Motherhood and Apple Pie

My late mother was a good baker. Well, I undersell her capabilities, she was a great baker and carried her mother's knowledge of how to make good pastry.

As a child, I grew up with my mum making apple pies, bakewell tarts, Victoria sponges, mince pies - well there wasn't much she couldn't bake.

From the age of four or five, I would make batter for Yorkshire puddings (my mum was an East riding girl) and was taught the proper way to rub in fat and how to make and handle pastry.

I've never tasted anything like her apple pie nor have I eaten a better shortcrust pastry. Very short, creamy and yet biscuity and strong enough to hold its edge crust and shape when cut.

Apple and blackberry pie

My mum died in 2012 and it took me until 2018 to pluck up the courage to bake anything using her recipes.

Although I'd watched studiously, knew the secret ingredients and handling skills it was always going to fall short of what she'd have made.

Sure enough, the first couple of years and it was better than most pies but some way off what I knew could be achieved with some love and attention to detail.

Today, I am finally able to say thanks mum, you'd have been pleased with today's efforts. After a few attempts, I can now pretty well reproduce that shortcrust pastry and there wasn't even the hint of either a soggy bottom or leaking fruit.

I'm not posting in a self-congratulatory moment of self-indulgence, but rather as someone who has received a precious and unexpected gift.

I couldn't be happier with this blackberry and apple pie. Judging by the speed with which Vaughan saw off a slice I don't think it'll be lasting long.


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