This year the fruit in the garden is wonderful – at least there’s one advantage to all the rain we’ve had!
The apples and crab apples have been prolific on the fruit trees in our mini-orchard, and the late raspberries and blackberries (which grow wild in the hedge) have been full of fruit. So, as Autumn is approaching it seems a good time to do some fruity baking – and of course, I will want to add some edible plant material as well.
Inspired by last week’s pastry week on the bake off, here’s a recipe for a blackberry, apple and pelargonium pie.
Please note that the pastry used just goes on the top of the pie, no base or sides – this would definitely result in a soggy bottom.
Makes a pie for 4, or fills 8 ramekins.
A 1½ pint (850 ml) rimmed pie dish or 6 – 8 ramekins, pastry brush, saucepan
For the shortcrust pastry:
6 oz (175 g) plain flour
1½ oz (40 g) lard
1½ oz (40 g) butter
For the filling:
4 medium cooking apples, about 1 lb (450g) or a mix with crisp dessert apples
8 oz (225 g) blackberries or raspberries or a mix
3 oz (75 g) sugar
7 pelargonium leaves such as Attar of Roses, Graveolens (not pelargonium crispum)
Milk and caster sugar
(pastry: either buy shop bought shortcrust pastry, or make your own as below):
1. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
2. Cut the fat into small cubes, add to the flour and rub in, either using fingertips or a food processor.
3. When the mixture looks uniformly crumbly, start to sprinkle roughly 2 tablespoons of cold water all over and mix in. Add more water, a little at a time, if needed, to bind the dough, and then make into a smooth ball that leaves the bowl clear.
4. Wrap the pastry in foil and leave in the fridge for about 20 – 30 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, core and slice the apples and put into a saucepan. Add the blackberries or raspberries and sprinkle the fruits with the sugar. Cook on a low heat on the hob so the juices start to flow and the sugar melts. Take off the heat and add the pelargonium leaves to the mixture. Leave to soak for 30 minutes, then remove the leaves and pour the fruit mixture into your dish(es).
6. Roll out the pastry as thinly as you can (about 3-4mm). To make the pastry lids fit perfectly, use a pastry brush to dampen the edge of the ramekins or pie dish with a little water and place a thin strip of pastry all the way around each edge, pressing down with your fingers to secure it. Cut out a pastry lid to fit the top of each dish.
7. Cut a steam hole in the centre of the pastry lid(s) and, if you have time, make some decorative leaves with the pastry trimmings by cutting around some pelargonium leaves.
9. Glaze top of pastry with a coat of milk and sprinkling of sugar.
8. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes at 190 degrees C if using a fan oven, until the pastry is crisp and beginning to colour, then lower the heat to 170C/gas mark 3 and cook the ramekins for another 10 minutes and the large dish for another 20 minutes.
9. Serve with fresh cream, ice cream or crème fraiche.