A decorative touch for fruit pies
400g blackberries 1kg pears, cored and chopped 500g rich shortcrust pastry (see recipe above) 1 tbsp dry sherry 30g golden caster sugar 2 tbsp cornflour butter, for greasing flour, for dusting 1 egg
Set eight blackberries aside, then place the remaining blackberries and pear pieces together in a large saucepan. Mix in the sherry and sugar, and simmer for 25 mins until soft. Off the heat, mix in the cornflour and leave to cool completely. Once the filling is cool, grease a 20cm oven dish, then dust a clean work surface with flour. Cut a third of the pastry away, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge until needed. Roll the larger piece of pastry out to approximately 1cm more than would fit the dish. Line the dish with the pastry, then fold the overhang into itself to create a thicker pastry rim. Fill the pastry case with the pear and blackberry mixture, then arrange the remaining blackberries on top. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5. Take the rest of the pastry out of the fridge. Halve it, then roll out one piece to a 30 x 15cm rectangle. Slice into 11 strips of varying thickness. To lattice, place four of the strips across the pie horizontally so they are not quite equi-distant apart. Attach them to the left-hand side of the pie by pinching the ends into the pastry to secure. Working from the top strip down, lift strips one and three and fold them back on themselves towards the left side. Place a new strip vertically over the pie a little way away from the left-hand edge. Return the lifted strips across the pie and over the vertical strip. Now fold back horizontal strips two and four and place a second vertical strip down the pie, a little apart from the first one. Repeat the process until all seven vertical strips are in place and the lattice is complete. Pinch the ends of the pastry strips into the right-hand pastry rim, then trim away any excess. Using a fork, imprint a pattern of lines round the rim to create a neat edge. Roll out the remaining pastry to approximately 1cm thick, then cut out different-sized leaves and petals, one at a time, by hand, to create flowers with leaves on top of the lattice. Fix by gently pressing down on top of the pastry strips. Roll small balls of pastry by hand and flatten them to make flower centres before applying in the same way. Leave to chill for 1 hr. In a small bowl, beat the egg with a fork, then brush all the pastry on top of the pie, including the rim, with egg wash. Bake for 30 mins until the pastry is golden and the filling is glossy.