For the pastry
- 225g cold unsalted butter, chopped into small pieces
- 350g plain flour
- 50g icing sugar
- 1 large egg yolk (save the white for brushing the pastry)
For the filling
- 900g Bramley apple (about 4) peeled, cored, quartered and thinly sliced
A large, flattish cooking apple, green in appearance but sometimes with specks of red. The flesh…
- 140g golden caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 tbsp fine polenta or ground almonds
An Italian storecupboard staple, polenta has its roots in the peasant cuisine of northern Italy…
- 1 tbsp cornflour or plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 200g blackberries, halved if very large
A purply black-coloured berry comprising many individual seed-containing fruits surrounding a…
- egg white, for brushing (reserved from making the pastry)
- cream or ice cream, to serve
Fresh unpasteurised milk quickly separates and the fat rises to the top. This fat layer is then…
Put the butter and flour in a food processor with 1/4 tsp salt and blend until the mixture resembles damp breadcrumbs. Or do this by rubbing the butter and flour together in a big bowl with your fingertips. Add the sugar and briefly whizz again or stir to combine.
Whisk the egg yolk with 2 tbsp cold water, and drizzle over the flour mixture. Use the pulse button to blend the mixture once more, keep going until it starts to form larger clumps. If the mixture seems too dry, add a little more water a tsp or 2 at a time, but no more than 3 tsp in total.
Tip out onto a work surface and briefly knead the dough to bring it together into a smooth ball. Avoid overworking or it will become tough. Flatten the dough into a puck shape and wrap well in cling film. Chill for at least 30 mins, or for up to 2 days, or freeze for 2 months.
Next, make the filling. Put the apples and half the sugar in a large bowl, then stir together until the apples are well coated. Set aside for 30 mins to macerate.
Remove the pastry dough from the fridge and divide into 2 pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Re-wrap the smaller piece of dough and set aside. Divide the larger piece of dough into the number of pies you’d like to make, or leave whole for a large one. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to the thickness of a 50p piece, or until large enough to line the base of your pie plate or tin, with a little pastry overhanging. Roll the dough over your rolling pin, lift onto your plate or tins, then press it well into the corners. Scatter the polenta or almonds over the base.
Drain any juice from the apples, then toss through the remaining sugar, cornflour and cinnamon. Layer the apples and blackberries in the lined dish, creating a dome effect in the centre. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and place a baking sheet on the middle shelf.
Now choose how you’d like to decorate the top of the pie (see tips below). Once covered, whisk the reserved egg white and brush over the pastry. Scatter with extra sugar, then put the pie on the baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 mins for mini pies, 35-40 mins for medium pies, or 45 mins for a large pie, until the pastry is golden and crisp and the juices are bubbling. Cool for 10 mins before serving with cream or ice cream.
Decorate your pie
For tips, tricks and ideas to style the top and sides of your pie, see our guide to 11 super easy ways to decorate a pie.
Avoid the dreaded soggy bottom
To make sure your pie has a crisp crust, use a metal or enamel pie plate, tin or a cake tin if your pie has a pastry base. Make sure the baking sheet is hot when the pie goes in the oven. Scatter ground almonds or polenta over the base to soak up any extra juice from the fruit.
Add a glaze
Whisk leftover egg white from making the pastry with a fork until frothy and use this to glaze the pie. If you want the pie to have a nice golden colour, whisk in a little caster sugar too.
Finding a hedgerow of blackberries shouldn’t be too tricky at this time of year – go armed with a pair of gloves and avoid picking berries below knee height (where the dogs can reach them) or near busy roads. It’s important to use cooking apples such as Bramleys here, as they will soften in the steam of the pie, meaning there’s no need to simmer them beforehand.