Even though the humble fruit pie may be a bit of a cop out on my part, when it came to pastry week it was all I wanted to bake. Perhaps it was all that pinning of August inspiration and hearty food, perhaps it was just because I had all the ingredients readily available in the cupboard or perhaps it was because yet again I can’t bring myself to stray away from my sweet tooth. Whatever the reason, I abandoned my thoughts of a savoury meat pie in favour of a delicious shortcrust blueberry one instead.
I’m a bit of a dab hand when it comes to pastry (my mum always says that cold hands make a light pastry and my hands are always freezing no matter what so maybe that’s why), I’ve always found it relatively easy to knock up a quick shortcrust batch and I was really surprised upon looking online at how many pie recipes state using shop bought pastry. I think it’s one of those tasks that scares people much more than is necessary as it’s actually one of the simplest things to make and can be adapted for so many recipes.
I made mine sweet with the addition of a little sugar, but take this out and the same pastry can be used for savoury dishes too. It’s easy to roll, keeps in the freezer if you make too much and I’ve never had any bad experiences with it (I hate pastry mixes that crumble or break as you work with them). The same pastry was used in my Strawberry tarts and apple crumble tarts too.
After the rather gargantuan nature of my last few bakes, I wanted to create something small, delicate and just big enough for one, so instead of making one large pie, I created miniature versions using a muffin tin (as long as you grease it well before hand, this works really well and the pies just pop out once cool). You can use any fruit inside but blueberries added to the delicate nature and taste so gorgeous along with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, I couldn’t resist keeping this one classic. So here’s how to create your mini blueberry pies…
What you’ll need…
(recipe makes 12 mini pies)
200g plain white flour (plus more for rolling)
100g unsalted butter
a few tablespoons cold water
400g fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon corn flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg whisked to brush over the top
How it’s done…
1. First make the pastry. Place your flour, sugar and butter (cut into small cubes) into a large bowl.
2. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs (as I mentioned cold hands make this easier to do, try not to take too long to do this step as your hands will heat as you go melting the butter).
3. Add a little water to the mix and bind it together into a dough, adding more water as necessary. The dough should come together quite easily and not be too wet or too crumbly.
4. Wrap in some clingfilm and leave in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
5. Meanwhile grease a muffin tin well with a little butter and begin making the blueberry mix.
6. Add the sugar, cornflour, cinnamon, salt and blueberries together and mix well. Set aside until needed.
7. Preheat your oven to around 200 degrees celcius and remove your pastry from the fridge.
8. Break into around four sections and roll out one at a time until around 1.5 cm thick. Use three of the sections for the bottoms and keep one section for the tops.
9. Using a cookie cutter cut large circles out big enough to fill the muffin tin around half way up (to make them more rustic just stuff the dough into the muffin rounds and fold down the edges to avoid a ‘perfect’ finish)
10. Once all the rounds have been filled, line with a little greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Cook blind for around twn minutes (this step is optional but with a shortcrust pastry I find it’s better to pre bake slightly to avoid an undercooked bottom).
11. Meanwhile cut shapes out of your remaining pastry section to use as the tops of the pies. You can choose either a lattice structure by cutting strips, a classic version by cutting smaller rounds and pricking a small hole in the top, or like I’ve done choose a fun star shape.
12. Remove the pies from the oven and leave to cool slightly before removing the baking beans and greaseproof paper.
13. Fill each pie with a little of the blueberry mixture and a tiny dollop of butter and then top with your lids, using a little of the whisked egg to seal.
14. Brush the egg over the top for a glazed look, or dust with flour for a white look.
15. Bake for around 10-15 minutes until golden on top and the blueberries are beginning to bubble out. Eat hot with a little cream or ice cream or cold as a snack!
They may be simple, but sometimes we don’t have the time nor the patience for a four layer dessert, so if you’re looking for an easy recipe that will please everyone, this is for you.