31 July 2014

Summer Berries Pie

We have a glut of soft fruit in our garden at the moment. I experimented with this and must admit that the pie that came out of it tastes very nice indeed but some things will need tweaking, in particular the amount of Agar Agar in the berry mix as this is rather acidic, which interferes a little with Agar Agar’s ability for jellification. The amount given below should be about right.

The recipe for the dough is loosely based on a recipe that I found in my Grandmother’s finishing school cookery book, a fascinating document about how eligible young women were meant to cook for their future husbands and family. Interesting reading, to say the least.

What you need

  • 150 g soft butter
  • 150 g sugar (brown)
  • 1-2 eggs
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp clove powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tblsp cocoa poweder
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 200 g ground almonds
  • 250 g flour
  • 400-500 gr mixed berries (raspberries, blue berries, gooseberries, red or black currants)
  • sugar to taste
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 small glass of fruit schnapps
  • 16 g (about) Agar Agar
  • optionally some of the egg from above for glazing

What you do

  1. To make the dough, stir the sugar and soft butter into a creamy mixture, fold in all the other ingredients (eggs to almonds in the list above) and lastly sift the flower in. The dough will probably be a little sticky.
  2. Put in the fridge to cool down for at least 30 minutes
  3. Soak the Agar Agar in water, about a finger deep and allow to stand for about 20 minutes. Then simmer it gently for about 2 minutes until it clears.
  4. In the meantime, place the berries into a pan with some sugar and heat gently. Once the mixture becomes juicy add more sugar, the lemon juice and the schnapps.
  5. Simmer gently until the fruit is pretty soft, then blend. (If you like, but through a sieve to remove pips.)
  6. Allow to cool down, then stir in the agar agar. The mixture should have a consistency like fairly solid jam. The alternative is, of course, to use jam or to add sugar at about 75% of the weight and cook until it is like jam. However the problem is that the filling loses the fruity sharpness that is special to this pie.
  7. Butter a round cake dish, divide the dough into three roughly equal pieces, two of which are rolled out between two sheets of greaseproof paper to a round of about 4 mm; the third is to be formed into a long sausage. If the dough gets too soft or sticky, refrigerate again.
  8. Place the first round into the bottom of the cake form (28 cm diameter) then create a rim with the sausage.
  9. Pour in the berry mixture and close with the second round. Glaze with leftover egg if you like.
  10. Bake in a preheated oven at about 200° for 30 to 40 minutes.
It tastes best a day after baking and keeps well in the fridge