Apple and Blackberry Pie
This is best of all made with wild brambles, which seem to have twice as much flavour as the cultivated kind. If you want a larger pie to serve eight people, use a 3 pint (1.75 litre) pie dish and a pie funnel, and double all the ingredients.
This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course and Complete Illustrated Cookery Course Serves 4
Start by making the pastry: sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, holding the sieve up as high as possible to give the flour an airing. Then cut the fat into small cubes and add to the flour. Now, using your fingertips, lightly and gently rub the pieces of fat into the flour – lifting your hands up high as you do this (again to incorporate air) and being as quick as possible.
When the mixture looks uniformly crumbly, start to sprinkle roughly 2 tablespoons of cold water all over. Use a round-bladed knife to start the mixing, cutting and bringing the mixture together. Carefully add more water if needed, a little at a time, then finally bring the mixture together with your hands to form a smooth ball of dough that will leave the bowl clean (if there are any bits that won't adhere to it, you need a spot more water).
Now rest the pastry, wrapped in foil or polythene, in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes while you peel, core and slice the apples straight into the pie dish. Then sprinkle in the brambles or blackberries and the sugar. Now roll out the pastry to about 1 in (2.5 cm) larger than the pie dish, then cut out a 1 in (2.5 cm) strip to fit the edge of the dish. Dampen the edge with water, then fit on the strip of pastry, pressing it firmly, and dampen that too.
Then press the rest of the pastry over that to form a lid and, using a sharp knife, trim any excess pastry off. Use the blunt side of the knife and your thumb to press the two edges firmly together and knock the edges all round to give a layered effect. Then flute the edges by using your thumb to make an impression and the broad blade of the knife to draw in the edges of the pastry.
Make a steam hole in the centre and, if you have time, make some decorative leaves with the pastry trimmings.
Now brush the pastry with milk and sprinkle on a light dusting of caster sugar. Place the pie on a baking sheet on a high shelf and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to gas mark 5, 375°F (190°C), and continue baking for a further 30 minutes.
Then, using a skewer, take out a piece of apple from the centre to test if it's cooked: if it still feels very firm, give it another 5 minutes.
Serve hot with chilled pouring cream to mingle with the juices.
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7, 425°F (220°C).