As winter arrives with its faithful companions; grey skies, muddy fields and icy windscreens, I find myself turning to the comfort of cosy food to get the feeling of warmth that I miss so much outside of summer.
There’s nothing ground-breaking about this recipe (apart from the super easy pastry from Call-me-Cupcake), it’s more just a reminder that every now and again, there really is nothing quite like a homemade pie!
Spiced Pear and Blackberry Pie
300g plain flour / 2tbsp granulated sugar / pinch cinnamon / 1/4tsp flaky sea salt / 250g very cold salted butter, diced / 6-8tbsp ice water
1kg of pears and blackberries / 200 g granulated sugar / ½tsp of allspice / ½ tsp of nutmeg / 1/2tsp real vanilla powder / pinch of salt / 2tbsp cornstarch
Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the diced butter and, using your fingers or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until dough is crumbly but there are still visible pieces of butter.
Drizzle with water, 1 tbsp at a time, and mix gently with a fork until the dough just comes together; do not knead! Pat the dough together, divide in half and flatten into two discs.
Wrap both pieces in cling film and refrigerate an hour minimum - preferably overnight.
Peal and roughly chop the pears, combine with the blackberries, sugar, vanilla, salt and spices in a large bowl and gently mix. Cover and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Put a colander or sieve over a saucepan. Carefully tip the filling into the colander and let stand for a few minutes until all the liquids have dripped into the pan. Put the fruit back into the bowl and set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together cornflour and a little of the strained liquid. Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir until it comes to a boil. Lower the heat and add the cornflour slurry, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens, but not too much - make sure it doesn’t turn into a paste! Leave to cool to room temperature, then add back to the fruit and mix gently.
Preheat oven to 225°C (430°F) with a baking sheet in the lower part of the oven
Whisk egg in a small bowl or cup.
Roll out one piece of the dough into a large circle on a lightly floured surface, about 3-5 mm thick. Keep some extra flour to one side to keep dusting the rolling pin, and make sure to keep turning the dough so it doesn’t stick to the worktop. Transfer to a 8-9 inch pie dish – our Vintage Indigo one is perfect! Trim excess dough, leaving a 1 inch overhang.
Roll out the other piece of dough and cut into 12 long strips.
Spoon the filling into the prepared pan and place the strips in a lattice pattern on top, using a little egg to stick the edges down. Neaten round the edges however you fancy – I tend to use a fork as its easy and looks pretty. Brush the pastry with the egg wash. If you have any nibbed sugar this makes a nice addition sprinkled on top for a bit of extra crunch.
Place the pie in the oven on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes at 225°C, then lower the temperature to 175°C and bake until the edges are golden brown about an additional 30-45 minutes. If the pie is browning too much, cover loosely with aluminium foil.
Let it cool a good bit before you tuck in, as tempting as it smells. Serve with your favourite accompaniment, mine is extra thick double cream.
If you have decent size ball of pastry left over at the end, fridge it for another day – I used mine to make a quick apple galette a few days later.
Pie Dish from the Vintage Indigo collection available here for £19.99
Dinnerware and napkins from the Ditsy Floral collection available here from £8.99