less than 30 mins
30 mins to 1 hour
Makes 12 small pies
These little pies are filled with a luscious fruity mix, spiked with a little alcohol. They remind me of the fruit pies my Nan used to make: a real treat, especially when served warm with whipped cream. I’ve given you three fillings to choose from; each uses the full quantity of pastry.
For the sweet shortcrust pastry, mix the flour and icing sugar together in a bowl. Add the butter and rub it in lightly with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively, do this in a food processor or a mixer and then transfer to a bowl.
In a separate bowl or jug, mix the egg with the lemon juice and two tablespoons of water. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the egg mix. Using a table knife, work the liquid into the flour to bring the pastry together. If it seems too dry, add a splash more water. When the dough begins to stick together, use your hands to gently knead it into a ball. Wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
To make any of the fillings, first cut the fruit into 1cm/½in pieces.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan or deep saucepan set over a medium heat. Add the fruit, sugar, lemon zest (if applicable) and the alcohol. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the fruit is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.
Leave the fruit mix to go cold, mix in the mascarpone (if applicable), then chill the mixture.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to a thickness of 2–3mm. Using an 8.5cm/3½in plain cutter, cut out 12 circles and use them to line a bun tray (the kind you would use for fairy cakes, not a deep muffin tray). Re-roll the pastry as necessary and cut out 12 smaller circles, 6cm/2½in in diameter, for the lids.
Spoon the fruit filling into the pastry cases, taking care not to overfill them. Dampen the rim of the pastry with a little water and top each pie with a lid. Press a smaller cutter over the pie to seal the edge and trim away any excess pastry. Make a couple of small steam holes in the top of each pie.
Brush the pastry lid with a little milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 25–30 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp and golden-brown.
Leave to cool in the tin for five minutes before removing. Serve warm or at room temperature, within 24 hours of baking (or they’ll start to lose their crispness).