Category : Dessert
Preparation time : 40 mins
Serves : 6 small serves (or 4 medium ones)
Cost : USD6
Let me start with the idea that not everything needs to be made from scratch. Though I generally do like to make things that way (bread, pie, cake), there are times when you are short on time or not in the mood to slave away. Yet, you still want to whip something up that’s delicious, quick and easy. So, there are two ways you can do this.
From scratch. This is where you make the dough and pie filling yourself. Or with some help with pre-made ingredients etc.
When I first start making stuff I am not familiar with, I can oscillate depending on my mood. If I feel up to the challenge, I will make it from scratch, no fears, just jumping right in. Which can be good or bad, depending on how things turn out. But if I am nervous, I do like to go in slow and steady, working up courage as I go. So, the key I think is to do what works for you.
So, I’ve made my fair share of apple pies from scratch using shortcrust pastry. But berry pie seemed quite challenging. Well, this is my first attempt and I cut myself some slack getting some ready-made short crust pastry. So I just focused on getting the pie filling done. Easy peasy!
1. Short crust pastry 1 sheet
2. Mixed berries – frozen is best if it is not in season. I had a good mix of blackberry, gooseberry, raspberry and strawberry. Quite tart. 1 packet should be enough.
3. Castor sugar
This is for a small pie dish.
1. When the pastry sheet has softened, simply place gently in pie dish after you have spread some butter or oil on the inside of dish. You will blind bake the pastry for about 15 – 20 mins at 180 Celsius, depending on your oven and whether its fan-forced or not. Check regularly to keep an eye on it. Remember to place some small stones/weights on parchment paper inside the tray to avoid having the pastry fluff up. It does not do that much when its shortcrust though.
2. The reason to blind bake is because if your filling has a lot of liquid, then the base of the pie can get pretty soggy which means it does not present that well.
3. While the pie is baking, you can get on to the task of preparing the filling. Get a small saucepan filled with about 4 – 5 tablespoons of water. Add about half the portion of berries you will use into the pan so you can make a coulis. A coulis is a form of thick sauce made from puréed and strained vegetables or fruits. Add 3 -4 tablespoons of castor sugar to the fruit and stir gently while this is on a low flame. You’re looking to thicken it to a\become a sauce. If you find the water disappearing, add a little more to keep things moist. Taste and adjust the amount of sugar to your liking. Berries can be quite tart so it balances nicely against the sugar added and the custard.
4. You will find the fruit start to disintegrate a little, darken in colour as well. Once the liquid starts to thicken up, you can turn off the heat. Let it cool.
5. Once the pastry has been 75% baked, you can then pour the coulis into the pie and then place the other frozen berries on top arranging them evenly. Place back into oven for a further 20 – 25 mins at about 180 Celsius.
6. Once out, cool for a short while. Serve with either cold or warm creamy custard.
PS you could do a lattice on top but given it was so pretty, I let it sit without any.