I have recently suffered from the lady ‘flu. It is different from the man ‘flu because, a. I don’t whinge about it every 5 seconds, and b. I actually do something about it and take medicine and vitamins.
Blackcurrants are one of my favourite forms of vitamin C. My nana used to have a shrub in her garden and made the most delicious blackcurrant and apple pies; my mouth is watering thinking about the tartness of them so luckily, frozen blackcurrants are readily available. With a lovely flaky, crisp pastry and a tart filling, this is just what the doctor ordered.
Pastry (see notes for quantity)
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
110g butter, cut into cubes and chilled
185g vegetable shortening, chilled (I used Kremelta)
150ml ice water
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced evenly (see notes)
1 lemon, juiced
350g blackcurrants (if using frozen, thaw them first, I used Viberi)
3 tablespoons cornflour
1 egg, beaten
extra sugar for sprinkling
Toss the apple slices with the lemon juice to stop them turning brown. Add the sugar, blackcurrants, and cornflour and toss again. Set aside.
If you are using a loose bottomed pie dish, wrap the exterior in tinfoil and set aside. (See notes)
In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, salt, butter and shortening. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. A few larger pieces of fat is ok. (You can also use a pastry cutter.)
Tip the mixture into a bowl and drizzle over the water, 1 tablespoon at a time. I use a butter knife to ‘cut’ in the water. You could also stir it with a wooden spoon or spatula. Stop adding water when the mixture begins to form large clumps. You may need up to ¾c, depending on the weather. (I use less in summer when it’s humid, more in winter when the weather is dry.)
Tip the dough out onto a floured benchtop. It shouldn’t be too sticky. Fold the dough into itself until the flour and fats are fully incorporated. Form it into 2 balls and flatten them slightly.
Wrap each piece of dough tightly in plastic then pop it them in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
When you’re ready to roll, remove one ball of dough from the fridge and preheat your oven to 180°C. Lightly flour your benchtop. Don’t be cross at your pastry – be gentle when you roll it! Roll from the centre and give your dough a quarter turn every couple of rolls. When you have your dough at the right measurement, place it in your tin and gently press it in with your fingers.
Tip your filling into the pie dish and give it a bit of a jiggle so everything settles.
Remove your second ball of dough from the fridge. Now, you can go one of two ways with the top. You can simply roll it out into a circle and cover the top of the pie, or you can make it twisty like mine.
To do this, roll your dough into a large rectangle. Cut even strips lengthways (about 15mm wide), I use a pizza cutter for this.
Hold the pastry strip at each end and twist in opposite directions. You will notice that the middle twists a lot better than the ends – that’s ok. Place the first strip around the perimeter of the pie dish and snip off the ends where the twist finishes. Now join the next twist – snip the end and gently crimp the two ends together. Keep going, making concentric circles until you reach the middle. I added one final little knot to finish it off.
Pop the pie into the fridge for 30 minutes, so the pastry can chill a bit (chillax dude).
Remove the pie and, using a pastry brush, gently brush with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for around 1 hour, until the pastry is crisp and golden. Serve with a big scoop of vanilla icecream.
- If your pie tin is loose bottomed I recommend wrapping your tin in tinfoil. I did not, and the blackcurrant leaked all over my oven tray and the bottom of my oven 😦
- Having larger lumps of fat is what makes the pastry flaky. These melt during baking and create steam, making the pastry puff. That’s why it’s important to be gentle when you’re rolling the dough; if you squash the fats into the flour, they won’t steam as much.
- You can make the dough ahead of time. The dough will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, tightly wrapped in plastic.
- I used a deep 10″ pie dish and the pastry quantity was enough for the crust and twisty lid.
- Try and slice the apples evenly. That way some won’t overcook and turn to mush if they’re too thin. Aim for about 50mm per slice.
- Pastry via Sally’s Baking Addiction.
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