An Old Fashioned Kinda Pie! Heirloom Apple or Fruit Tart Recipe

Apple and Blackberry Pie

An Old Fashioned Kinda Pie!

Heirloom Apple or Fruit Tart


An Old Fashioned Kinda Pie! Heirloom Apple or Fruit Tart Recipe

An Old Fashioned Kinda Pie! Heirloom Apple or Fruit Tart Recipe

Damp tea cloths are drying on the handles of an AGA range, and as well as damp linen the air is full of baking aromas……cinnamon vies with apples and the vague scent of buttery pastry is also omnipresent in the old cottage kitchen; it’s baking day and there are cakes, scones, pies, tarts and bread ranged over the table, marching across the scrubbed pine with determination whilst flaunting their fragrant beauty. Such was the sight that met my eyes when I stayed with or visited my grandparents in rural County Durham when I was a child. Rich in “Pounds, Shillings and Pence” they were not, but their riches were far more valuable than money as they had their own fresh water stream, a large one acre garden filled with fruit, vegetables and herbs as well as the old stone cottage where the scrubbed pine table took pride of place in the kitchen. Ingredients were seasonal, there was no “air miles” asparagus in December, or lack lustre strawberries in February, but seasonal ingredients were the pride of each meal that was cooked, and the flavour was all the better for it. Bread was made at home, and milk was delivered in milk churns on the back of a farmer’s wagon, and then ladled into shiny billy cans.

Milk Churns

Milk Churns: Image –

My grandparents grew rhubarb, the most amazing gooseberries the size of plums, apples, pears and a myriad of other fruit, flowers and vegetables. We went “nutting” in early autumn and “brambling” at the end of the summer……there were “fairy mushrooms” in the garden and birds who were so tame they would hop through the front door in search of crumbs. They had no running water when they first moved in and the “loo” was a chemical “thunder box” outside, but my bedroom was in the attic and my little truckle bed was directly under the roof window so every evening I viewed the magnificence of the firmament as it spun around the earth…..shooting stars were my television viewing and I once saw a shower of shooting stars that rivalled most Bonfire night displays, spinning and careering across the sky in a burst of silvery sequins, they shimmered for hours in my imagination afterwards, and I fell asleep with a sense of excitement and wonder.

Ebchester Bridge County Durham

Ebchester Bridge County Durham

These aren’t nostalgic ramblings, they are simply a record of the way things were……it’s wasn’t easy or glamorous, water had to be collected by buckets from the stream and we used to walk 2 miles to the nearest bus stop; most winters my grandparents were marooned and “snowed in”, but, I can honestly say that they were happy and content with their lot. I once re-visited their cottage in my late twenties and wished I had kept my memories of the old cottage rather than the ugly vision of the new “cottage” that confronted me – it had been over renovated to what can only be described as “yuppy” standard with many “faux” features added, such a stone cladding on top of the BEAUTIFUL old stones that the cottage had been built from. The kitchen was modern, the open fireplace had gone – along with the soul of the building and the garden had been tamed…….it was a painful journey that I wish I had never undertaken. There were still some gooseberry bushes growing down by the stream though…..a prickly green remnant from the past… made me feel slightly happier.

Heirloom Apple or Fruit Tart (Pie)

Heirloom Apple or Fruit Tart (Pie)

Today’s recipe for Apple and Blackberry Tart (or pie) is taken from the 1933 edition of the Radiation Cookery Book, and is exactly the same recipe as my grandmother used to bake in her old cottage kitchen. It’s my VERY late entry for Dom’s (Belleau Kitchen) Random Recipes in April, that was a combined challenge with Caroline Makes and Ros’s (The More than Occasional Baker) Alphabakes baking/cooking event. The letter was “A” and the random book was the Radiation Cookery Book 1933, and, my mum made the pie you see in the photos! The “A” is for APPLE in my recipe, and I am so sorry that a nasty bout of flu’ got in the way of me posting this on time, as my mum DID bake this pie well before the deadline! That’s all for today, do pop back later for more musings and new recipes, as well as my Cooking with Herbs round-up (also LATE) and the new Cooking with Herbs challenge, which is late too! Have a great bank holiday weekend, Karen 

Apple and Blackberry Pie

Apple and Blackberry Pie

Heirloom Apple or Fruit Tart (Pie)

Serves 6
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 50 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Dessert, Side Dish, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Occasion Casual Party, Christmas, Easter, Formal Party, Halloween, Thanksgiving
Region British
From book Radiation Cookery Book (1933)
A true classic tart (pie) recipe for an heirloom one crust tart (pie as we call them nowadays). Taken from the Radiation Cookery Book 1933, a book that was published for cooks who used the new "Regulo" gas cookers of the day.


  • 1/2 lb shortcrust pastry (225g)
  • 2lbs apples (900g)
  • Sugar, to sweeten
  • Water


  • Blackberries


A true classic tart (pie) recipe for an heirloom one crust tart (pie as we call them nowadays). Taken from the Radiation Cookery Book 1933, a book that was published for cooks who used the new "Regulo" gas cookers of the day.


Step 1 Peel, cut up and core the apples and place in a pie dish with the sugar. Leave to stand a short time and then stir up. Add a little water.
Step 2 Roll out the pastry a little larger than the pie dish. Trim off a strip about 1/2" (2cms) wide. Damp the edge of the pie dish and cover with the strip. damp the pastry and then cover with the remainder, being careful not to stretch the pastry or it will shrink away from the edge of the dish.
Step 3 Trim and decorate the edges with a knife. Stand the tart on a tin and bake for 50 minutes "Regulo" at mark 6 (200C/400F).
Step 4 If liked the apples may be partly stewed first , in which case the tart will not require as long to bake.
Step 5 Add some blackberries with the apples of you want an apple and blackberry tart.

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I have just found out that I have been short-listed for the Brilliance in Blogging awards for best PHOTOS! If you love my photos and fancy voting for me, please click on the button (shown below) in my sidebar or the link above, this takes you to the voting form, and I am under PHOTOS and it’s Lavender and Lovage of course!




  1. says

    Oh I want to make Blackberry & Apple pie now and as I still have some blackberries in the freezer from last year’s foraging I may just do this. You pastry looks so short and scrummy:-) Well done on your award nomination:-)

  2. says

    Oooh… this gorgeous pie was the first thing that caught my eye! Looks like you guys preserved a great family recipe! Can’t wait to try my hand at this.

    • says

      I do Lizzy! It’s my mum’s magic shortcrust pastry made with SR flour and NOT plain flour! 125g SR flour to 75g fat I.e. butter and/or lard and margarine. Mix with ice cold water.

  3. says

    You paint the most idyllic picture with words… I am transported there in an instant. It’s just that I want to stay there and eat thus gorgeous apple pie forever! Thanks so much for the lovely entry to random recipes. Apple and blackberry is one of my all time favourite combos and takes me right back too. Xxx

  4. says

    great post of three generations of bakers – how fantastic to have had those visits to your grandparents to remember – and to have the recipe your grandmother used. I guess your grandmother had an AGA before they were trendy. Love the pie too

  5. says

    Karen, your posts are so evocative and you are so charming. Some of my fondest summer memories are of fruit picking and then making pies with my dad. Seeing your sumptuous and warm pies has reminded me that I should make the most of the opportunity to make them my boy this summer x

  6. says

    What evocative memories Karen! A simpler, seasonal (tougher) life. It sounds such a special time with your grandparents and lovely for us to read all the memories. And a beautiful pie too!

  7. says

    Apple and blackberry is such a classic combination. Congratulations on your nomination – well deserved as you really do have the best photos in the blogosphere!
    Thanks for entering AlphaBakes

  8. says


    In my house we have two Radiation cookery books; my maternal grandmother’s one from the 1960’s, and one from 1938 that I was given by a friend I made when I helped out in a charity shop in Essex.

    This post, along with your fabulous Be-Ro series has inspired me to attempt the Raspberry Buns recipe in my copy of the book.

    Thank you darlink!



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