Everyone in my household loves fruit and I’m prone to overstocking my fridge. It’s easily done, especially when so much soft fruit is in season. An abundance of fruit gives me an excuse to make indulgent fruit pies. Soft, sweet, colourful deliciousness, encased in light, crisp pastry is such a joy. Serve a generous slice of pie warm, with a little ice cream or custard, and it is pure comfort on a plate.
Most soft fruits will make tasty pie fillings. It can be really quick and easy too: simply stew your fruits lightly with a little lemon juice, sugar to taste and a pinch of cinnamon. Then, use ready-made pastry to line and top your pie dish, and bake in the oven. If your fruit mix is very wet, thicken it with cornflour or arrowroot. This will help the pastry stay crisp and not absorb too much of the sauce. To create a sweet crust, sprinkle the lid with demerara sugar before you bake it.
Of all the pies I make, I have a particular fondness for blackberry. Blackberries are often underrated but a high concentration of fructose makes them one of the sweeter soft fruits. They are packed full of nutrients and antioxidants which gives them their deep purple colour. The most exciting thing about blackberries is they can be found growing wild in summer and early autumn. The next time you go for a walk, take a basket and seek them out. Pick them as soon as they look ripe for the perfect combination of sweetness and softness. Fresh blackberries are also a lovely addition to smoothies, jams, fruit sauces and even cocktails. Try muddling a few berries in a gin and tonic instead of lime, it is delicious!
This recipe for Orchard Lattice Pie is a great way to showcase blackberries. The filling isn’t pre-cooked so the flavours really pop when it’s cooked. If you don’t have blackberries, swap in plums, pitted cherries or raspberries. You can create the lattice top either by cutting thin strips of pastry and interlacing them or by using a lattice pastry cutter.
If the pie lasts long enough to cool down, it can be served cold as well as hot. I like it best with lashings of cream. Enjoy!