Wild blackberry pie

WILD BLACKBERRY & PLUM CRUMBLE PIE

The beginning of autumn brings great things for us foragers. A favourite being the greatly accessible wild blackberries. Britain’s countryside is covered in them from August to the beginning of October, so grab your punnets and get picking. This pie really celebrates the blackberry, with the plums and apple just add a little texture and tartness.

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE FILLING
400g plums
300g wild blackberries 
1 bramley apple 
30g caster sugar
Zest of half a lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
A pinch of salt
2 tsp blackberry or sloe jelly

FOR THE SHORTCRUST PASTRY
60g caster sugar 
1 egg yolk 
225 flour
100 butter
1 tbsp. milk

FOR THE CRUMBLE TOPPING
100g plain flour
35g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter
70g rolled oats 
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon

METHOD

Start by making the sweet shortcrust pastry. I always like to use a food processor to make pastry, it gives it a really fine even texture, plus it’s much less of faff than using your fingertips. First, pour the plain flour into the food processor, then take your butter and chop it into fairly small chunks (it’s ideal if your butter is really cold for this, so make sure it’s come straight from the fridge). Add the butter to the flouer and blend in the processor for a couple of minutes, using the pulse setting if you’ve got one. After a minute or so you should start to see a fine breadcrumb texture. At the point, stop blending. 

Add the caster sugar and the egg yolk, then blend again until the pastry forms a nice ball rattling around the machine. Turn the processor off and take the pastry out. Wrap in clingfilm and pop in the fridge for half an hour. 

Now it’s time to prepare the fruit. Peel and chop the apple into medium sized chunks and add to a medium sized saucepan. Take half the plums, stone and chop them into similar sized chunks to the apple and pop in the pan. Turn the heat up to medium and add the sugar. Keep stirring for 2 minutes until the fruit begins to soften, then add the blackberries, cinnamon, salt and jam, along with a splash of water. For this recipe I used a homemade sloe and apple jelly, but you could use any red fruit jam apart from strawberry really. 
Continue on the heat for 5-7 minutes until the liquid from the blackberries turns nice and syrupy and the fruit is fairly soft. Take the pan off the heat and add the other half of the plums, chopped and stones. Keeping half the fruit raw will mix up the textures once the pie has been through the oven. 

Once the filling is prepped, take the pastry out the fridge, cut in half and roll into a flat circle the thickness of a £1 coin. Place it over your large pie dish. Push the pastry into the bottom and up the sides of the dish then poke the base with a fork a few times and bake blind for 10 minutes at 180 degrees C. Whilst the pastry is in the oven make the crumble topping. Take the butter out the fridge and cut it into cubes before popping it into the food processor with the flour. Blend into a breadcrumb like texture, then pop into a bowl before mixing in the sugar, oats and spices by hand. 

Once the pastry has had it’s first bake, remove the baking beans and add the fruit mixture to the tart. Scatter the crumble topping over the pie and bake again for 20-25 minutes at 180 degrees C. If the edges of the pastry start to turn dark pop some tin foil on them half way through to stop them burning. 

Serve with cream, crème fraiche or ice cream – any of them will go beautifully with it.