The cakes I bake and the books I read while baking them.
I am doing a LOT of baking at the moment, it’s part of my trying to learn how to cook a whole range of different things, so I never have to go back to microwave meals. My mum and I took my niece and nephew blackberry picking, I’ve lived in the countryside for years and yet I have never been scrumping (that, for the rest of the English speaking world, is the act of stealing fruit – particularly apples.) I’m not the sort of hardened criminal that goes fruit stealing and it’s not the sort of thing I want to teach any children in my care, so my auntie bought us round some apples from her garden and the children and I went for a walk along a public foot path and picked a couple of blackberries from the bushes and topped up the rest with berries from said auntie’s garden. And well, seeing as we had a load of fruit, when my niece came over for the afternoon, we decided to make a pie together. She very much enjoyed kneading pastry and chucking flour around, so if you find yourself babysitting, cooking might be the way forward! She even helped with the washing up after! She’s very domesticated! I’ve made an apple pie before (also jam tarts which are mentioned at the end), but those previous pastries weren’t made with a two year old helper. Previous instalments of Cooking Fast and Fresh with Ellie can be found here!
Things you will need:
125g plain flour
55g butter (I used stork to avoid lactose)
3 table spoons of cold water
Fruit (We used apples and blackberries)
A pinch of sugar
Some flour for the rolling out
A toddler. Though this part is optional.
Start by greasing your pie dish and putting it to the side for later. My niece enjoyed this bit, so the optional toddler might come in handy at this point.
Weigh out you flour and butter and put those in a bowl. This is the messy part, get your hands in there and rub it together until it resembles bread crumbs. This part was also enjoyed by the optional toddler, but I think that’s because this bit means that flour can get everywhere. Add in your water and stir with a wooden spoon until you get one solid lump of dough. Sprinkle some flour on a surface, drop your doughy substance onto it and knead it about a bit, split it in half and roll out to your desired thickness, place this in the pie dish, pushing in until it fills the base. Pour your fruit in there making sure it is evenly spread, like I said, we used apples and blackberries and sprinkled some sugar over the top.
Roll out the left over pastry and cover the fruit, using a fork, seal the edges and cut around the left over with a knife, make two holes in the top (the niece enjoyed this too, I think the art of stabbing a pie was a bit too much fun for her.) and put in the oven for about 30-40 minutes. If you have a significant amount of pastry left over, you can make jam tarts, which is what we did. I think she enjoyed these in the finish more than the actual pie, I’m not really sure why, but she worked her way through those really quickly! Even so, this apple and blackberry pie went down really well with the adults (including my brother and his girlfriend – Ellie took a couple of slices home with her) and lasted about as long as the jam tarts!
Has anyone else ever been scrumping or used ingredients from the wild in their cooking?
Can anyone offer some ideas for interesting recipes for my meals now that I don’t eat processed food? Would love to hear some!