Braided Apple, Blueberry & Cardamom Pie
It’s time to admit it: I am addicted to making pie. I can barely go a week without making some form or other. Double crust, single crust, galettes, pie-crumble hybrids, hand pies. Usually an all butter dough, but sometimes a buttermilk flavoured one. All types of fillings are fair game, but most of the time a fruit filling is my jam. A decorative top layer is a must. I mean, if you’re already going to put in all the time & effort it takes to make a proper flaky, buttery pie dough, why not just go that little bit further to impress taste-testers even more? Every time I make a pie I try to out decorate the last one I made. It is addictive.
Surely there are worse things to be addicted to?
Of course, I always look to the pros when I’m brainstorming ideas for new pie designs. I’m nowhere near as talented as the serious food bloggers out there who easily roll out designs such as herringbone lattices & the like, but I love the task of trying to be. Trying to keep everything stone cold so I don’t undo any of the good dough making I’ve already done; trying to cut even slices of dough; trying to make it all look so effortless & beautiful. Like I said, addicted.
This pie was made for a dinner party, but I ended up being so happy with the braiding that I had to slice it up to photograph it & then put it all back together before anyone arrived. Thankfully nobody noticed in the candlelight & everybody loved the pie! Apple because who doesn’t like apple pie? Blueberry because Boyfriend has a mild obsession, & cardamom because I wanted the pie to be more exciting than just apple & blueberry. Boyfriend was skeptical about the cardamom, but it turned out to be the perfect combination of flavours.
Makes one 9-inch pie
- 340g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 255g unsalted butter, very cold & cut into small cubes
- 4-6 tablespoons of ice water (I only used 4)
- 150g blueberries
- 800g apples – peeled, cored & sliced thinly
- 150g caster sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 3 tablespoons cornflour
- juice of ½ a lemon
- 1 egg, beaten
- demerara sugar, for sprinkling
- whipped cream, for serving
- First, make the pie dough. Whisk together the flour & salt in a large bowl. Working quickly, add the butter to the flour & toss it around. Use your fingers to press each cube of butter into a flat sheet. Keep tossing the butter to make sure each piece is covered in flour. If at any time the butter seems warm, refrigerate the bowl briefly. Sprinkle about 4 tablespoons of ice water into the bowl & use a gentle hand to stir together until just combined. You’ve added enough water to the mixture if you can pick up a handful of the dough & easily squeeze it together without it falling apart, but without it being all sticky. Split the dough into two disks, each wrapped in cling film & leave to rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours before using. (Remember, we need to keep the dough extra chilled if we want it to be extra flaky.)
- Once the dough has chilled, remove one of the disks from the fridge & on a lightly floured surface, roll it out into a roughly 12-inch circle that is about ¼-inch thick. Carefully press the dough into your pie dish/tart tin & store in the fridge. Remove the second disk from the fridge & roll it out into a rectangle roughly 12-inches in size. Place on a sheet pan & leave to chill in the fridge while you prepare the filling. (Think of the flakes.)
- In a large bowl, gently mix together the blueberries, apples, caster sugar, cardamom, lemon juice & the cornstarch. When combined, pour the filling into the prepared pie dish & return to the fridge
- Remove the chilled rectangle from the fridge & place onto a lightly floured work surface. Use a ruler to cut long even strips into the dough. I cut my strips at different widths to vary the braid sizes. Once you have your dough sliced up, plait it into at least three different braids (I did four different styles – YouTube always helps!).
- Remove the pie from the fridge & carefully transfer the braids to the top of the filling. (I had some leftover strips of dough that I didn’t plait & used these to fill the gaps between the different braids.) When all of the braids are placed on the top of the pie, crimp the edges of the dough whatever way you’d like.
- Preheat the oven to 200C. While the oven heats up, slide the whole pie into the freezer for at least 15-minutes, & think of it as a necessary step to pie success.
- When ready to bake, brush the top of the pie with the beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with some demerara sugar before baking for 40-50 minutes, or until the juices are bubbling & the crust is a deep golden brown.
- Leave the pie to cool & serve warm with some lightly whipped cream.