Thursday, 20 October 2011

Blackberry Pie- a happy part of Autumn.

This week has been a mixture of days that make me hatehateHATE the fact that I happen to belong to a country where it's normal for gallons and gallons and gallons of cold water is dumped on ones head in the space of 30 minutes, and days which make me think, actually, isn't autumn lovely, yes I like autumn.

Usually I hate that summer has gone. Uuh walking home in a ridiculously unwaterproof waterproof coat (it's read and shiny so I forgive it), leaving me sopping and numb assures me that I am most definitely built for warmer climes and leaves me ready to bolt to the equator, imagine having a warm face all. the. time. But some days, when its chilly but sunny, and a crispy leaf falls at my feet I do in fact think mmm I like autumn, orange is a happy colour.

Another little bit of autumn joy is that it's pie season, and who doesn't like a good bit of pie? Up here there's justjust enough berries hanging around to make an hour or so running around with a punnet worth the scratched fingers, leaving you in return with a beacon of what's good about autumn.

It's something to think about when your trousers are so wet that you can't feel your thighs, and when you're hair looks like you've forward-rolled to your destination. It's something to remind your that Scotland is great and you're very lucky to live somewhere so lovely, and that you don't have to travel halfway round the world to see beautiful parts of it. Love or hate autumn, making a pie can only make your chilly day better. With Love and Cake.

Blackberry Pie

A few notes:
  • Of course this could be any pie...blackberry and apple, apple, raspberry in the summer...what evs.
  • Feel free to tweak the amount of sugar depending on the sweetness of the fruit and the spice or flavour to suit the fruit and your preference.
  • This is best left to cool to around room temperature before eating, that way the filling sort of sets and doesn't dribble everywhere.
  • This pastry is beautifully buttery and melt-in-the-mouthey thanks to the addition of ground almonds and a light hand. What that also means though is that it’s a bit of a bum to roll out because it is so short  and crumbly. What I tend to end up doing is rolling it out to the thickness I want, attempting to line the tin, and then patching up and patting in the leftovers into gaps and tears. So don’t be disheartened it will turn good in the end.
Makes an 18cm pie
You will need

An 18cm round cake tin or pie dish, greased

For the pastry
210g plain flour
50g caster sugar
50g ground almonds
125g butter
1 egg

For the filling
400g Blackberries
90g soft brown sugar
1.5 tbsp cornflour
2 tsp cinnamon
splash milk
a handful granulated sugar

  • So let’s get going. First things first make the pastry by popping all the dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse together. Then whiz in the butter followed by the egg and leave trundling around until it comes together to form a dough (you could also do this by rubbing in the butter with your finger tips then mixing in the egg by hand).
  • Turn out the dough, pat into a disc and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°c.
  • When the pastry's ready, roll it out as best you can and line the tin (see note). Roll out the leftovers and keep for the top.
  • Mix the berries, brown sugar, corn flour and cinnamon together in a bowl and tumble into the pastry case.
  • Cover with the remaining pastry tucking and folding the edges to join the base and make it nice and homemade looking. 
  • Slice a little hole in the top for escaping steam.
  • Brush the top of the pie with milk and sprinkle liberally with the granulated sugar.
  • Bake, on a baking sheet in case of leakages, for 10 minutes then turn the oven temperature down to 180°c and cook for another 35 minutes until the pastry is golden and the underneath looks bubblingly good.
  • Serve warmish/room temp with cream or ice cream or custard, or all 3 if it's super cold and rainy.

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