wild apples is perfect.

Jumping for apples                                                                                                                                                                   UHG  
During an idle wander ‘in England’s green and pleasant land’ Laura and I filled a small tub with juicy blackberries. We also came across a surprising number of apple trees growing wild. The apples were those tart zingy ones perfect for cooking. Obviously it was PIE TIME…


For the pastry

          250g plain flour
-       125g butter
-       Caster sugar to taste (I used about 1 tablespoon)
-       1 egg yolk (optional; makes the process easier)
-       A dash of cold water; only if pastry feels a little dry
-       A little milk for painting over the pastry
-       A sprinkle of sugar

Pastry takes a delicate touch                                                                                                                                                   UHG
For the mix   

3 large apples; peeled and cut into little chunks
-       About a cup and a half of England’s finest freshly picked blackberries
-       A shake of sugar
-       A few knobs of butter


For the pastry
Cut cold butter into small cubes and rub into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs (use a mixing bowl). Because I’m a rubbish outfit when it comes to making pastry, I use an egg yolk to bind the dough; if you are using a yolk, mix it into the ‘breadcrumbs’ using a fork until it is incorporated. Tip the mixture onto a flat surface and gently knead until you can form a smooth ball, but be careful not overwork it. Flatten it into a thick disk, wrap in clingfilm and pop into the fridge to let it relax for about half an hour.

Nip and tuck                                                                                                                                                                           UHG
For the pie mix
Peel and cut the apples into small chunks and pop into a pie dish (I used a 22cm one), add the blackberries and gently mix. Sprinkle with sugar (I don’t like too much) and evenly space a few nubbins of butter on top. Gently (and I say gently!) roll out the pastry on a floured surface until it is big enough to comfortably cover the top of the dish. Wet the rim of the dish. Now do what those celeb chefs do on the telly and carefully roll up the delicate pastry on the rolling pin. Transfer to the pie dish and unroll. Trim the overhanging pastry and pinch to seal the edge and stab a hole or two through the surface to stop it exploding. Finally, brush with milk, sprinkle with sugar and pop into the oven at 200°C for about 40 minutes or until golden and crispy. Share and enjoy a quintessentially English dish.

Twenty down, only another hundred to go…                                           UHG

Laura plucking an apple along the way from one of the many apple trees growing wild                                       UHG

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