I've never thought of myself as a very artistic person. I find it difficult to be creative - even in the kitchen sometimes. I've always had art in my blood. I was accused of tracing in my grade 8 art class. I used to spend hours with my various VHS tapes on pause so I could sketch portraits of whatever character was on the screen - Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, Duncan MacLeod, Yakko, Wakko and Dot... you name it, I drew it. I got my degree in art history. I wrote horrible embarrassing fanfiction. My point is, I have always been in some way connected to creativity, but I've never believed it lived inside me.
Why do I bring this up now? I've started taking great pride in baking lattice crust pies and lovingly crimping their crusts. Those aren't creative per se, but they do require a certain amount of artistic deftitude. My first one tasted great, but was a little lacking in the looks department. I think I've finally become confident and have gained the graceful steadiness of hand required to bake a pie that looks as good as it tastes. Evidence above. My pie was pretty!
I really enjoyed this pie, and I loved the depth of flavour that the thyme added. Not everyone will enjoy it - in particular, those who don't like their food to mix or have rigid ideas of what food goes with what ... I'm looking at you, buddy! You might come across those who say that it reminds them of "eating meat" or describe it as "that meat flavour pie." Don't be disheartened, adventuresome palates! Apple and thyme is a well-established flavour combination. It's good. Trust.
apple blackberry pie with fresh thyme
2 3/4 cups cake and pastry flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, frozen
6 tablespoons vegetable shortening, frozen (watch for trans fats!)
1/2 cup ice water
6 cups peeled, cored and sliced apples (I used empire)
1 1/2 cups blackberries
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (use a bit more if you are using sour apples)
1 teaspoon freshly picked thyme leaves
- Crust: In a medium bowl, combine first three ingredients. Grate butter and shortening with a cheese grater and add to flour mixture. Work it until its texture resembles coarse meal.
- Add ice water gradually and form into a ball. Divide dough in two and shape into two disks. Wrap them in cellophane and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Filling: Peel, core and slice your apples while you are waiting. Put them in a medium sized bowl with the blackberries.
- Add sugar, flour and thyme. Toss well.
- Putting it all together: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Roll out one of your disks 12" to 14" and lay in the bottom of a deep dish pie plate. Put the filling in the pie and roll out the second disk for the top. After putting the top layer over (however you do it), crimp the edges of the crust to hold things together and make them look nice.
- You can just do a standard pie crust, but a lattice top is easy and really nice to look at. It gives the illusion of being difficult to do, but it's not. Here's a good video demonstrating how to make a lattice top.
- Sprinkle your crust with sugar, then bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until you can see the juice bubbling up from inside and the crust is a nice golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to rest for at least an hour (you're meant to leave it for longer, but we both know that's a hilarious joke!)