mini pelargonium, blackberry and apple pies recipe

Mini pelargonium, blackberry & apple pies

The idea of combining pelargonium leaves with blackberries originates from Elizabeth David. She said the leaf of a sweet-scented geranium gives an incomparable flavour when cooked with blackberries for jelly (as they do in Greece), and it's an excellent addition to a classic apple and blackberry pie. You can make this as one big pie, or miniature versions, so that everyone gets their own.

serves 8

  • 250g (or 1 very large) Bramley apple
  • 250g Cox's or other eating apples
  • 275g blackberries
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 80g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 8 large pelargonium leaves
  • Milk, for brushing
  • Cream or ice-cream to serve

for the pastry

  • 175g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 1 egg yolk

First make the pastry. Sift the flour, salt and icing sugar into a bowl. Rub the butter into the flour by hand, or pulse in a food processor, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and just enough iced water to bring the mixture together into a ball. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes while you prepare the fruit.

Peel, core and slice the apples. Place in a saucepan with the blackberries, lemon zest and caster sugar. Mix and cook briefly until the sugar is dissolved and the juices start to run. Turn off the heat.

Add the pelargonium leaves and leave for about 30 minutes so that the flavours infuse.

Remove the leaves, then pile the fruit into 8 ramekins (arranged on a baking sheet) or into a 1 litre pie dish.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.

Roll out the pastry as thinly as you can (about 3-4mm). To make the pastry lids fit perfectly, using a pastry brush, dampen the edge of the ramekins or pie dish with a little water and place a thin strip of pastry all the way around each edge, pressing down with your fingers to secure it. Cut out a pastry lid to fit the top of each dish. Dampen the pastry strips with a little water and fit a lid on top of each dish. Pinch the edges to seal.

If you have any pastry left over, roll it out, press a pelargonium leaf on it to make imprints, then cut around the shapes. Use these to decorate the pies, sticking them down with a little water.

Pierce the top of each pie with the tip of a sharp knife, brush with a little milk and scatter some caster sugar over the top.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and beginning to colour, then lower the heat to 170C/gas mark 3 and cook the ramekins for another 10 minutes and the large dish for another 20 minutes. Serve with cream or ice cream.

This recipe appears on p.298 of Sarah's Food for Friends and Family cookbook.

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