If you've been reading my blog for a while you may recall last year at this time I came upon a secret stash of wild blackberries. I returned again this year only to find that the crop was not that great. Many of the blackberries had not ripened and had simply withered away. I can only assume it is because of this extended warm period we have been experiencing. However, there was almost enough to fill a pie!
On the way home I stopped by the local community orchard and picked half a dozen small apples to add to the quantity of blackberries.
Now I had enough for a pie!
I went for a gluten free option. 12oz of gluten-free flour and 6 ounces of Stork marj were added to a bowl and rubbed through my fingers until a fine breadcrumbs texture was achieved. Using a tiny amount of water at a time, I worked the mixture until it formed into one lump of dough. I let it chill for half an hour in the fridge before rolling it out and lining a pie tin. The tricky part was getting it into the tray, as gluten-free pastry just breaks up if you try to lift it. Third time lucky. Then I "baked it blind", by putting greaseproof paper over the base and placing the empty shell case in the oven for about 15 minutes.
Once cooled, in went the chopped apples, a little caster sugar, the blackberries, a little more sugar, then the lid went on. Back in the oven for another 30 minutes.
The orchard was started a few years ago by the same organisation that runs the local community market on the first Saturday of every month. The area used to be known locally as the donkey field, as a retired donkey used to live there. It had long since passed, and the field, which is on a slope down to Brunstane Burn, had become badly overgrown. Taking control of the field from the council, the area was cleared, and since 2010 around 90 fruiting trees have been planted, including apples, pears, plums and cherries, focusing on unusual and old varieties. Currant and gooseberries bushes have also been planted, and together with a little more landscaping a hive of bees was introduced three years ago.
They say that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Well, I can't share it with you, but trust me, it is yummy. Or should I say was, as it was consumed within hours of leaving the oven!