Very Berry Pie

This morning I went to the most amazing farmers market I’ve ever been to, this side of the globe. The only thing UK farmers markets haven’t quite embraced yet are the free samples and how approachable everyone is at the Westcoast. But I won’t dwell on that. Instead I’ll tell you how amazing it was.

First off, I started this blog with the plan of one picture per post. I don’t like the layout and the messiness when there are too many pictures, I find it hard to read and I’m never sure if I’m supposed to look at the pictures first, then read the post, do it all together, or what else does the lovely blogger want me to do?

On that note, I’m about to break this rule. Blackheath farmers market was so overwhelming, it’s worth breaking any rule.

I did some research before heading over, alas not enough to warn me of that terrible terrible hill that I had to face at 9.54am. In the end, I got off my bike and walked up half of it. Don’t get me wrong. I love my work-out. But not today. Not in the morning. It’s hard enough to get my butt out of bed every Saturday to go to the super early spinning class, but this is about as much morning work out as I am willing to do per week. But as for the research, the general opinion was that it was quite pricey. While I am more of a saving money person than spending it, I do appreciate quality food and spending money on good food is fairly easy for me. Alas, I went there with a small bag, hoping not to spend too much. The market is tucked away behind the station. Blackheath itself is a lovely neighborhood. It’s very grown up, the kind of place where families settle down once their kids have left home. Oddly enough, it seemed incredibly appealing to me. I wasn’t sure how much money I should be taking with me and was tempted to get some more money out of a nearby ATM, but I resisted. I only had my backpack and no intention of taking a train back home due to rain or too much food. And it worked out just fine. For about £10 I was able to get a big bag of apples and carrots, a head of lettuce, beautiful sourdough bread, some fancy looking cauliflower and let me tell you about the arugula and Tuscan kale I laid my hands on!

Instead of having the, what I am used to, pre-packed lettuce, you could make your own lettuce bag at this stall. I love it! Arugula was £1 for 100g, beautiful Tuscan kale was £1.50, both of which I found very very reasonable. I think on my way home from yoga today I might pick up some nice pasta and make something with the arugula. Or maybe pizza? I don’t know yet. But you’ll probably be reading the recipe for something with arugula in the near future.

All in all I didn’t find the market expensive at all. The opposite, actually. Compared to my local grocery store, which is still my go-to place for pantry items, Blackheath market might be my new place for fresh produce. I don’t know how easy (read: motivated) it will be for me to go every Sunday, but it sure is the plan for now.

It started raining right as I was packing my bag to get back on my bike, so on my wet ride home I decided that today is gonna be that kind of day where I might just have to curl up on my couch. It’s gonna be at least four episodes of Parks and Recreation, lots of tea (probably Chai, but I haven’t made up my mind yet) and later today yoga. And the last slice of that pie I made a few days ago.

For the pie crust
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold vegan butter or margarine
1/4 cup ice-cold water

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Cut in all of the butter, crumbling it in between your fingers to incorporate it with the dry ingredients. Your final result should look somewhat like crumble you could put on top of a cake. Add in the water slowly, not everything at once. I usually go for 1/8th and then check how sticky or dry the dough is. You want something that you can easily form into a ball, but nothing that sticks to the bowl or your hands. Knead the dough for a few seconds, then form it into a ball, wrap it in cello wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

For the filling
3 cups berries, whatever your hearts desire. Frozen and canned ones work best here
1 large tart apple, Granny Smith or Cox work best
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp cornstarch

Pre-heat your oven to 180C
If you are using frozen berries it’s best to de-freeze them overnight in the fridge.

Slice your apple into thin slices, then add it in with the berries in a big bowl.

Add in the sugar and spices and stir it very very well until everything is mixed together. Set aside for 10 minutes to juice.

Now the magic of rolling out the perfect pie crust. A little birdy thought me to use cello wrap as a base, spread out the dough, add a little bit of flour on top and roll it out so it’s big enough to cover your pie dish. Once you have reached the desired size, take the wrap with the crust, turn it upside down onto your dish and remove the cello wrap. Ta-daaah! Perfect crust! Put the crust in the freezer while you finish the filling.
Give the berry mixture a good stir and see if it has produced enough juice. Stir in the cornstarch and let it sit for another couple of minutes.

Take the crust out of the freezer, fill it with the delicious berry-apple mix and pop it in the oven for 60-65 minutes. Halfway through I like to rotate the pie to make sure its baking evenly, because ovens always lie.

Once its done let it sit for at least an hour, preferably longer for it to settle.

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