Warming Winter Pies

Fill these classic puddings with whichever fruits you fancy; I find hand-picked has more flavour than shop-bought. Here is my recipe for Blackberry & Pear Pie, with a homemade Vanilla Bean Custard to accompany it.

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Ingredients (makes 4 tartlets, or 1 medium pie)

(To make this recipe suitable for vegans, swap for butter and egg for the ingredients marked in brackets!)

  • 175g Plain Flour
  • 80g Butter (or vegan margarine; measure out & chop, put in the freeze for 20 minutes before use)
  • Cold Water
  • 2 Medium Pears: peeled, cored, chopped into 1cmx1cm cubes
  • 150g Blackberries
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp Caster Sugar
  • 1 tsp Cornflour
  • 1 egg, whisked (or soy milk)

Method

  1. Sift the flour into a large bowl from a height to incorporate as much air as possible, add a pinch of salt.
  2. Chop the butter into small cubes and add to the flour. With cold hands, quickly rub the butter and flour together with your fingertips until it resembles fine crumbs.
  3. Add 2 tbsp of very cold water, and using a knife, mix, chop and bring together to form a rough dough. You may need to add a little more water, so add slowly 1tsp at a time.
  4. Use your hands to bring the dough together, being careful not to work it too much, and once there are no remnants on the bowl, place the dough in the fridge to rest for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Heat the oven to 160 degrees fan.
  6. Between two sheets of greaseproof, roll out the dough until it is 3-4 mm thick, using the tin as a guide (cut the shape of dough into 8 circles if using tartlet tins, or two large circles if doing one large pie).
  7. Grease the tins, add a sprinkle of flour and tap it out before putting the pie base into the tins and leaving in the fridge to rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Put the chopped pears into a large bowl and microwave for 3 minutes. Then add in the berries, cinnamon, sugar and cornflour and stir until combined.
  9. Remove the tins from the fridge, prick the bases with a fork and blind bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, then remove the baking beans and return to the oven for a further 7 minutes until the base looks biscuit-y in texture.
  10. Add the filling, being careful not to overfill, then brush the rim of the crust with some egg wash (or soy milk) before pressing down the lid of the pie with a fork. Pierce the top of the lid to let air out while cooking and brush the tops with egg wash (soy milk).
  11. Cook the pies for 40 minutes, then turn the oven up to 180 degrees fan for a further 8-10 minutes cooking until the pies are golden brown on top.

The Custard

(While not yet adaptable for vegans, this tart still tastes as great when served with soya cream, available in most supermarkets!)

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Ingredients

  • 575ml Whole Milk
  • 50ml Single Cream
  • 1 Vanilla Pod
  • 4 egg Yolks
  • 25g Caster Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 7g Cornflour (1 rounded tsp)

Method

  1. In a large saucepan, bring the milk, cream and vanilla pod gently to a simmer.
  2. Separately, hand-whisk the egg yolks, caster sugar and cornflour together until blended in a large bowl.
  3. Once gently simmering, remove the vanilla pod from the saucepan, open it and scrape out the seeds. Return the seeds to the saucepan, discarding the pod.
  4. While whisking, pour the milk into the bowl with the egg yolks and combine together before returning all of the mix back to the saucepan.
  5. Heat gently until thickened enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon.
  6. Serve hot immediately, or cover with cling film and leave to cool before refrigerating for up to 24 hours.

I hope you enjoy making these pies, but more importantly they taste good!

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That’s all for now!
Claudia x

 

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