Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mulberry pies

Mulberries...taste of childhood, tree climbing, stained hands and feet, a bowlful for dessert after a midday lunch around a table. I find mulberries rarely and when I do, they make me tremble. They are best eaten out of hand, or from a bowl with  spoon, uninterfered with.

But if you have too many - lucky, lucky you - they make wonderful tarts.

This pastry was always used for apple pie in our house.  Molly Bolt, a friend of my mother's in Bloemfontein, circa 1960's, gave her the recipe. It employed margarine! I use butter.

I never met Molly Bolt, but her pastry lives on.

This pastry does not need to rest, and is very forgiving and versatile. I use it for pies small and large, in a spring form cake tin, or individual muffin trays, or simply as a flat disk cooked on a baking sheet. It does not have to be baked blind.

175 gr/6 oz butter
75 gr/2.5 oz sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
300 grams/ 10.5 oz flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt

Beat the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the egg. Beat again. Gradually beat in the flour, baking powder and salt. Roll out thinly. Line the bottom and sides of a greased, spring form cake tin [or individual slots in a muffin pan in the case of the mulberry tarts], add cooled filling, cut out a pastry disk to cover, crimp the edges in the way you know best, make two slits for steam, and bake in a 350'F/180'C oven till pale golden and crisp. Baking time varies. For a large tart, like apple, about forty-five minutes. For small mulberry pies, check after fifteen minutes.

Mulberry filling for small pies - makes about 8 muffin tray-sized pies, or one large pie.

2 cups mulberries, stalks removed
1/4 cup raspberries or Juneberries (Amelanchier sp.)
2 Tbps sugar

Heat the fruit and sugar in a pan till juice starts to flow, cook till fruit is just soft, then remove from pan with slotted spoon. Cook juice till syrupy (adding collected juice from the bowl where the berries are sitting). Add syrup to berries and cool. Use as filling or topping for closed or open tarts using Molly Bolt's pastry.

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