It’s that time of year again.
The nights are getting darker and the morning air crisper. The clocks soon to go back and the leaves soon to fall. Autumn is well and truly settling in.
And with that in mind, the worsening weather calls for a dessert with enough home-made charm to warm even those still so in denial about the passing of Summer that they persistently wear shorts and flip-flops. You know the kind.
A simplistic, classic sweet that captures the full, fruity flavour of its contents; I’d like to think my apple and blackberry pie is capable of achieving just that.
There’s nothing complicated about a pie. After all, it’s simply pastry, sugar and the fruit of your choice.
But that’s the beauty of it. Anyone can make one, and everyone enjoys one. Particularly after kicking their way home through piles of golden leaves on a chilly October evening!
First off: The pastry.
Also: 22cm pie or flan tin, baking beans and grease proof paper.
Rub the flower and butter together until you make a crumb-like texture. I recommend washing your hands in cold water before doing so, and make sure to only use your finger tips to avoid clumping.
Stir in the sugar using a metal spoon or knife, then make a well in the middle of your mixture. Pour in your beaten egg and bring the mixture together to gradually form a dough.
Having trouble with making this happen? Not to worry. Try adding water one teaspoon at a time to help aid the process. It’ll happen eventually!
Once the dough’s good and ready, make it into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and put into the fridge to chill for just under 30 mins.
While you wait, preheat the oven to 190 degrees (170 fan oven).
Once the pastry has chilled, take two thirds and roll out onto a floured surface. The result should be big enough to fit into your tin. Trim off any edges, but leave a little overhang to allow room for any shrinking when baking.
Prick the base of your pie gently with a fork and line the inside with grease proof paper. Gently pour in your baking beans and bake in the oven for 10-15 mins. At this point we just want to firm the base, not actually cook it, so keep a close eye on its progress!
Now pop the base back into the oven for a further 5-10 minutes until the pastry is a light golden colour. Take it out and leave it to one side.
Turn your oven down to 170 degrees (150 fan).
Next for the filling.
Put the apples, blackberries, sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt into a pan. Soften the fruit on a low heat for around 10 mins.
Don’t let the syrup come to a boil! Stir regularly, also making sure that the fruit doesn’t catch to the pan.
Take your remaining third of pastry and roll out into a square shape, just a little bigger than the width of your pie. Cut your square into 8 strips, all about 2cm wide.
Fill your base with the fruit mixture so that it’s a little higher that the side of your tin. Leave enough pastry clear around the edges for you to be able to fix your lattice strips.
Lay half of the strips of pastry across the top of your pie, and in true farmhouse fashion, weave the other half across in the opposite direction. Push the edges of the lattice gently into the pastry so that it sticks firmly.
Brush the top of your masterpiece with the beaten egg and place in the oven for 20-30 mins until the top of your pastry is golden brown and the fruit mixture is bubbling.
Take out of the oven and leave to cool for a little before sprinkling with sugar.
Palatable enough for dinner parties, light enough for lunch, simple enough for a between-meal snack.
Enjoy warm with crème fraîche and hold off the cold for just one mouthful longer.