Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Individual Berry Pies

Having used frozen berries for my muffins I decided to use fresh berries for some free form pies.  I wanted individual ones with a nice shortcrust pastry.

Of course it would be ok to use shop bought pastry but I like to make my own, using a mixture of butter and lard as the shortening agents.

For berries I chose strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.  That seemed a nice mixture of sweet and quite tart, and all with great flavours.

Although I made mine as free form pies, open at the top, it is maybe easier to use small pie dishes if they are available.

The recipe is very simple and doesn't take much work.  Simply make the pastry, chill it, roll it out and then put the berries in, mixed with cornflour and a little sugar, and then pull up the sides to enclose the fruit.  That is all there is to it. I made my pastry without any sugar, but you can add a little if you prefer it to be sweet.

I am very pleased with how mine turned out, I was worried that the base of the pastry might not bake but it worked fine, as the cornflour helped soak up the juice coming from the berries.

They taste fantastic, and especially when served with some whipped cream.

I made 8 pies, though I broke one when lifting the cooling rack to check the undersides.  One slipped off and made a dreadful mess all over the counter and floor.  There is a lesson to be learned there, I think.
                                           Individual Berry Pie

                                 Individual Berry Pies - Video
Ingredients:
For the pastry:
  • 350g plain flour
  • 80g unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 80g lard, cubed and chilled
  • 2 medium egg yolks(large in USA)
  • ice-cold water
  • egg whites for brushing over the pastry.
For the filling:
  • 1kg mixed fresh berries or your choice(you could try frozen as well)
  • 3 tbsp cornflour
  • 50g caster sugar(less if your berries are very sweet)
Method:
  1. Place the flour and drop in the lard and butter, gently stirring to coat the cubes.
  2. Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter and lard into the flour, until your have a breadcrumb like texture(or rub between your fingers to the same result).
  3. Add the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons for water and use a knife to stir into the flour mixture until it starts to clump together.
  4. Add more water, a little at a time until you get slightly larger clumps.
  5. Use a hand to pull everything into a dough.
  6. Shape into a ball and flatten to a disc then cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. (I cut my dough into two discs, so I could use one while the other stayed in the fridge).
  7. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F.
  8. Line a couple of baking trays with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  9. Place the berries(cut into smaller size if strawberries are large) into a large bowl and tip in the caster sugar and cornflour.
  10. Mix together until the berries are all coated with cornflour.
  11. Cut the dough into eight equal pieces.
  12. Roll each one out into a circle, to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.
  13. Place some berries into the middle of the disc leaving a good sized border.
  14. Brush the border with a little water and then pull it up to the berries, folding the pastry and pressing it together until you have circled and enclosed the berries, with the top of the pastry open.
  15. Place on the baking sheets.
  16. Brush the pastry with beaten egg white and sprinkle over a little granulated sugar.
  17. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until the pastry has cooked to a nice golden colour.
  18. The fruit may bubble over and down the sides of the pie a little but that is fine.
  19. Remove from the oven and allow to sit on the baking trays for 10 minutes. 
  20. After ten minutes gently transfer the pies to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
  21. Serve at room temperature, with a little whipped cream, or ice cream.


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