Archive for February, 2011

Blackberry and blueberry pie

February 20, 2011

I love the variety and quantity of fruit available during summer, and if I were to make a list of my favourite fruits, the different sorts of berries would certainly come somewhere near the top. I’ve attempted to make such a list in the past but the occupant of the top position changes depending on what fruit I’m currently eating, so it’s really more of a top-ten-fruits-in-no-particular-order list. But berries are definitely in the top ten.

Yesterday the farmer’s markets were overflowing with blackberries and blueberries of the plumpest and sweetest type, so I decided to celebrate by making them into a pie.

A few tips: using only egg yolks (add a bit of extra water) and working your pastry as little as possible ensures it won’t shrink or bloat into an enormous chewy lump. This is because egg whites act as a raising agent (not ideal in pastry), and rolling and kneading will develop the gluten threads, destroying the crumbly, ‘short’ texture. It’s easiest (and quickest) if you use a food processor to rub the butter into the flour. Shortcrust pastry demystified (you can thank me later).

Blackberry and Blueberry Pie

The filling is fairly oozy especially when warm, so add some gelatine if you’d like it a bit more solid. However sometimes the messiness adds to the enjoyment: as with mud pies, so with berry pies.

1 quantity Jamie’s sweet shortcrust pastry (you’ll have some leftover so pop it in the freezer)

500g blackberries

250g blueberries

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

1-2 tbs lemon juice

3 tbs sugar (or to taste)

1-2 tbs cornflour

23(ish)cm glass pie dish

Make the pastry according to Jamie’s instructions. While it’s resting in the fridge, start the pie filling.

Put the sugar, cornflour, lemon zest and juice into a saucepan and add the blackberries. Stir over a low heat until sugar is dissolved, then increase heat to medium-high and cook until mixture thickens, ~5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

While the filling is cooling, line your pie dish. First butter and dust with flour to keep pastry from sticking, then cut 6mm slices of pastry and lay them over the bottom and up the sides of the dish. Wet your fingers, press together the edges, and even out any inadvertent topography until you have a nice smooth surface. Pop it in the freezer, pie dish and all, for about 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 180°C.

Bake your tart shell for 15 minutes or until starting to dry out. While it’s baking, roll out half of the remaining pastry. With the cookie cutter of your choice (I used a star because, y’know, I have this thing for stars), cut out enough shapes to sparsely cover the top of your pie. Put the shapes carefully on a lined baking tray, and when the tart shell comes out of the oven, pop them in for about 5 minutes.

Once blackberry mixture is almost cooled, stir through the blueberries: adding them at this stage keeps them from bursting. Pour the berry filling into the tart shell and lay the pastry shapes over the top. Put the whole thing back into the oven for 25 minutes or until the pastry is starting to brown.

Divine served with thick double or clotted cream, either warm or cold.

New favourite blog

February 18, 2011

I’ve long had a bit of a thing for woodland animals (e.g. all those owls, the stag on my door). So it should come as no surprise that the blog taking up most of my stringently-rationed internet bludge-time lately is devoted to foxes.

If you’re likewise inclined, head over to fuckyeahfoxfriends for all the wonderfullest fox pictures.