... thanks to the incredible sunshine we've been having here in the UK the harvest has begun in full force and many of the fields that were once golden with wheat are now barren and dusty with cracked earth and the five o'clock shadowy stubs of the recently shaven... it's such a wonderful thing to be part of the process of production, it's like a documentary about the cycle of farm to fork right outside my window and other than the forlorn looking sheep who seem to know something is up, there really very little to disturb this bucolic idyll... but I love the juxtaposition between the countryside and the city. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to have the best of both these worlds in my life although sometimes I do feel a little like i'm on some kind of emotional elastic umbilical cord between the two...
mixed fruit and jam pie with fresh mint sweet shortcrust pastry
it seems to be pie time again, which is not a bad thing if you're a pastry lover like me and the big V who will essentially eat anything sandwiched between two pieces of buttery pastry... pies are a beautiful way to use up a glut of fruit or if like me you're running around with loads of fruit in a bowl that's in danger of going off a pie is a great way of using it up... my wild strawberry bush also seems to be very generous this year - the more I pick them more it grows and a handful of wild strawberries goes a long way in a pie... I also made some very sloppy jam last week, it barely set and rather than giving up hope I jarred it anyway and have kept it in the fridge knowing it would be perfect for just such a pie-making occasion... it's actually giving most of the sweetness in this pie as I like a bit of tartness in my fruit filling but feel free to add more should you wish...
for the fresh mint sweet shortcrust pastry
280g plain flour
140g butter or margarine
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon golden caster sugar
3 or 4 leaves of fresh mint - shredded and chopped
cold water to mix
for the pie filling
1 apple - diced
1 nectarine - diced
roughy 10 raspberries
roughly 12 wild strawberries
1 tablespoon plain flour
3 tablespoons raspberry jam
a little sugar to taste
start with the pastry and take a large bowl into which you place the flour and butter and combine with your fingertips until you have rough breadcrumbs... throw in the rest of the ingredients and stir together then pour in a little cold water and using your favourite hand combine until you have a soft dough
wrap in cling-film and pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
for the pie filling, place the fruit and flour in a pan and stir together, then gently heat until it all begins to bubble - you may need to stir occasionally to prevent it sticking. Once it begins to soften add the jam and any additional sugar and again let it bubble for a few minutes or so. I don't like my fruit too soft at this stage - take the pan off the heat and set aside
pre-heat the oven to 170C
roll out your pastry and line a pie dish, you should have enough pastry left over to create a lattice top of a plain lid.
pour the pie filling into the dish, create the pie top of your choice, brush the pastry with a little egg milk wash and bake for about 25 minutes or until golden
eat and of course, enjoy!