A friend of the family gave my girlfriend's Mam a huge back of Brambles they'd foraged, and she asked me to make her a bramble pie. I didn't have much time so I told her to stick them in the freezer and I would get them later. On a trip to visit my girlfriend's family in Kent, her Aunty told us that there was an Apple tree which was laden with fruit in their carpark, so she foraged me a bag of apples too. I looked for Bramble and Apple Pie Recipes and found one, which sounded a bit weird, so I dipped in to Mrs Beeton's Larder and pulled out her Apple Pie recipe.
However - horror of horrors - our digital scales had ran out of battery, I wanted a higher yield, I only had measuring cups to use, I had Apples and Brambles and this was for Apples only, but in the Blackberry and Apple variation it suggested replacing the cloves with lemon juice and I didn't have any - suffice to say, Mrs. Beeton was popped back in the cupboard and I made my own recipe up - which goes like this (UK readers can buy a great cup measurer from Amazon
3 cups of plain flour
1 1/2 cups of margarine
1 tsp salt
1/4 pint cold water
A little bit of beaten egg
Approx 3 cups Brambles
1 1/2lb Eating Apples
1/3 cup of sugar
Little extra sugar for dredging
3 x 1 pint pie dishes
Method: Pre-heat the oven to 200C (180C fan oven). Sift the flour in to a big bowl and add the salt - stir it up. Rub in the margarine in to the sifted flour using your fingers. It will resemble the crumble off the top of a fruit crumble. It doesn't really matter if it's not perfect, so long as all the margarine is broken up and combined with the flour. Aerate it by lifting it out of the bowl as you rub and a great tip, if it starts to get too warm and melt, run your fingers under the cold tap until they begin to turn pink with cold.
Add the water to the breadcrumbs a tiny drop at a time - use a round blade knife to mix the crumbs with the water. The dough will form for your pastry, it should be firm but not crumbling. Stick this in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Core, peel and slice your apples. Wash your brambles. Grease your pie dishes. Put a little beaten egg in to a dish and get out your pastry brush.
Divide your pastry in to 6 balls. Line your pie dishes with three of them, and glaze the edges with egg. Divide your apples into 6 equal amounts. Fill the base of each pie with apples, then a third of the sugar, then three whole cloves, then a third of the brambles and finally layer it with some more apples. Cover with the remaining three balls of pastry and pinch edges to seal. Cut 3 steam outlets in to the top of the pies and decorate with leaf patterns as required. Sprinkle a little water over the top and dredge with a tsp of sugar.
Bake for 20 minutes on 200C, reduce to 180C (160C fan oven) and cook for another 20 minutes. Allow to cool for at least an hour (they will still be really warm if you want to serve fresh) before eating or the fruit will burn your mouth! Serve with custard, cream or ice cream and enjoy this perfect Autumn food.
Nanna Kate X