British Pie Week has rolled around once again – an annual event in which we enjoy getting involved in wholeheartedly!
I use the week as an opportunity to make a kind of pie that I’ve never made before. This year it’s a home-made plum pie.
I’m not the world’s biggest fan of cloves, but it works amazingly well with the plums.
A drizzle of pouring cream or ladle-ful of custard over the top or on the side… a perfect cold weather pudding!
- 400g/14oz plain flour
- 120g/4oz icing sugar
- pinch of salt
- 250g/9oz very cold butter
- 2 egg yolks
- 750g/oz ripe plums stoned & thickly sliced
- 140g/oz golden caster sugar, plus extra
- ½tsp ground cloves
- 1 heaped tbsp cornflour
- Put the flour, icing sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine
- Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely - you'll have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pea-size pieces and that's just fine
- Stir the eggs, just to break them up, and add it them little at a time, pulsing after each addition
- When the eggs are in, process in long pulses - about 10 seconds each - until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds
- Just before your pastry reaches this clumpy stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change, so listen out
- Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Very lightly and sparingly - make that very, very lightly and sparingly - knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing
- Butter the pie dish and press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the dish and over the rim. Don't be stingy - you want a crust with a little heft because you want to be able to both taste and feel it. Also, don't be too heavy-handed - you want to press the crust in so that the pieces cling to one another and knit together when baked, but you don't want to press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly shortbread-ish texture
- Freeze the pastry for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking
- Preheat the oven to 175ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 4
- Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminium foil and fit the foil tightly against the pastry
- Bake the pastry for 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil. If the pastry has puffed up, press it down gently with the back of a spoon
- Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes. Allow to cool before adding the pie filling
- Put the plums, sugar and ground cloves in a pan
- Simmer until the sugar dissolves and the plums are juicy (8-10 minutes)
- Combine the cornflour with a little of the syrup, then mix well into the fruit
- Boil for another few minutes, stirring until thickened
- Allow to cool completely
- Roll out the remaining piece of pastry into a round and, using the rolling pin, carefully lower the pastry over the filling
- Press the pastry lid into the pastry bottom either with your thumbs or a fork. Trim the excess and brush the top with a little beaten egg
- Make a slit in the pastry lid to allow steam to escape
- Bake at 175ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 4 for 20-25 minutes or until crust is brown and juice just begins to bubble through the slit in the crust
- Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing & serving
- Serve with pouring cream or hot custard
We’re coming to the end of British Pie Week so we’re getting involved again and making a pie.
At the mere mention of the word ‘pie’ we usually get involved – any excuse! Yes, the saying may go, “As American as apple pie”, but we’re famous for our apples here in Blighty – and have no doubt been using them in pies for centuries.
We’ve rustled up a spiced apple & sultana pie for our Cakes & Bakes post… it’s quite a comforting, wintery version of the simple classic.
Crisp, buttery pastry with a soft, warm, cinnamon-infused fruity filling… and finished off with thick, cold cream of course.
You might have a bit of pastry left over – if you do, don’t just bin it, use cutters to turn it into shapes or letters to adorn the top.
The perfect, celebratory Pie Week pie!
- 240g/8½oz plain flour
- 120g/4¼oz cold butter
- pinch of salt
- 4tbs cold water
- 4 Bramley apples - peeled, cored & chopped into 2cm chunks
- 50g/2oz butter
- 50g/2oz sultanas
- 75g/2½oz brown or Muscavado sugar
- ¼tsp ground cinnamon
- 2tbs milk
- 2tbs caster sugar
- Grease a 9" diameter round pie dish
- Put the flour, butter and pinch of salt into a food processor and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs
- Add the cold water, a tablespoon at a time, pulsing between each addition until the mixture comes together into a ball
- Flatten the ball into a disk and wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for at least half an hour
- Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan before adding the chopped apple
- Add the sultanas and brown/Muscavado sugar and cook until the apple is slightly softened but still al dente
- Set aside to cool completely while you roll out the pie base
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6
- Divide the chilled pastry into two, one ⅓ and the other frac23;. Put the ⅓ back into the fridge
- Roll out the other piece into a round about ⅓cm thickness and line the dish, carefully pressing it flat cut off the excess around the rim leaving a ½cm overhang
- Prick the base with a fork, cover with baking beans (or dried peas like I do) and blind bake for 15 minutes
- Remove the pie base from the oven and set aside
- Remove the 2nd piece of pastry from the fridge, roll out into a round, again about ½cm
- Spoon the apple filling on to the cooled pastry base and cover with the pastry round. Press into the pastry base and trim any excess.
- Brush the top with milk, sprinkle with the caster sugar and put back into the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the top turns golden brown
- Allow to cool slightly before serving with cream or vanilla ice cream
National Pie Week is going from strength to strength here in the UK. It’s been talked about all over social media and in the traditional media too. Chris Evans and his team have been waxing lyrical about pies they’ve been sent by bakeries from all over the country.
Last year for Pie Week I made a lovely butter pie; this year I wanted to keep with the theme of a vegetarian, rustic, humble pie. I turned to my copy of Pie by Genevieve Taylor that we reviewed last year. I found just the recipe – cheese and celery pies – but with a little twist.
The original recipe is a single pie done in a shallow pie plate. I quite liked the idea of doing little individual hand pulled pies. I used a couple of cling film-wrapped jars in lieu of a pastry dolly.
Pulled pies are usually made using hot water pastry, but I was being lazy and just whizzed up a quick batch of shortcrust pastry. I think it worked just fine, but I’m sure Paul Hollywood wouldn’t approve!
This recipe made 4 small pies but you can easily scale it up. We had one each so I put the other two in the freezer – pre-baked – so that they can be taken out and baked off the next time we fancy a pie.
There was a little bit of pastry left over – isn’t there always? I quite like rolling it out thinly, slicing it into long thin strips, sprinkling over with cheese and baking for 15 minutes. What do you do with yours?
I’ve already started thinking about what pie I’m going to make next year!
- 360g/12½oz plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 180g/6⅓oz cold butter, cubed
- 6-8 tbsp cold water
- 25g/1oz butter
- ½tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- ½ head celery, sliced
- 125ml/4 fl oz veg stock (or ½ veg stock cube + 125ml boiling water)
- 30g/1oz mature cheddar cheese, grated
- salt & ground black pepper to taste
- a little beaten egg to glaze
Should I go sweet or savoury? Short or puff pastry? Filled, top-crust or two-crust? Decisions, decisions, decisions!
Whichever I end up choosing, a home-made pie is probably the best comfort food on the planet!
Last week was actually British Pie Week so, being big pie fans chez H is for Home, we just had to get involved! We went for the vegetarian variety and decided upon a local, Lancashire favourite – butter pie.
It’s my meal of choice when we get a take away from Grandma Pollard’s, our local chippy. It’s a very humble pie – 😉 – the filling consists of few, very affordable ingredients – potatoes, onions and of course lashings of butter. There are free-to-pick herbs planted all around Todmorden courtesy of Incredible Edible, so we added a bit of fresh thyme too. I’ve not made it before but it proved a very quick & easy dish… and utterly, butterly delicious!
It’s a real celebration of simple ingredients. We served it with stir fried greens, drizzled with a little balsamic vinegar – pickled cabbage is another traditional accompaniment.