Autumn means foraging and baking

Food created with locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients tastes incredible and what’s more local than your own garden? Since I currently don’t have an oven or a garden, I can’t bake anything using ingredients I’ve cultivated. Having said that, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the baker in my family; my sister is. I’m more the person who roasts vegetables in the oven.

The few times I do something baking related I tend to gravitate towards pastry. Cakes confuse me and they seem to be such an exact science compared to cooking. If a pastry goes wrong for some reason, you can just make a new one and continue where you left off. I don’t feel like cakes give me that option. As I don’t currently have the means to bake anything, I’ll instead reminisce about a beautiful September day two years ago when I baked a pie using fruit that was ripe in that month.

Luckily for my fruit pie baking efforts, my parents are pretty keen on growing food items in their garden. Homegrown tends to taste better as it hasn’t been transported anywhere and is as fresh as can be! When I had a balcony garden all of my plants were from my parents garden (and most of them have returned again). They have quite a large garden, their friends often receive surplus from it or get permission to go scavenger hunting in it.

This pie was a sweet pie with a standard shortcrust pastry (recipe below) crust. Fruit pie filling is pretty easy, you dump the fruit in a pot with a bit of water and sugar to taste and heat it up. Since we didn’t have enough raspberries we added some frozen ones. Frozen fruit tends to be picked when it’s exactly ripe so it’s just as good as the fresh stuff from a nutritional point of view.

You want the rest of the fruit you add to be roughly the same size as the berries and adding uncut apples would look a bit strange. Cutting the apples also ended up being the easiest way to get rid of the core, this particular variety didn’t fare too well on the apple corer (they got smushed instead of sliced).

I don’t have a photo of the finished result, only one of the pie prior to going in the oven. On the other hand, it gives you a good idea of what the filling looks like when it goes in which the after photo wouldn’t. We added a lattice top for that American look but if you only have enough pastry for the base it works as a tart too.

This type of pie is best eaten straight out of the oven with a dollop of sour cream on top!

Shortcrust pastry recipe

You will need a ratio of flour to butter that is 2.25. For instance if you have 100g of butter, you will need 225g of flour. Add a pinch of salt and rub the ingredients together until you have “breadcrumbs”. Then add water slowly until it forms a dough, you won’t need a lot of water for this. You just want the “breadcrumbs” to stick together. Kneeding the dough is optional but it you do, don’t do a lot of it. Leave it in the fridge while you make the filling for your pie. This dough can be used for both savoury and sweet fillings and you can make it both by hand and by machine.