Given that winter is a time for hearty puddings and desserts, I thought I’d share a recipe for a fruit pie in this series of wintry dishes. The particular delight about this pie is that it’s made using the gin infused leftover flavourings of one of the most perfect winter drinks: apple and blackberry gin. The only downside is that it requires patience – the gin takes four weeks to make, so this pie has quite a lead in and can only be made after producing a batch of the gin.
To make the infused gin, combine 300g of blackberries, 300g of apples roughly chopped and 270g of sugar per litre of gin, along with one bay leaf, in an airtight jar. Store in a dark place for 4 weeks, giving it a shake each day. At the end of the 4 weeks decant the now red coloured gin into bottles through muslin and a funnel. You can throw away the bay leaf, but keep back the fruit for this recipe – the fruit will be fine in the fridge for a few days before making the pie, and be sure to use any liquid it releases at this time during step 3 of the recipe below.
(based on having made 2lts of Gin)
• Leftover fruit from infusing the gin
• 3 dessertspoons of sugar
• Enough rolled flat sweet crust or short crust pastry to cover the top of a ceramic dish to be used for baking the pie
• Double cream and/or Christmas Pudding Ice Cream (minus the rum), to serve
Heat the oven to 180°C.
Tend to the fruit by discarding any blackberries that have gone entirely hard (a result of the gin drying them out), and with a knife cut away from the apple pieces any harder parts that are part of the apple core.
Put the fruit (including any juice released by it) in a saucepan with 2 dessertspoons of sugar. Heat this on a low flame with the lid on until the sugar is dissolved and the fruit warm. Remember to stir occasionally. It should take no more than about 10 minutes.
Take the fruit off the heat and put it into a ceramic baking dish that is just big enough for the fruit to fill it completely to the top.
Lay the pastry over the dish. Be sure to push the pastry down against the rim of the dish to seal it. Cut away any large bits of overhanging pastry – but don’t cut away too much as the pastry will shrink when cooked.
Make 4-6 little slits in the pastry, which should be spread evenly over the dish. Then sprinkle over the remaining 1 dessertspoon of sugar. Place in the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the pastry has some colour and the filling is piping hot.
Once cooked, remove the pie from the oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes before serving.