Fruit pie

This is a pie because it has pastry on the bottom and on the top. The pastry may be shortcrust, flaky or rough puff – just use your favourite.

Norfolk. We moved on from Alaska to Norfolk, crying all the way. ‘All You Need Is Love‘ sang the Beatles from every radio that summer and I still hold to this truth.

By Christmas we had moved a couple or three more times and were living in the country, in Broadland. The bottom of the garden was home to five old apple trees, corresponding to a bramley, pippin, pearmain and a few russets. We ate a lot of apples from then on, supplemented at this time of year by blackberries, damsons and bullaces. Mother used to freeze bags of stewed fruit too, for eating with roast pork or in puddings. In those days almost everything we ate, bar rice, olive oil and baked beans, was local.

Ingredients: For the pastry: 115g plain flour, 65g butter, 20g light brown sugar, one small egg yolk, the juice of half a lemon.

Filling: 500g assorted apples, washed cored and cubed. 100g berry fruits, fresh or frozen. 1-2 Tbsp light brown sugar, a spoonful of home made jam, the juice of half a lemon, a shake of Jamaica allspice. A handful of sliced almonds, 20ml egg and milk mix. (If no jam add extra berries and sugar).

Method: make the pastry- either shortcrust or something with layers and leave it to rest in the freezer. Wash, core and cube the apples – I have used windfalls from a Norfolk garden here. A variety of apples gives depth of flavour and textures. Put the apples and allspice in a nonstick pan along with the lemon juice and a smidgeon of butter. Cook down very slowly. Half way to al dente, add a handful of berry fruits, one spoonful of sugar (optional), stir in a spoonful of home made jam and another of water and continue. When almost soft, leave to cool. It should be thick, lumpy, fruity and jammy.

Recover the pastry from the freezer and divide in two. Roll out half so that it will fit comfortably on a baking sheet. Line this with baking parchment and carefully lay the pastry down. Leaving several centimetres all the way around, fill the middle with fruit. Then brush the edges with the egg wash, roll out the second half and lay it carefully over the top. Brush all over with more egg wash, close the edges by pressing with the tines of a fork. Finally throw over a handful of sliced almonds.

Bake at 200°C for quite a long time – maybe 40 minutes but do keep an eye on it. It all depends on how crunchy you like the pastry to be. If desired you can take it out after 25 minutes, leave to cool a little, remove the tray and lining paper and return to the oven. At this stage, for a crunchy topping, stir a spoonful of brown sugar into the remaining egg wash and brush all over the top crust.

Serve with any remaining fruit compôte, crushed, and some whipped cream.

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