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Winberries, bilberries... call them what you will, but whatever you do, don't get them confused with blueberries. These are smaller, and much more tasty.
I have fond childhood memories of going out to pick these little berries every summer. We developed a family tradition of going out on my dad's birthday and then coming home to make a pie with our harvest. They don't grow in the part of the country where I live now, so when I realised I was going to be back up north for my dad's birthday this year, I suggested we could revive the habit.
Local, seasonal, and free - this is the way food should be. They're messy to pick, and you have to hunt for the tiny berries in amongst the leaves of the plant, but it's absolutely worth the effort.
for the pastry
for the filling
300g fresh winberries/bilberries
25g soft brown sugar
- Mix the flour with the sugar for the pastry.
- Cut the butter into small cubes and rub into the flour / sugar mixture.
- Add a little water until you have a firm dough.
- Grease a deep 7in pie dish (loose-based will make things easier later).
- Divide the pastry into two - approximately 1/3 for the lid, and 2/3 for the base. Roll out the larger portion and line the pie dish.
- Wash the berries and put into the pie. Scatter sugar over the top.
- Roll out the remaining pastry to make a lid. Puncture a couple of holes in the top to let steam escape, and bake for about 20 minutes at 180°C, until the pastry is crisp.
- Serve hot with cream or custard.