There are very few things that sum up the British autumn more than desserts and puddings made with stewed fruit of some kind. In my family, it is not uncommon for a supposed “4 servings” apple crumble to be eaten in one sitting by one person. Occasionally, I might get my spoon in the crumble in enough time to swipe a cheeky serving. (I’m not the crumble vacuum though never trust me around cheesecake!)
Just as British as autumnal fruit crumbles and pies is Nigel Slater. I can’t remember when I first became aware of him and his wonderfully relaxed way of cooking but he’s always been a favourite of my dad. In fact, my dad loves cooking so much that for his birthday a couple of years ago, I bought him Nigel Slater’s Real Cooking and the ingredients for one of the recipes. Ever since then I I have been itching to try out some of the other recipes. When I saw this one for an easy-to-assemble fruit pie, I knew it was a perfect autumn pudding (drawing closely with exploded apples and currants).
If you think a pie is going to be difficult to make from scratch – I’m talking pastry and everything – then think again. I made this pie in an hour, with only the equipment available in a standard student kitchen. That’s why it was cooked in a small roasting tin. No baking trays available so lots of butter to grease it instead.
I was honestly amazed at this recipe’s ease. Rubbing flour and butter together has always been something I’ve enjoyed. Adding a little bit of water was all it needed to make a firm dough for the crust. It was simply a matter then of piling all the fruit into the centre and curling up the edges around it. 40 minutes in the oven and one delectable pie appeared.
Crispy and crumbly. Soft yet sharp.
Even better was that I was able to share my pie with two of the flatmates. We’re all in the middle of dissertation writing so it is stress central (why I’m still blogging during that, I have no idea). So sharing fruit pie was the perfect opportunity for us all to have a five minute break from the craziness that is thesis writing.
This autumn, when you’re feeling a bit stressed, take an hour to make yourself pie. I promise, you won’t regret it. If you can find some friends to eat it with, even better!
- 1 Cup plain flour
- 75 g (1/4 pack) butter
- 400g fruit (granny smith apples and raspberries)
- Egg white
- Preheat the oven to 200 degreesC/Gas mark 6
- Rub the butter and flour together using your fingers till they look like breadcrumbs.
- Add a little cold water and mix into the breadcrumbs to a firm dough.
- If the dough is sticky, add a little more flour until it forms a ball.
- Roll out the dough (I used a wine bottle) and place it on a baking tray.
- Pile the fruit in the centre of the dough and sprinkle it with sugar to taste.
- Fold the pastry dough around the fruit to form the edges of the pie. It should NOT meet in the centre, leaving the fruit on show.
- Brush the pastry with beaten egg white.
- Bake for 40 minutes until the pastry is golden and the fruit is bubbling.
- Enjoy with friends.
- If you prefer a sweet pastry, try adding a little bit of sugar to the dough.