Summer Berry Pie

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Today, the end of a great weekend spent having fun and frolics in the country, is also simultaneously a horrible hangover day. The tired overwhelming crap feeling is hanging about like a bad fart, and anytime I think I feel remotely better the waves of terror start again. Its merciless and i’m like a sea sick puppy in gale force 10 winds. It truthfully feels like a Gorilla has been let loose in my skull and is tap dancing on the delicate vessels of my brain. The only thing getting me through is the though that I will be tucked up in my comfy bed in an hour and that I have a chunky slice of the Berry beauty cozily wrapped up in my fridge for breakfast tomorrow.
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I made this Pie in a, pre-weekend fit, of energy and organisation to serve to my friends for pudding on Friday night. I am so glad that I choose this one, instead of opting for Brownies or Rocky Road, as I nearly did, because by now there would be none left – boys are merciless when it comes to chocolate.This time the pie was a lot tarter then usual. I used a majority of Blackcurrants, which are a lot more bitter then my usual Raspberry, Strawberry, Blackberry combo. I like it a little more sour because I serve it hot from the oven with a dollop of good vanilla or chocolate ice cream. The ice cream adds the extra sweetness without the pudding being too sickly.
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What is so great about this Pie is that there is no blind-baking, so its a minimum faff. If you aren’t a fan of the Berry idea then by all means try it with stewed Rhubarb, Apple or Cherry.  Please observe the straight backs and necks craned in interest, at the dinner table when this Pie is served. You will never see kiddies or adults behave so well.
In recent months i have taken to using Spelt Flour when baking instead of the usual Plain Blend because its a lot easier to digest. If you are interested in trying it, and happen to be in a big supermarket at any time soon, look out for it.
The Pastry
  • 300g Plain Flour
  • 1 tbs Golden Caster Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 180g Butter
  • 125ml Water

The Filling

  • 1kg Mixed Berries, frozen or fresh
  • 1 tbs Lemon Juice
  • 100g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 3 tbs Plain Flour
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Method

Mix the flour, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Cut the butter into small chunks and add to the bowl. Use a blender or your fingers to work the butter into the flour until you have the texture of wet sand.  Slowly add the water and mix until the dough starts to come together. Use your hands to knead the dough into a ball. Divide dough in half. Wrap each half in Cling Film and chill in the freezer for half and hour.

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To make the Filling

Add all the berries to a sieve and run under the tap for 30 seconds or so, to remove extra lumps on ice and water. Add the berries to a large saucepan with the lemon juice, flour and sugar and put on a low heat. This will melt in the sugar, defrost the berries and make any excess water evaporates. Keep them on a low heat for 5-10 minutes, there should be a little liquid in the bottom but it must be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Cool the berry mixture in the fridge, You don’t want the mixture to be hot when going into the pastry because they will melt the butter and make it less likely to crisp up, so make sure its cool and no warmer then room temperature.

Cover a clean surface with a little flour, use enough so the pastry doesn’t stick but don’t over do it because too much flour can make the pastry dry and more likely to crack when you roll it.Gently roll out one ball of pastry into a circle shape, until it is roughy 12 inches in diameter.You can do this bit by bit, rotating the dough as you roll to get even thickness. Dust the surface with more flour as you go along if you need it.
Grease your pie dish with a knob of butter. Dust your rolling pin with flour and gently roll the pastry up around the rolling pin to transfer it to the pie dish. Gently unroll it and arrange it in the dish. Trip the edges of the pastry so they is only 1-2 inches of overhang.

Pour the berry filling and all its juices into the bottom of the dish, making sure it is evenly distributed. Roll out the other half of the pastry until it is 12 cm in diameter. For this half you can roll the pastry sligtly thicker. Using a cutter or a knife, cut the pastry into long strips of 1-2 inches thick. Arrange the lattice shape on the Pie by alternating the strip going horizontally, then vertically. Continuing until the pie is covered.
(If you aren’t into the Lattice effect, you can cover the dish with the circe of pastry as it is. Just make sure to cut a few vents in the pie before cooking it. You could also use the pastry offcuts to decorate it.)
Trim the strips of pastry for the Lattice so they are the correct diameter of the pie. Fold the rim, from the underside of the pie, up and crimp the pastry together decoratively. Glaze the Pastry with a milk or an egg wash, sprinkle with a little golden sugar and add to the oven.

In a fan oven – Bake for 15 mins at 200 degrees celsius.

Reduce the heat to 180 and cook for a further 20 mins or until the pastry is golden and crisp. (In a non-fan oven, cook the pastry for an extra 25 mins after reducing the heat to 180 degrees celsius.)

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