I love making a meal for the family on Sunday. Sometimes they come to my house; sometimes I take everything to theirs. It’s more of the latter the moment. With two little boys having school and pre-school the next morning and needing early nights, it’s easier to be based at their home. We don’t ‘do’ lunch as we all feel it finishes off the day too early; it’s hard to do much after a big meal. But supper is eaten early to accommodate the boys.
I’m becoming quite expert at transporting food; I joke about opening a delivery service! Thus, this open fruit pie that I’ve been making for years – basically a Delia Smith recipe from her Summer Collection – and traditionally laid out and baked on a baking tray, I decided to put in a pie dish for easy transportation.
I dug the pie dish out of the back of my cupboard; I hadn’t used it in years but it was perfect for my needs. Then it was time to start baking … I used Delia’s recipe as a guide but made some adjustments, including making a richer pastry and using eating apples so I had to add minimum sugar.
Apple & Blackberry Open Pie
- 3 medium cooking apples
- 125g blackberries
- 1 dessertspoon soft brown sugar
- 1 egg, separated
- a little semolina if you have some
- a little Demerara sugar
- 200g plain flour
- 100g butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar
- a little (1-2 tablespoons) water
First of all make the pastry.
Put all the ingredients in a food processor (just 1 tablespoon water to start) and blitz until it all comes together into a ball of dough. Add a little more water if necessary. Remove from the mixer, flatten out into a thick disc on a floured surface, wrap in cling film and leave in a cool place for about 20-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel and core the apples. Cut into thin slices and put in a bowl with the blackberries and sugar. Mix.
Lightly grease a pie dish. Roll out the pastry so it’s bigger than the circumference of the dish by about 3cm and carefully place on the dish.
Brush beaten egg yolk over the base and if you have some semolina (I had semolina flour), dust a little over the egg yolk. This is to prevent the base becoming soggy as the fruit cooks. Now tip the fruit into the pastry base.
Fold the edges over towards the middle. It’s supposed to look a bit messy – or ‘artisan’ or ‘rustic’ if we’re being posh and trendy. Brush a little egg white round the edge so the topping will brown. Sprinkle over a little Demerara sugar. Place in a preheated oven at 200C/Fan 180/Gas 6 for about 30-35 minutes, or until the pastry is browning nicely.
Remove from the oven. I cooked mine ahead of time but as Delia suggests serving it warm, planned to warm through once we’d started eating our supper.
As I mentioned recently, my family like custard with fruit crumbles and pies but I decided to serve this with cream. As my son loves Cornish clotted cream, that’s what I bought. It seemed to me the pie should be eaten warm (not hot) with a little cream on the side.
We had roast chicken as our main. When that came out of the oven, I put the apple & blackberry pie into the oven – turning it down a bit – to warm through again while we ate our chicken. Come pudding time, slices of the pie were cut, a good dollop of clotted cream put on the side, and we all tucked in. Everyone loved it. I was really pleased with the pastry which had turned out so gloriously light and melt-in-the-mouth flaky. The apple was cooked through but holding its shape; the blackberries plump and juicy. It was in many ways the simplest of desserts but one of the finest when it all goes well. I used to make this pie a lot but hadn’t made it in a long time. However, it was such a success I’m sure it will once again become a regular on the family Sunday meal menu, maybe with some other fruits as they come into season.