|Berry Beautiful English Summer Fruit Pies|
|Berry Beautiful English Summer Fruit Pies|
What a delightful bounty our British summer provides us, a veritable cornucopia of ripe berries and fruits. My daughter’s happiest memories are when we used to walk to our local “Strawberry Fields”, a PYO fruit farm, where we would fill punnets with ripe sun kissed strawberries, raspberries and all manner of currants. We would walk back home, dusty and tired, mouths and fingers stained with tell tale red juice! In this recipe, I have tried to capture the essence of a British summer – little pies bursting with a medley of summer fruits and mixed berries – strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, red currants, cherries and bilberries. Choose whatever you have available locally, but do remember that blackcurrants can be the dominant flavour, so use less of them with other fruits. This recipe is for 4 to 6 individual little pies, but you can make a large plate pie of you wish. I thought that individual pies would be MUCH easier to handle on a picnic or in the garden! Serve warm or at room temperature with clotted cream or double cream.
Prep time: 45 minutes, including chilling time for pastry and fruit
Cooking time: 25 to 40 minutes, depending on size of pies.
225g plain flour
50g chilled butter, cubed
50g chilled hard cooking margarine, cubed (I use Trex or Stork)
25g caster sugar
Egg white, beaten with a little water for glaze
Caster sugar for sprinkling
450g mixed British summer fruits, such as: raspberries, pitted cherries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, strawberries and bilberries
25g to 50g caster sugar, to taste
2 teaspoons arrowroot
Red fruit jam, such as strawberry or raspberry, gently heated
Pre-heat oven to 200C/180C Fan or Gas Mark 6. Grease and line between 4 and 6 small pie tins, or Yorkshire pudding tins (A Large plate or pie dish can also be used – 22cm to 24cm)
Prepare the filling. Put all the cleaned, hulled and pitted fruits into a large saucepan and gently heat on the lowest setting, until the juices start to run. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water with the sugar to taste and gently heat until the sugar had dissolved. Mix the arrowroot with cold water and add to the warm fruits. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time – being careful not to break the fruit up too much. If the mixture is too thick, add more water. As soon as the fruit has come to the boil, take the pan off the heat and allow it to cool, it will thicken as it cools.
Make the pastry whist the fruit is cooling; put the flour, sugar, salt, butter and margarine into a roomy mixing bowl and rub the fats into the flour with your fingertips or a pastry blender until it resembles breadcrumbs. Gradually add cold water until the pastry comes together, knead it gently on a floured board, cover, allow to rest and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.
Using a saucer as a cutter, roll out your pastry and cut out your pie bases to fit your size tins. Brush the heated jam over the base of the pastry case – this stops the base becoming too soggy. Spoon the filling into the pastry cases, not too much or the fruit will overflow. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut out lids for the pies. Moisten the edges and seal with your fingers or a fork.
Make steam holes or cuts in the top and roll out the pastry trimmings to make decorations for the tops; I made leaves and little berries for these pies! Brush the beaten egg white over to top and then place the pastry decorations on top – brush again with the beaten egg white and then generously sprinkle caster sugar over the top to create a meringue glaze/finish.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for between 25 and 40 minutes – this is dependant on the size of your pies. 25 minutes will suffice for the smaller size pies and up to 40 minutes for a large pate pie.
Remove from oven when the pie is golden brown. Allow to cool in the tins, before gently removing to a cooling rack. Alternatively, leave them in the tins for easy transportation to the picnic. Eat the pies warm or at room temperature with clotted cream, double cream or ice cream.
NB: The filling makes an excellent topping for ice cream and sponge cakes, any excess can be frozen or kept in the fridge for up to a week.
I will be back later with more recipes and manic musings, and also an update on the garden ~ I am hoping that all my Mirabelle Plums have survived, as well as my raspberries and strawberries.