Introduction: Blackberry Rosemary Apple Pie

About: I'm a twentysomething baking obsessive, working as a baker and cake decorator, and gradually fattening up my housemates one recipe idea at a time.
Pie is irresistible, for breakfast dessert or an afternoon snack.

This pie was heavily inspired by a delicious shortbread recipe from dessertsforbreakfast. With a sweet rosemary shortcrust pastry, slightly cinnamony apple filling and the sugary goo of home-made jam oozing through the cracks, it's a gorgeous accompaniment to a damn fine cup of coffee.

(You could use a high quality shop bought jam in the filling, but if you have the time to spare it's worth making the quick jam, even making double the amount. It's great on toast, or on brownie as my chocolate fiend of a friend discovered.)

Step 1: Ingredients and Equipment

For the (blackberry) jam:
  • 300 g berries (any combination you fancy, fresh or frozen - I used half blackberries half blueberries)
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

For the rosemary pastry:
  • 340 g plain flour
  • 200 g butter (cold)
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 tbsp cold water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • chopped rosemary, approx 4 sprigs
  • zest of 1 lemon
For the apple filling:
  • 5-6 green apples
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional - it isn't really needed but I'm fairly incapable of making anything containing apples and not cinnamon )

To glaze the pastry:

  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar

Oven preheated to 200C/400F/Gas 6


  • Mixing bowls
  • Spoons
  • Knife
  • Peeler
  • Corer (if you have one)
  • Lemon squeezer
  • Saucepan
  • Pie dish
  • Rolling pin
  • Microfile/zester
  • Scales/measuring cups

For anyone without scales, a good weight to volume conversion guide can be found here.

Step 2: Blackberry Jam

First make the blackberry jam filling:

Place the berries in a bowl and squeeze over the lemon juice. Stir through and leave for a couple of minutes to macerate, this helps the fruit to release it's juices and flavour.

Take half of the berries and put them in a saucepan with the sugar.Cook over a medium heat, stirring frequently, until the berries begin to release some juice. Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes until you have juicy looking compote type thing.

Add the rest of the berries and stir them in, and bring the mixture back up to a boil. Cook for 10-15 minutes more, stirring frequently.

To test if the jam is done, put a couple of teaspoons in your freezer. Scoop some of the juice & berries onto a frozen teaspoon and put it back in the freezer for a couple of minutes. Take it out of the freezer and hold it up vertically. If the jam remains thick and spreadable, and does not drip off the spoon, it's ready. If it is still runny cook for a couple more minutes, and then test again.

When the jam is ready take it off the heat and pour into a bowl. Leave to cool, or stick it in the fridge for a bit if you're pushed for time.

Step 3: Rosemary Pastry

While the jam is cooling, make your pastry:

Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl.

Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the flour. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. This distributes the butter throughout the pastry, giving a good flaky texture.

Add the sugar, chopped rosemary and lemon zest, and stir through.

Beat together the egg yolks and cold water. Mixing these together before hand stops the pastry getting streaky when the eggs are added.

Pour the egg into the flour mix. Stir it together with a butter knife, until the pastry begins to clump together. At this point it's easiest to get your hands in, and begin gently pressing the pastry together. Add a bit more water if you feel the pastry is very dry, but try to add as little as possible, since too much liquid in pastry will cause it to shrink away from the tin.

Once you have pressed the pastry together into a ball flatten it into a large disc. Wrap it in clingfilm and chill it in the fridge for about half an hour to firm it up.

Step 4: Apple Filling

While the pastry is chilling, prepare the apples:

Peel core and slice your apples. 

Combine the apple slices in a bowl with the sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and cinnamon if you are using it.

Leave to macerate for at least half an hour, then strain off any juices the apples have released.

Step 5: Assembly

With all components ready, you can now assemble the pie:

Take your pastry out of the fridge and roll about 2/3 of it out thinly into a rough circle, a couple of inches larger than your pie dish. Lay the pastry over your tin and press it firmly into the base and sides. Trim off the excess from the edges and press this back into a ball to use for the top of the pie. Put the lined tin in the fridge to chill for at least half an hour. This relaxes the gluten in the pastry and prevents the pastry shrinking in the oven.

Once chilled, take out the pie crust and spread it with a layer of the jam. Top this with a layer of apple slices, then spread more jam on top of that. Continue until you have used all of the jam and apples.

Roll out the rest of the pastry and drape it over the top of the pie. Trim off any excess from the edges, and press the edges together with your fingertips to seal the pie.

Make 3 small holes in the centre of the pie lid to release the steam as the pie cooks. If you are feeling fancy you can use any leftover scraps of pastry to decorate the finished pie.

Brush the pastry with egg, and sprinkle with a little sugar.

Step 6: Baking the Pie

Bake the pie in the oven, preheated to 200C/400F/Gas 6 for about 45 minutes.

Check the pie after half an hour on the oven, as the sweet shortcrust can brown a bit too easily. If the top is already looking very brown, cover the pie with tin foil for the remaining 15 minutes of baking time.

Once cooked remove the pie and allow it cool completely.

Serve slices cold or warm, ideally drenched in double cream.

Eat and enjoy!
Serious Eats Pi Day Pie Contest

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