Mixed Summer Berry Pie

This is a lovely recipe for people who like a dessert to be sweet, sugary pastry with a fresh, slightly tart, filling, basically a dessert that I love. All over the English countryside there are cafes filled with sweet scones with jam and nearly always having a fruit pie on the menu.
I thought I’d give one a shot even though pastry, like a few others, scares me very much. I have guitar playing hands so being gentle with pastry unnerves me slightly.

What’s great about this pie is that you can use frozen fruit. I usually have a couple of bags of mixed berries in my freezer so it’s very good for using these up.

Ok first things first is to make the Pate Sucree. Pate Sucree is a sweet shortcrust pastry, unlike the Pate Sablee which is more for savoury tarts like Quiche and meat pies. There is also Pate Brisee which you could use perfectly well for this recipe, it’s less sweet than the Pate Sucree but where this one is quite crumbly, the Pate Brisee is more flaky in texture.

Pate Sucree (Sweet Shortcrust Pastry)

Ingredients

90g Unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes

65g Caster Sugar

3 Egg Yolks

200g Plain Flour, plus extra for surface dusting

I really like to do pastry the Michel Roux way, it is quite simple and does have a good result, especially if you have a granite work surface.

Method

1. Put the flour into a heap on your work surface and make a large well in the centre. Pour your sugar and butter into the centre. Rub the butter into the sugar only with your finger tips. Speed is key with this pastry so do it as quick as you can without rubbing it so much that the butter starts to melt.

2. Gradually, bit by bit, work in the flour from the outsides until all is incorporated and resembles grainy breadcrumbs.

3. Make another well in the centre of the mixture and add the egg yolks. Again with your fingertips work in the mixture from the outsides in a sweeping motion. It should not take too long to come together and when you are done there should hardly be any mixture left on the work surface. If you think the mixture is too dry to work with then you can add a little water, ice water is best for this as it doesn’t react with the gluten in the flour which can make the pastry chewy.

4. Kneed a couple of times with the palm of your hand until the pastry is smooth. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before using.

For the fruit pie

Ingredients

1 Pate Sucree Pie Crust

700g Frozen mixed summer berries (blackberries, redcurrants, raspberries etc) – thawed in a sieve so the juice drains

150g Caster Sugar

40g Plain Flour

Grated zest of 1 lemon

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 190C. Separate the pie dough 1/3 for the lattice topping and 2/3 for the pie shell. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 9inch tart tin. Roll 2/3 of the dough to fit more than the tin, so some hangs of the sides, about 2 or 3 mm thickness. Set the other ball of dough aside wrapped in cling film.

2. Cover the base of the tin with baking paper and fill with baking beans or rice. Bake in the oven until it looks pale and half baked. Once done, remove from the oven and set aside.

3. Meanwhile in a bowl mix the thawed berries with the flour, caster sugar and lemon rind and set aside to macerate for 10 minutes.

4. Roll out the 1/3 of dough you have left into a 9inch circle. Cut into even strips and set aside.

5. Finally fill you pie crust with the berry mixture spreading evenly, and arrange the pastry strips on top in a lattice effect. Just crossing them over in a intertwining fashion should accomplish this.

6. Sprinkle the top with caster sugar and bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the top is a golden crisp brown.

**Only issue I had as you can see by the picture is my lattice strips were a little thin. This is because it did not work the first couple of times I rolled it out so had to roll it a couple of times. Over working the dough makes it tougher and more stringy which mine was a little.

Hey presto! A nice looking sweet and juicy fruit pie. Serve with icecream or clotted cream for a really posh dessert.

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