My Very Berry Pie

Mulberry & strawberry pie

A bagful of seasonal berries arrived from Shillong and pie was the first thing on my mind. It was a mix of mulberries and strawberries. The sight of mulberries always remind me of my childhood. One of the highlights of the season was picking them from a neighbour’s tree where some of the branches stretched out across the wall. We would revel in the taste and in the purple colour that our fingers and mouths were magically transformed. But we never thought of the fruit in cooked form then. My mother’s garden has a couple of trees now but mulberries are so highly perishable that by the time the packed fruit arrive here, they ooze a lot of their juices and nearly rot as they travel a little more than 300kms. 
I used more mulberries than strawberries in this recipe. For a change it was good to bake with a different variety of fruit rather than apples and pears.

The pastry:
250 grams flour, sieved
125 grams butter chilled and grated 
Two eggs, one for binding the dough and the other to be used later to brush the pie
About a tablespoon of iced water
Grate the butter over the bowl of flour. Mix using your finger tips till the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Break an egg into it and knead gently. Sprinkle the water (if necessary) and let the dough come together. Divide into two portions, flatten and chill in the fridge wrapped in clingfilm for at least thirty minutes.

The filling: 
2 cups of mulberries and strawberries
Half a cup of brown sugar
A quarter cup of flour
A tsp of freshly grated lemon zest
A pinch of cinnamon powder
Butter to dot the filling

Roll one ball of the pastry dough on a floured surface. Roll a little bigger than the tin. Fold the dough on the rolling pin and unfurl it gently on the tin. Press the bottom edges. Roll the pin over the edge of the tin to remove any excess dough. Chill in the fridge as you prepare the filling.

I left most of the stems on the mulberries. Hull and halve the strawberries. Add the sugar, the lemon zest, cinnamon powder and gently mix with a spoon. Add the flour and give it another gentle mix. Transfer the berries to the chilled pie shell. Dot the filling with butter.

Roll out the other half of the dough and cut them into strips. Arrange the strips on top of the berries creating any pattern that you like. Join the edges with some milk.  Brush with beaten egg and bake at 180C for about 30 minutes or until the pie is golden brown and some of the purple juices bubble and flow. Cool before serving.

Although this is the usual recipe I follow while making a sweet fruit pie, I blind-baked the pastry for a change. I thought writing PIE would turn out really nice. But attempting calligraphy any form of writing isn’t as easy as ABC. Which is why I have stuck to lattices and made some leaves with the extra dough.

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