Apple and blackberry pie
This take on a traditional apple pie uses homemade pastry and foraged brambles to create a truly tasty dessert. Using a combination of cooking and eating apples adds both an apple sauce texture and sweetness!
For the pastry
- 375g/13oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 200g/7oz salted butter, chilled and diced
- 50g/1¾oz icing sugar
- 1 large free-range egg, separated, plus 1 large free-range egg yolk
For the filling
- 2 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and diced
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 75g/2¾oz granulated sugar, plus extra for sweetening and dusting
- 4 eating apples (a sharp, crisp variety such as Braeburn), peeled, cored and cut into large chunks or slices
- 250–300g/9–10½oz blackberries (frozen is fine)
- vanilla ice cream, clotted or single cream, to serve
To make the pastry, put the flour and butter in a food processor and whizz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Pulse in the icing sugar. Whisk the two egg yolks with 1 tablespoon of cold water in a small bowl then drizzle over the flour mixture. Pulse until the dough starts clumping together in chunks – if it is too dry, add an extra teaspoon of water at a time. Tip out onto a work surface and knead briefly to bring together into a smooth dough. To make by hand, rub the butter and flour together with your fingertips until no big buttery lumps remain. Stir in the sugar, then whisk the egg and water as above and mix in with a cutlery knife until the pastry starts to clump together.
Split the pastry into two pieces, with one being a little larger than the other. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
To make the filling, put the Bramley apples, lemon zest, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in a saucepan. Cover with a lid and bring to a simmer over a low–medium heat. Stir occasionally, returning the lid each time, until the apples are very soft. Beat over a high heat to drive off any remaining liquid and smash the apples to a purée. Take the apple purée off the heat and stir in the eating apples and blackberries. Taste for sweetness and, if the blackberries are too sharp, add a tablespoon more sugar.
Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7 and preheat a baking tray (or pizza stone). Roll out the bigger piece of pastry on a lightly floured surface until big enough to line a 20–22cm/8–8½in pie dish with an overhang. Add the apple mixture, doming towards the centre, then roll out the second piece of pastry until big enough to cover the dish. Brush a little of the egg white around the pastry rim of the pie, then carefully lift on the top pastry to cover. Press down the edges to seal and trim any overhang with a sharp knife. Poke a few holes in the top of the pie, crimp the edge and decorate with any trimmings, if you like. Use egg white or water to stick on any pastry decorations.
Whisk the remaining egg white with a fork or mini whisk until bubbly. Lightly brush the bubbly egg white all over the top of the pie and sprinkle heavily with a layer of granulated sugar. Place the pie dish on the preheated baking tray and cook for 10 minutes, then lower the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4 and bake the pie for a further 35–40 minutes until golden. Cut into slices and serve with ice cream or cream.
Plate pies are very forgiving if you’re a homemade pastry novice. But if you really don’t fancy making your own pastry, just use 2 x 320g/11½oz ready-rolled shortcrust pastry sheets or roll your own with 600g/1lb 5oz from a 1kg/2lb 4oz pastry block. For a block of pastry, divide as in Step 2 then follow the method above. For sheets, cut a portion from the short edge and stick onto the side to turn the sheet from a rectangle to a rough square, then roll out more thinly until big enough to line and top the dish.
Foraged brambles can vary greatly in sharpness, especially when compared to the milder ‘dessert’ blackberries grown and sold commercially, so you may want to stir in more sugar if it is a little mouth-puckering.