Cherry pie is my mother’s favourite thing on the planet. No, really. She could quite happily eat half a pie in a sitting (if not more), and, upon deciding my present to her for Mother’s Day this year would be a thoroughly homecooked breakfast, dinner and dessert, a cherry pie seemed a natural choice for the latter, even if it was to be my first time making anything of the sort from scratch.
Of course, being me, it wasn’t until I’d bought everything else required to make a good pie that I realised it was not the best time of year to try and buy cherries (£14 for the one bag I could find locally? No thanks!), so I decided instead to settle on something a little different, although opting for the same tart flavours, opting for a blueberry/raspberry combination instead.
After stumbling around for a while to find the best pie crust recipe I could, I settled on this one from The Pioneer Woman Cooks (one of my favourite blogs, hands down, if you’re into baking/cooking I’d definitely recommend a peek!), although I altered it slightly due to having a serious aversion to baking with lard (see my version, below).
Once the pie crust is rolled out and lining the pie dish (or, if you’re in a last-minute craze like me, a flan dish), the fun begins; making the filling. I hunted my local stores for all the berries I could find, and stumbled home, tired and a little outraged, with a bag full of a meager selection of raspberries and blueberries – not quite what I’d had in mind, and in only half the quantity I’d have liked, but, luckily, just enough. I mixed the selection with a handful of sugar, the odd spice, and some corn flour to thicken it all up, before setting it in the bottom of the pie dish, alongside two or three generous tablespoons of butter (as if you were under the impression this was a sin-free recipe!), before topping the pie off with the remaining pastry.
And decorating just a little. Because, before anything else, I find comfort in making things pretty.
Also, occasionally, I forget to brush on my egg wash and have to whip it out of the oven, super-quick, in an attempt to remedy this…and end up with a slightly uneven finish, as a result.
But then, it tasted good, so who cares, really?
How did you treat your mother this weekend?
And have you ever made your own pastry?
Summer Berry Pie: For the Crust:
- 300g flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 225g unsalted butter (cubed)
- 60ml water (cold)
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp water
- Whisk 250g of the flour with the salt and caster sugar, until just combined.
- Use a pastry cutter or food processor to combine the dry ingredients with the butter. If, like me, you possess neither, rub the butter together between your fingers to break it apart, but be careful not to overwork it; the butter should look like large crumbs in the flour mixture.
- Add another 50g of flour, mixing it until it just coats the butter.
- Pour in the water, a little at a time, until the dough just about holds together. You may not need all the water (I ended up using half).
- Split the dough into two balls and set one aside. Place the other on a lightly floured sheet of baking parchment, sprinkle more flour over the top, and place another sheet of baking parchment over the top. Use a rolling pin to flatten the ball, between the two sheets of baking paper, until it is even and large enough to cover the base of the pie dish. Then, carefully, peel off the top layer turn the whole thing upside-down over the pie dish, coating it. Use your fingers to push the pastry into the base of the dish, leaving no air bubbles.
- Pour your desired filling on top of the pastry (the recipe I used is below, if you’re stuck for inspiration!), and repeat the above instructions with the second half of the pastry dough to cover the pie, pinching the edges of the base and top layer together, to ensure no pie filling escapes. Cut three or four slits in the top layer to allow the steam to escape.
- Combine the egg and tablespoon of water in a bowl to create an egg wash, and dab onto the pie with a pastry brush.
- Bake at 220ºC (gas mark 7) for 35 minutes, or until brown, then cover the pie with foil and bake for a further 20 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and thoroughly hot all the way through.
For the Filling:
Note: Ideally, I’d double this recipe, as I didn’t find there to be quite enough filling in the final product, but I worked with what I had. It was still good, so it’s up to you!
- 185g blueberries
- 155g raspberries
- 1 tbsp corn flour
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 50g granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- Stir the blueberries, raspberries, corn flour, cinnamon and sugar until just combined, being careful not to squash the fruit too much.
- Pour the filling into the pie crust, spooning the unsalted butter liberally over the top of the filling. Top with the remaining pie crust.