“We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.” David Mamet, Boston Marriage
With the arrival of the often dramatically crisp, sunny and rainy autumn days, the best treatment for the psyche and body is to reflect the fall months via the new, earthy, deep seasonal flavours in one’s food. When autumn knocks on the door with its chilly mornings and magical colours, woodlands and forests become little islands of paradise for foraging wild foods and exploring nature. The striking aged beauty of Mother Nature with its auburn foliage and adorable wild life invites the daring housewifes to pick from her larder and indulge both the mind and the soul.
“Cut my pie into four pieces, I don’t think I could eat eight.” Yogi Berra
350 g flour
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp sugar
230 g butter, cold, diced
60 -120 ml water
1 egg yolk
2 apple, peeled, finely chopped
4 tbsp sugar
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C.Work with very cold ingredients. Place the flour, salt, and sugar (5 tablespoons), stir with a spoon to combine, then add the butter (cubed) and mix until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Pour in 60 ml water and gently work until the dough holds together when pinched. If necessary, pour more water. Mix for only about 30 seconds. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about twenty minutes before using.
Mix chopped apple, sugar and cinnamon, set aside. Place the dough on floured surface and roll it out into about 3-5 mm thickness.Use a cookie cutter, about 4 cm in diameter and cut out circles. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.Place the dough circles onto the sheet. Cover with jam, spoon a pile of apple in the middle then place another circle on top of the filling, egg wash the sides and press. Seal and decorate the edges with a short piece of a lollipop stick (or a wooden skewer). Continue with all dough circles, then re-roll the scraps and cut out some more circles. Apply egg wash on the top, then place three little leaves to decorate. Bake in the preheated oven at 350 F (175 C) for about 20-25 minutes or until golden-brown.
If one decides to make it all by hand…
Making Berry Preserve
The night before preserve making, layer the berries (1800 g), apples (4, peeled, cut) and sugar (1500 g) together in a very large bowl, then cover and set aside at room temperature. This helps the sugar to start dissolving. The next morning stir, then set aside again for a couple of hours. Put a small saucer in the freezer. Tip the berries, scraping out all juices and any undissolved sugar, into a large, wide-based pan. Stir in the juice of 1 lemon, then collect all the pips and secure them inside a piece of muslin, then add to a pan. Start to cook on a low heat until all the sugar is completely dissolved, then bring to the boil and simmer (on very low heat) for 30 minutes, constantly stirring. Turn off the heat and spoon a little preserve onto the chilled saucer. Once cool, push the with finger. If it wrinkles a little, it’s ready and has reached setting point. If it is too runny to wrinkle, return the pan to the heat and boil in 2-3 minute stages, removing the pan from the heat each time doing the saucer check, until the jam wrinkles.Skim off any excess white foamy layer. Leave the jam for 15 mins before ladling into sterilised jars.
“The homemade pie has been under siege for a century, and surely its survival is endangered.” Janet Clarkson, Pie: A Global History