6 January 2015

Spiced Blackberry and Apple Lattice Pie

First of all, a very belated happy Christmas and a happy new year to you all!

I do apologise for being so belated and missing out on posting seasonal goodies, but I've been laid up with a sad case of cellulitis which led to an additional case of gout, in my left leg and ankle.  Not surprisingly, I've done quite a bit of staring at the same four walls from the dubious comfort of my bed, whilst hoping that the painkillers will work for a bit longer.

I'm not quite back on two feet yet - let's say it's one and a half feet, currently - but I do have a nice backlog of yummy things that we ate before I succumbed, to pass on to you.

So, initially, let's go a bit random for Rhubarb & Ginger and talk about dessert pies.  Well, to be specific, a spiced blackberry and apple lattice pie of much loveliness.

The very best time to be making this pie is in the Autumn, when the blackberry vines are laden with fat fruits.  However, as we now have the convenience of that wonder of the kitchen, the freezer, those fat fruits can be picked and frozen so that you can enjoy this pie whenever you so please.

Blackberries freeze incredibly easily and defrost really well, so you've no excuse.  Come next autumn, send the entire family out with a plastic container to go and seek blackberry loveliness.  Of course, the other advantage to freezing blackberries is that it will kill any wigglies that may be residing in your fat fruits.  A quick and gentle wash before you freeze them (laid out in one layer on a baking tray is the best way.  You can decant them into a freezer box once frozen and that way, they don't stick together) and a bit of an inspection once defrosted and said wigglies will be a thing of the past.

My blackberries came from my Aunty Joyce's garden and are enormous!  They definitely needed making into a pie, so as to maintain their shape and integrity.  It would have been criminal to have mushed them into a coulis or some such.

It was only as I was making the pastry, that I suddenly thought about the spicing aspect.  After all, I would spice an apple pie - and having made spiced blackberry compote before, I knew everything was compatible.  I think it gave an interesting edge to the fruity flavours that made the pie taste especially home made - which is very satisfying.

Now, as regards any Cook's Tips, the main one I have for you is not to skip the microwaving of the apple pieces.  You see, the apple - particularly if it is a Braeburn - will take a lot longer than the blackberries to cook and you don't want rock hard apple beside soft blackberries.  However, the good thing about Braeburns is that they don't dissolve to mush.  If you don't have a microwave (and I know not everyone does), then put the apple into a pan with a tablespoonful of water and cook on a medium heat until softened.  After that, treat them like the microwaved versions.

Naturally, you don't HAVE to make the top of your pie latticed - you could just lay a piece of pastry across and create a normal type of pie if you don't have the time or inclination to do the latticing.  However, it isn't difficult and - so long as the fruit is cool - only takes a few minutes longer.  It does look good, too!

Likewise, the almond pastry is not essential either, but it does go so well with the fruit and the almonds give the pastry a lovely sandiness that texturally is interesting on the tongue.  However, if you want to make an ordinary sweet shortcrust, who am I to say you nay?

Whatever way you make this pie, the combination of the spices, apples and blackberries are just incredibly homey and scrumptious.  I doubt you'll have much left!


Ingredients :

165g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
25g ground almonds
55g sugar, plus 3 tbsp for the fruit, plus a little for sprinkling
120g chilled unsalted butter, cubed
2 medium eggs, used individually
2-3 Braeburn apples
A good quantity (as many as will fit!) of blackberries
1 tsp ground cinnamon
half a tsp grated nutmeg
quarter of a tsp ground cardamom.

Method :

1.  Make the pastry by stirring the almonds into the flour and adding the sugar.  Stir through.  Rub the butter into the mixture until you have what look like breadcrumbs.

2.  Add one egg - bit by bit - until you have a soft not sticky, dough.  You may not need the whole egg for this.

3.  Form the pastry into a disc, cover with cling film and leave in the fridge to rest for at least 3 hours.

4.  Cut the pastry into two sections - a third and two thirds.  Using the two thirds, roll out and line the pie dish with the pastry, making sure you have no air bubbles.

5.  Line with baking parchment and fill with baking beans, then bake at 180degC/350deg F/Gas 4 for 20 mins, then remove the baking beans and bake again for 10 mins until the pastry is dry and sandy.

6.  In the meantime, sort the blackberries.  You want to remove any that might have mildew or damaged areas.  Peel the apples and cut into small chunks and place in a bowl, then microwave until they are softened and just beginning to break down.  Leave to cool a little.

7.  Once cooled, add the blackberries.  Add the spices and sugar (use your intuition as to how much sugar you will need.  If the apples and blackberries are particularly tart, add a bit more) and toss gently to coat evenly.

8.  Tip the spicy fruit into the part baked pastry, along with any juice.

9.  Roll out the one third piece of pastry and cut long thin strips.

10.  Using the second egg, egg wash around the edge of the part baked pastry, then lay the strips on top of the fruit, interweaving them as a lattice and press down on the ends to "glue" them to the part baked pastry and trim off the excess.

11.  Give the lattice a good egg wash and sprinkle with a little sugar.

12.  Bake at the same temperature as earlier, for 25-30 mins until the pastry is golden, cooked through and the fruit is softly cooked.

13.  Leave the pie to cool until just warm, then serve.

Printable version


  1. well it's been a quite December for many of us but I do hope you're on the mend and feeling a little better. Gout must be horridly painful. In the meantime your pie looks incredible. My mum makes the best apple and blackberry pie in the world so you have a lot to live up to and this is my most favourite pie... i'm sure we could all have fun testing and eating pie to find out who's is the tastiest!

    1. Ooooh, it'd be like the Great British Pie Off! LOL You're right, gout is horridly painful and I thoroughly recommend not getting it. *wink*

  2. Replies
    1. Bless you, thank you - and a happy new year to you and The Viking! :)


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