Happy Fourth of July, everybody! I like that the title of this particular American holiday is applicable whether you’re celebrating Independence Day in the States, or whether you’re just glad to be alive and on Earth on this beautiful fourth day of the month of July.
The other brilliant thing about the Fourth of July is PIE!
I am pie’s number one fan. It is my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE dessert of all time, any time. In the Pie vs Cake debate I come down hard on the side of pie every time. Sorry cake.
Aussies are kind of famous for enjoying pies too, but when you say ‘pie’ in Australia everyone will assume you mean a meat pie. Whereas ‘let’s go get some pie’ as far as I’m concerned, should always mean a big slice of sweet, delicious American-style pie.
This is my recipe for Apple and Blackberry pie, and it’s one that I make pretty regularly. It’s good at pretty much any time of the year, because Blackberries freeze so beautifully.
In Summer a just-warm slice of pie with a big scoop of ice cream is a joy, and in Winter a piping hot piece of pie with custard, cream or ice cream is basically a necessity just to get through the day. I mean, those tender apples and sweet berries totally bursting out of a buttery, flaky pie crust? It’s heavenly.
Ok, so pies are a slight labour of love, but they’re really not very difficult to make. They just take a little time, and a little attention. Apples get sliced, and tossed with flour, berries, vanilla and a pinch of cinnamon. Butter is worked into flour with a little water and cider vinegar bringing everything together.
And then the whole thing is baked into something that is so much greater than the sum of it’s parts. It’s basically a magic trick. The dough becomes flaky and tender, the fruit oozes out all its juice and becomes soft and soused. And that’s even if you have the oven set to ‘grill’ for the first twenty minutes of baking…oops. Happy Fourth!
- 2 + ½ cups (275g) plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 sticks (230g) butter, cold
- ¾ cup (185ml) ice water
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 granny smith apples (medium sized or large ones are best)
- 2 cups blackberries (fresh or thawed frozen)
- ½ cup (110g) caster sugar
- ¼ cup (55g) brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- demerara sugar, for sprinkling
- To make the pie crust, place the flour, salt and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl.
- Cut the butter into small cubes, and add it to the flour, and then either with the paddle attachment on a low speed or with your fingertips, work the butter into the flour until it is mostly incorporated, with some large, visible flakes of butter still remaining.
- Mix together the water and cider vinegar, and add it to the flour mixture bit by bit, mixing as you go, until there is just enough moisture for the dough to hold together and not feel dry.
- Press the dough into two flat disks, wrap them in cling wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, peel and finely slice the apples for the filling. Place them into a large mixing bowl and add the remaining filling ingredients. Toss everything together well.
- Turn the oven on to preheat to 375F/180C.
- Remove the pie dough from the fridge, and place one disk onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into a circle at least 10 inches in diameter. Carefully lift the dough, and use it to line the base of a 9-inch pie dish.
- Pour the filling mixture into the pastry crust, and pat it down, so that there are no gaps in the filling. Then, take the remaining piece of dough and roll it out, again to a 10 inch circle. Cut the dough into inch-wide strips, and overlap the strips to cover the filling. Cut off any excess dough from the strips and discard.
- Fold the overhanging dough from the bottom crust up and over the edges of the pie and then crimp the edges, either by pinching with your fingers or pressing with a fork.
- Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg, and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Place the pie on a lined baking sheet, and then bake for 50-55 minutes. The pie should be deep golden brown, and the filling should offer no resistance if you test it with a skewer or a knife. Leave the pie to cool for at least an hour before slicing, and then serve it with ice cream!