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So, I made my first pie a couple of months back, and I made the most standard kind you can possibly imagine: blueberry pie. My plan was to make cheery pie this time around, but it turns out you can’t get a hold of cherries in Barcelona between September and late November. I wandered around the market, desperate for something red to replace the cherries with, and I spotted some mouth-watering redcurrants. Now, I know what you might be thinking: redcurrants are sour. With a capital everything. And that’s completely true; I couldn’t keep my face from turning into a pretty ferocious grimace when I had a couple raw. But combine them with some sweet, red apples and you’ve got yourself a delicious, red pie. Which, as it happens, is perfect for late autumn or even pre-Christmas to get in the spirit.
313 grams or 11 oz. of flour
a pinch of salt
138 grams or 4.8 oz. of salted butter, in cubes
75-90 grams or 2.6-3.2 oz. of water
Redcurrant and apple filling
230 grams or 8 oz. of redcurrants
215 grams or 7.5 oz. of sweet, red apples, in cubes
35 grams or 1.1 oz. of Sukrin Gold
55 grams or 2 oz. of Tagatesse
25 grams or 0.9 oz. of flour
¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
some butter for dotting
1 egg for glazing
Tagatesse for glazing
In the oven: 200° Celsius/400° Fahrenheit/Gas 6
Made in a 24 cm x 3 cm or 9” x 1.2” pie tin.
The pastry can be made by hand or kitchen machine. By hand, place the flour and salt in a bowl and rub the butter into the mixture until it the ingredients have combined completely. Try to work quickly so the butter doesn’t melt. The texture will be grainy (see photo).
Now, add the water in several rounds. You want a dough that’s holding together (so you can roll it out later), but only barely. Too much water, and you’ll end up with soggy pastry. The dough should form into one piece and you should be able to stretch it a little. If you notice the dough breaking apart when you stretch it, bang it a few times against the sides of the bowl for gluten development.
In a kitchen machine, place the flour, salt, and butter into the mixing bowl and run the machine on low-medium speed until you’ve achieved the grainy texture from the photo. Then add the water in several rounds, until the dough has formed into one big piece. Check that you can stretch the dough a little without it breaking apart. If it does, this doesn’t necessarily mean you need more water; you might just need to run the kitchen machine a little while longer for gluten development in the dough.
Wrap in cling foil and chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes before using.
Now for the redcurrant and apple filling. Just like with the blueberry pie, the idea here is not to break up the apples or redcurrants. These are full of liquid anyway, and will become nice and silky once they’ve baked. You simply want to mix the flavourings well with the berries, so you get an evenly sweetened filling that doesn’t hit you with sudden bursts of sour from the redcurrants.
»If you’ve got a slow oven, preheat it to 200° Celsius/400° Fahrenheit/Gas 6 now»
Place the redcurrants and cubed apples in a bowl, then add the Tagatesse, SukrinGold, cinnamon, and flour, and mix well with a spoon. Set aside – I kept my bowl in the fridge while I was rolling out the pastry.
Thoroughly (and I really mean thoroughly) butter and flour your pie form, especially in the base. This will make it easier to get your slices out post-baking.
Split the chilled pastry into two equal parts. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on the kitchen bench you’re using. With a rolling pin (I recommend using a silicone rolling pin that doesn’t stick to the pastry – if you don’t have one, just make sure to spread some flour over your rolling pin), roll out the first piece to a size that leaves as little left-over dough as possible after lining the pie form and its sides.
»If you’ve got a fast oven, preheat it to 200° Celsius/400° Fahrenheit/Gas 6 now»
Gently push the pastry into the creases of the pie form sides, but be careful not to create any tears. Now, when I made my pie I ended up with a really soggy pastry base because the filling holds so much water. Therefore, I’d recommend that you bake the filling and the pie base separately to begin with, and only bake them together once you’ve added the braids on top. This is also why some of the photos might be a bit confusing – I made my pie as you would a blueberry one.
Spread the filling into a cake tin, and jot the top with small pieces of butter. Place the filling and pie base into the oven and bake separately for 20-25 minutes. The apples should be tender, and the pie base should be golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while you make the pastry braids.
Roll out the second half of the pastry and cut it into long, thin slices. Once the filling and pie base have cooled off, place the filling into the pie base and you’re good to start braiding.
Cover one side of the pie with the pastry strips horizontally, with even spaces between them. Don’t worry if some of the pastry hangs out over the sides of your pie tin – you can just cut these off when you’ve finished. Now, on the vertical side of the pie, braid the remaining strips one by one into the horizontal strips. You do this by placing every other horizontal strip over and under each vertical strip. Repeat this until you’ve covered the entire pie. Then you simply cut off the bits sticking out and push the pastry top together with the pastry base so that everything sticks nicely together. You can also place some leftover pastry around the edges of the pie tin.
Finally, use your egg and a brush to glaze the braided pastry thinly and sprinkle some Tagatesse on top. This will give that nice, golden colour on the pie post-baking.
Place the pie into the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the braids are golden brown. You want to minimise the amount of time the filling is allowed to seep into the base of the pastry under heat from the oven.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool, then grab yourself a slice and enjoy the brilliant combination of crispy pastry and sweet and sour redcurrant and apple filling in the crisp autumn weather 🙂