Who didn’t grow up with Blackberry and Apple Pie, it is a dish that makes many of us nostalgic and for me it also heralds the turning of the season. So, what makes the perfect Blackberry & Apple Pie? Everyone has a different view, but for me it comes down to ingredients. The perfect pastry, sweet English apples, and blackberries that have just enough acidity to contrast with the sugar-crusted pastry (shop bought blackberries are often much sweeter than wild ones). I am lucky as between the windfalls from my neighbor’s apple, Amanda’s allotment, and local hedgerows my house is well stocked with apples from September to November. Blackberries are around until the end of the month, so now is the time to make your pies!
For preference I would always use a classic short crust pastry, light and not too sweet it will enhance the magical contents within, leaving that to be the star of the show. Plus, of course, it must stay crisp on top! Of course, my way may not be your way, but experimenting is always fun, and I can guarantee no one is going to complain if you are serving up your creations every week until you find the perfect recipe – so go for it!
Sue’s Perfect Blackberry & Apple Pie (serves 6-8)
You will need a traditional 2 litre pie dish that measures about 30cm in length.
Ingredients – For the pastry
- 250g plain flour
- 150g butter, cold from the fridge
- 150g lard, cold from the fridge
- Ice-cold water
Ingredients – For the filling
- 6 large Bramley apple
- 2 large handfuls of blackberries
- Sugar to taste
- Double Cream or Custard to serve
- Put the flour into a large mixing bowl with a small pinch of salt. Cut the butter and lard into small chunks and rub into the flour with your thumbs and fingertips. To bring the mixture into a ball add a little ice-cold water one tablespoonful at a time. Draw the dough in from the sides to form a ball. Be careful not to add too much water at once – you want a dough that is firm enough to roll, but soft enough to demand careful lifting. Once complete set aside in the fridge for 30 minutes, covered in a tea towel.
- Set the over to 200 degrees centigrade (gas mark 6). Peel, core and quarter the apples, cutting them into thick slices or chunks, whichever you prefer. Put them into the pie dish. Taste the apple to gauge the sweetness, and then add sugar accordingly – I keep my sugar quite light, but you may want to add up to a tablespoon per apple if you have a sweet tooth! Add the blackberries and toss them with the apples and sugar.
- Roll the pastry out to fit the top of the dish. You want enough extra pastry around the edge to be able to cut off and cover the rim of the dish, plus a few scraps to make some leaves to decorate.
- Wet the rim of the pie dish with water then fix the outer rim of pastry to it, cutting and pasting to fit. Wet with water or beaten egg and then lift the pastry topping onto the pie, pressing the edge firmly onto the pastry rim. Crimp it to seal with your thumb and first finger, or by pressing down with the prongs of a fork.
- Cut two short slits in the centre of the pastry to let out any steam and decorate the top of the pie with scraps of pastry cut into leaves. Brush with a little milk and dust with caster sugar.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and pale gold.
p.s. If you really hate making pastry don’t let this stop you – just buy ready-made – it’s still a home made pie!
Suzanne is a professional chef, wife and mother who has lived in East Dulwich all her life!
This article first appeared in the September 2018 issue of SE22 magazine.