Pear and Damson Lattice Pie

You know when you’ve just always wanted to make something? I’ve always wanted to try a lattice pie; one with lovely red fruit under the interwoven top. I imagined it would be assembled in a cloud of flour with pastry flying all over the place while I tried to weave the lattice. I envisaged having to try and find my inner Mr Tickle. In reality it was a comparatively calm affair with only slight frowning during the construction. 
Pear and Damson Lattice Pie - finished
Some people, I like to think of them as having iron teeth, will happily eat a damson just as it is. I find them far too sour; comparative to eating a stick of rhubarb, and so cook mine (or mix them with gin) to encourage their flavour with a little sugar. Damsons are rock hard plums with a lovely deep purple skin. I have been lucky to find some growing nearby but they are so high up only some enthusiastic tree shaking would get them down. I think I’d get some funny looks. Luckily my greengrocer has ample damsons and also (of benefit to the finished pie) some unripe pears.
damsons

You will need:

Large handful damsons, stones removed
3 unripe pears
Sugar
250g plain flour
125g cold butter
A few spoons of cold water
1 beaten egg
pears

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.

Pear and Damson Lattice Pie - fruit mix

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.

Line a greased 20cm loose bottomed tart tin with half the pastry and prick the bottom all over with a fork. Put the lined tin in to the fridge and turn the oven on to 180C. While the fruit is still cooling and the pastry is chillaxing you can make the lattice. Roll the other half of the pastry out nice and thin and cut in to strips; I ended up with 10 strips. Make the lattice by laying half of the strips horizontally on a sheet of greaseproof paper and then interweave the other strips going over one and under the other (see picture). 
Pear and Damson Lattice Pie - making the lattice top

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.

Pear and Damson Lattice Pie - before baking

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.

Pear and Damson Lattice Pie - finished

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.

Comments

  1. says

    This is how the Italian pies look like! We call them ‘crostate’. I’ve tried several times to bake crostate but I’ve never been successful. Believe me this pie looks WONDERFUL (WARM colours too).

  2. says

    I beg to differ: Damsons should not be rock-hard if they are properly ripe – certainly not like sloes! They make fantastic jam too. Your tart is worthy of the Great British Bakeoff!

  3. says

    This looks lovely…I’m am indeed impressed! Love the sound of those Damosons and Pears together and it looks really striking with the lattice. Pastry lattice is also on my too make list…I must get round to trying it! 🙂

  4. says

    dont think i’ve seen damsons here and the look likr grapes in the picture! taht’s a pretty pie, i think i need to practise doing a lattice pie!

  5. says

    What a glorious colour damsons create. I love them, no access to a tree now, our neighbours who used to let me have all of theirs moved on and the new ones are not so generous.

  6. says

    I’ve been in the uk for 3 years and I even work at a farmer’s market for god’s sake but I have yet to try a damson. I know, sacrilegious. this pie esp is making me feel really bad. will get myself a punnet soon as I’m back!

  7. says

    Great job! My first lattice pie I could not quite manage to weave the lattice, more layered it to it LOOKS woven! I’m sure this must have been delicious. Love a good pie, don’t you? Also love the shot of the pears! Have been reading my subscription to your blog on my phone (difficulties commenting on the phone though) so am finally looping back to comment.

  8. says

    I love the pear and damson combo. Damsons are a beautiful colour when cooked and a fruit that today isn’t so readily available, which is a shame. Great pie too:)

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