Andrew has been making home made foods for years and can be found in the kitchen experimenting with all kinds of different recipes.
Apple and Blackberry Pie
An apple and blackberry pie cooked to perfection and warm from the oven is surely one of the great culinary sights. Just smell those blackberries, oozing juice, combining beautifully with soft apple to produce a classic treat.
It's the end of July, nearing August, summer has peaked, and swallows are thinking of warmer climes. Farmers are harvesting the wheat, and the days are still long and warm.
Now's the time to get out into the countryside and pick those delicious-looking shiny blackberries! Beautiful and free! Perfect for a classic blackberry and apple pie.
It's long been the tradition in my family to scramble amongst the bramble and collect as many ripe blackberries as possible in readiness for a blackberry and apple pie, possibly the best pie you could ever bake.
Being out in nature is absolutely the best way to harvest your food, but with this pie, you could at a push use blackberries from a tin. I'll forgive you the luxury.
I've kept things nice and simple in this recipe—my pie came out a success and, believe me, if that's possible you too can make one just as good! Bon appetit!!
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
1 hour 10 min
2 hours 5 min
Serves six to eight people
- 300g plain white flour
- 80g butter, cold
- half a cup water, cold
- 4–5 cups fresh blackberries
- 6 large bramley cooking apples
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 5 tablespoons lemon juice
- Shortcrust pastry: In a large bowl, mix together flour and butter until crumbly. You can use a fork or your fingers to do this. Add cold water little by little until the mixture starts to bind together and you can form a rough ball. Try not to handle too much. The gentler you are the better the pastry will turn out. Pop it in the fridge to keep cool.
- Clean your freshly picked blackberries. My grandmother always used warm water and a teaspoon of vinegar in a glass bowl—leave the blackberries for about 5 minutes, then rinse them until squeaky clean.
- Peel the apples and slice into bite-sized pieces. Leave them in water and add a squeeze of lemon juice to stop them turning brown. You may want to cook the apple for 5–10 minutes to soften it up but this isn't always necessary.
- Roll out enough pastry to fit the bottom of your pie dish. You don't want the pastry too thin at this stage. Cut off any surplus pastry and save for later. Pop in the oven and bake until slightly brown. This will take about 15 minutes at 180c, but times can vary according to your oven.
- Line the dish with sliced apple first followed by a generous layer of blackberries. Repeat this layering until you reach near the top of the dish. You may want to add the honey at this point, dripping it round and round off a teaspoon.
- Roll out the pastry lid to the correct thickness. Brush the outer rim with milk or water and press lid down with thumb and finger to get a seal. Use a fork end to pattern the rim and to help seal the pastry. Use any extra pastry left over to decorate the lid. Cut several slots into the lid to help the steam escape when cooking.
- Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes at 180c, or until crust is golden brown and fruit cooked thoroughly. If you have a fan oven time may vary.
- Choose a safe place for picking your blackberries—away from roads and pollution, above the 'dog line', and not on private land. Pick only those that are shiny, deep purple/black and clean. Leave those that are old, bruised, half-eaten!
- Add sugar to the fruit if you like a sweeter version. Three tablespoons for a large pie should be enough. Extra honey can also be added.
- For a proper pie, the whole dish should be pastry-lined so bake the inner pastry first (as per the instructions) to ensure it will not go soggy when the final bake takes place. Thicker pastry absorbs all the juices, thinner pastry tends to get soggy.
- It's possible to slow bake the pie if you turn the oven down to 80–100c. This guarantees soft fruit but make sure you don't burn the pastry by regularly checking on the pie.
- Serve with thick cream, custard, yoghurts and a sprinkling of sugar if needed.
Although considered an invasive weed by many the blackberry plant - known as brambles in the UK - can be 'tamed' and grown as a useful provider of extremely healthy food. Once the shoots and roots are under control in a viable area of a garden or plot fresh berries are guaranteed year after year, especially if the plot is south facing.
Blackberries contain many acids, oils and antioxidants which can be of benefit to health and even help fight cancerous growth.
Some commercial varieties of blackberry are seedless, which means that they are easier to digest but don't contain as much fibre as those picked in the wild.
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© 2012 Andrew Spacey