In this lovely sunny weather, the fruit is ripening beautifully! Loganberries to top off my morning muesli, gooseberries plump and ready to be made into jam and deep dark blackcurrants calling out to have something created from them. Actually, there are so many blackcurrants, I could make more than one thing with them. I’m going to start with a Blackcurrant and Lemon Verbena Pie, as you really can’t go wrong with a pie.
Method for making Blackcurrant and Lemon Verbena Pie
I slightly altered a recipe in the Guardian, Feast section, which was adapted from The Farmette Cookbook by Imen McDonnell.
Handy tip: You need to start the day before you intend to make your pie.
2 handfuls fresh lemon verbena leaves
200g plain flour
140g semolina (finely ground)
3 tabs sugar
4 tabs water
Milk and caster sugar for glazing
Put all the syrup ingredients in a saucepan and heat gently, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and leave to steep overnight. Then strain into a jug.
Use a food processor to mix the flour, sugar, semolina and butter, until it looks like breadcrumbs. Then add the water and bring together. Split into 2 flattened balls, one slightly larger than the other, and refrigerate.
Heat the blackcurrants, sugar and 180ml of the lemon verbena syrup. (The recipe suggests using the remainder to sweeten cocktails – I haven’t tried this, so cannot comment on whether this would be a good idea!) Cook only until the sugar melts and then cool completely.
Roll out the larger pastry portion and place into a 24cm pie dish. Spoon in the blackcurrant filling in and roll out and place the other pastry portion on top. Crimp the edges and use the remaining pastry to make a pattern if you are feeling creative.
Bake at 180C fan oven for about 10 mins, then at 160C for about 20 minutes until golden brown.
Would I make this again?
Yes. I like the addition of lemon verbena (for me it is easy to get hold of as I happen to have some growing in the garden, but if you don’t, you could use lemon peel as an alternative) it complements the flavour of the blackcurrants. I found the pie really good served with plain yogurt, but you could go mad and make blackcurrant ice-cream to go with it. See my recipe here.