You will need:
Put the damsons into a pan with a spoonful of sugar and a little water and heat them gently so they start to soften. While they are cooking, peel and dice the pears and then add them to the damsons. You want to keep them on a heat where the fruit makes gentle pfft pfft noises as it cooks, lid on, for about 20 minutes. You might need to add a little more water if the fruit starts to catch. After 20 minutes give the fruit a little squidge with a masher to puree it a little, keep a few lumps though. Taste it and add more sugar if you think it needs it. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, you don’t want much moisture left in the pan.
While the fruit is cooking, mix the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs and then add drops of cold water until it forms a dough. Put the dough in to the fridge for half an hour. I wasn’t sure whether to blind bake the pastry or not as I didn’t want a soggy bottom (who does?) but I took a risk with this pie and did not blind bake it.
When the fruit is cool, put it into the pastry case. Then, quickly but bravely flip the lattice on top of the pie. Hesitation at this point will only increase any nervousness and so be bold, be fearless and commit to the flipping otherwise you might overshoot your pie and end up with your beautifully arranged lattice in a tangle. Press the edges of the lattice in to the edges of the pastry and remove any excess. Give the pastry a quick eggy wash and then put it into the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
I like to think of this lattice pie as a diet pie; it’s full of fruit and because the top is barely even half covered in pastry it’s half the calories! At least, that’s what I convinced myself as I reached for the second slice. I was a little concerned about using the under ripe pears in this dish but it actually turned out to be a stroke of genius. It meant that the pears, despite the stewing, mashing and baking, kept their shape and slight crunch which added another dimension to the texture of the pie.
For something that I had always wanted to try that had a bit of a reputation for being difficult I was pretty impressed. I knew I wanted to use damsons and pears together and making pastry (after much practice) is now a doddle. This pie even remained crisp and unsoggy-bottomed overnight in the fridge and was enjoyed as part of a picnic the next day. Perhaps not absolutely perfect it was exactly what I wanted it to be.