Monday, October 1, 2012

Fruit Cages, Berries, and Pies...

As Spring is bursting forth at Willowbrook we are all hands to the beds in the potager and park. This weekend we just finished weeding and mulching our berry beds. We have a berry quarter to the potager, comprising 12 raised beds each with different berries:

  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Boysenberries
  • Gooseberries
  • Cranberries
  • Worcestershire Berries
  • Red Currants
  • Black Currants
Above: The Strawberries weeded
Below: Mulched with pea straw to stop the berries coming into contact with the soil.
The thornless blackberries were rather a mess before last weekend

Now we have got the beds in order we need to design some chick cages to go over the top of them, to stop the birds getting to them first. I like the first example best, but here are a few...

Above: Berry Cage at Houghton Hall, by Ell Brown Flickr

Once we do get a decent crop it will be time to bake some pies...

Bramble Pie

175g Flour
25g Sugar
75g Butter
1 Egg Yolk
Pinch of salt
1 TblSpn of cold Water

2 Apples, peeled, cored and sliced
100g Brambles (Blackberries, Raspberries, or combination)
50-100g sugar (depending on fruit sweetness and personal preference)
3 Tsp Cornflour for binding

Pre heat oven to 200 degrees C (390F)
Rub butter into flour and sugar until it becomes crumbly. Add egg yolk and Tbspsn of water and mix until it forms a dough.
Knead on floured surface. Remove a portion (1/4) for decorating top.
Line a 7” pie dish. Prick bottom evenly with fork tynes.
Bake for 6 minutes to firm up pastry (otherwise you’ll end up with a soggy base)
Remove and dust lightly with cornflour, again to prevent soggy base
Add filling and sprinkle on sugar to taste
Decorate top with strips of pastry or other pastry motifs such as leaves.
Bake for 5 mins at 200 degrees, then turn down oven to 160 degrees (320F) for a further 15-20 mins until pastry is golden.
Remove, dust with icing sugar. Serve or allow to cool.

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