Blackberry and Apple Pie

Welcome to the ugliest pie I’ve ever, ever made. I am the kind of person who likes to cut out little flowers and leaves for decorating and painstakingly crimp the edges of my pies. It’s so hideous I contemplated NOT posting a photo of it. Have I ever made a pie that looked like this? The answer would be no. Not even when I took Home Ec in HS. Please read my notes before attempting this pie crust (which by the way was delicious and worth it).

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From Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess. Almost every single time I attempt a recipe out of this, even with being a seasoned baker, I have some sort of issue.

For the pastry:
4 tbsp cold unsalted butter, diced
4 tbsp vegetable shortening, teaspooned out
1 1/3 cups self-rising cake flour
scant 1/4 cup fine cornmeal
2-4 tbsp salted ice water or enough to bind
squeeze of lemon juice as needed

For the filling:
About 1 1/2 lbs Golden Delicious Apples or other cooking apples
1/4 cup unsalted butter
7 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp rosewater (my note: slightly less than 1 tbsp vanilla can be substituted if absolutely necessary)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 scant tbsp cornstarch (I needed like 6 tbsp – perhaps my apples were just very juicy)
12 oz blackberries

For the glaze:
1-2 tbsp milk
1-2 tbsp sugar

You will also need an 8 inch shallow pie plate. See notes regarding this.

Put flour and cornmeal in a bowl, add the cold, diced butter and shortening, and stir gently to coat. Put in the freezer for about 10 minutes. As you do so, put your water in a cup with a pinch of salt and transfer to the fridge. Either in a processor or free-standing mixer with a flat paddle attachment, blend your fats and flour until you have a mixture that resembles sandy porridge. Then, gradually process or paddle in the liquid until the pastry is almost coming together (my note: if it comes together too much, it will be too sticky. Add a little flour). Use your hands to form two discs, one slightly larger than the other, then wrap in plastic and let it rest in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before rolling.

Preheat your oven to 375F, Remembering to put a baking sheet in at the same time. Peel, core, and slice apples. In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the sugar, rosewater, and cinnamon, then cook the apples in the pan for about 3 minutes remove them to a dish with a spatula or tongs. Pour the caramelly juices into a cup and whisk in the cornstarch to form a paste (note: it doesn’t quite form a “paste” like I would consider a paste – think more like the consistency of Elmer’s glue… which is… a paste. lol).

Line the bottom and sides of the pie dish with the bigger disc of pastry, and put the apples and blackberries into the pie. Pour over the cornstarch-butter mixture and mix carefully if there wasn’t much. Roll out the smaller disc of pastry, dampen the edges of the pie with water, and put the pie lid on top. Crimp the edges, either by hand or using a form, to seal. Decorate as desired with any scraps.

Glaze with milk and cook for 30 minutes, by which time the still slightly knobbly top should be golden. Sprinkle with sugar when it comes out of the oven, and leave for about 15 minutes before cutting it.

Serves 6.

Notes:

First – I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen self-rising cake flour. Just self-rising flour or cake flour. Cake flour doesn’t have any additives like self-rising flour, so I looked up how to convert flour into self-rising. The general consensus was around 1 cup of flour + 1 1/2 tsp baking powder + 1/2 tsp salt, so with this recipe calling for 1 1/3 c cake flour, I thought I’ll stick with the amounts in that equation and not increase to compensate for the extra 1/3 cup. The baking powder was fine, but it was too much salt. Next time, I’d go with 1/4 tsp.

Second – I didn’t have fine cornmeal, but I did have regular cornmeal, so again being the genius I am, I thought I would simply use my pestle and mortar to grind it as fine as I could. Guess what? That’s practically impossible. I did manage to get it the texture down finer, but not by much. This made the crust a little bit crunchy, which was not desirable. Take the time to find finely ground cornmeal!

Third – 8″ pie dishes are not common in the US. Most standard pie dishes are 9-9.5″ here. I ended up having to double the pie crust recipe, which I didn’t fully realize until it was too late (I did suspect) and had to make another batch in a mad, panicked dash around the kitchen, which resulted in me not being able to dedicate another 20 minutes for refrigerating. This meant my top crust has way too soft to properly roll out. This is why it came out so ugly! Either because of the larger pie size or perhaps my oven wasn’t the right temperature, but I ended up having to bake this thing an extra 30 minutes, which was crazy. Remember to use more apples if using a larger pie dish.

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Me attempting to grind cornmeal… yeah right.

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