I meant free blackberry, not free pie. Sorry for the tease.
Really, who isn't a fan of free food? I love the whole idea of foraging, of searching for and getting food off the land. I've gone on about it before, I've cooked with weeds before, but I've never really foraged for anything on my own yet. I don't have quite the confidence to identify a strange poisonous plant from a medicinal/delicious one, and my mum has taught me never to trust strangers, certainly not to put them in my mouth.
These beautiful clusters of shiny black beads, though, I can easily recognise. And I didn't even have to take a train out to the countryside or some far-flung corner of London to pick these. Because I'm feeling selflessly in love with the whole world today, I'll share with anyone who's reading, that you can find these brambles just along the Regent's Canal. But they really are everywhere if you keep an eye out for them. I just pop the lovely ripe fruit straight into my mouth, quite often stained a deep maroon from the sweet sticky juices of those I've already gobbled, and cheerfully contemplate the ridiculous price tag on a box of blackberries.
With my blackberry loot, I made a little jar of jam/compote the other day with cardamom and cinnamon, two of my favourite spices for both sweet and savoury Asian cooking, and had them on sourdough crepes that I discovered lurking in my freezer. Also lurking in the freezer, behind the crepes, was a ball of shortcrust pastry dough, too small for a proper pie, but just nice for a mini-galette for one. I stuck to the same spices because I'm boring.
RUSTIC MINI BLACKBERRY PIE
super easy homemade shortcrust pastry dough (variation: This one uses leftover cider for the liquid part, it makes a shorter, slightly sweeter crust)
greedy handful of blackberries
1-2 tbsp unrefined turbinado cane sugar, plus more to sprinkle
1/2 tsp arrowroot starch (can also use cornstarch, or just slightly more flour)
1 tsp lemon juice
big pinch of cinnamon
pinch of ground cardamom
beaten free-range egg
plain organic yogurt (Full-fat please! A creamy Greek yogurt is perfect. Here I used buffalo yogurt from the farmer's market.)
1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius.
2. Prepare the dough if you haven't already got it. If you do, just roll dough out thinly into a 10 inch kind-of circle.
3. Toss blackberries with everything else except the egg, and arrange in the centre of the dough. Fold up the edges, don't worry if it looks crap.
4. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg, and do a final sprinkle of turbinado sugar over the pie.
5. Place on greased parchment paper, then place into the oven to bake for about 20-30 min, or until the pastry is golden brown. Let cool before topping with the yogurt.
I know some may call it a poor excuse for pie, but hey, if it's got a buttery crumbly crust and a deliciously sticky filling, it's pie. I call it rustic, the French call it a galette; you can pick how posh you want it, but this really is a simple treat, celebrating the simple pleasures of summer. The smell of the pie baking with all that wonderfully fragrant spices made that short wait while it's in the oven seem much longer than just 20 minutes, but it is essentially a really really quick, no-faff dessert. Topped with a dollop of creamy yogurt, it's a perfect combination of sweet, tart and buttery, of sticky, creamy and crumbly.