Saturday, 18 January 2014

13. A Recipe for Damson Pie

for Linus Slug (to make up for all the mugwort)

This pie
we’ll need
to bake:

You’ve just
got to get in say 500 g or more of damsons
                  (or other stone fruit will do)
                  60 g of butter
                  250 g caster sugar
                  + a little more as well
                  puff pastry
                  1 egg white
   – all gone

Our oven stands on mark 8 or 220º
                   – nothing more

Take a big pie dish, right
& butter it
then put it to

The poetry is a balance
the pastry is a balance
– 2 large pieces
  1 smaller bit
roll out one piece as bottom
put it just here within the dish
then the small bit as strips ready
to put up around the rim
   – just here

Leave it like this
roll out the last piece now
like this as top

Noise of
busy cooking now – melt the butter in a wide pan
   stir in the sugar at a low heat
   let it all melt
   & roll in the damsons
   coat them in the sticky mixture
   then let the juice exude & build up
   tasty & adding more sugar if you need

Cram the damsons in the pie
& pour on the juice
but not too much!
then cover with the pastry
crimp & pierce
to heal & bleed
     – maybe something like a wave
       or the marks of rain
& brush with egg white
then a little sugar like a stain

You find it in the oven
20 minutes until the pastry rises & browns
but check carefully & cover it w/ foil
if it caramelises too rapidly!
then lower heat to mark 3 or 180º
 20-30 minutes
now take it out

Easy easy
do it
& eat with cream

[I got this recipe from Jane Grigson’s book on English Cookery (English Food, Macmillan, 1979), who got it from Carême, who was describing an English pie (early C19). A blessing to her (& her gallant husband!) – by which you’ll note I’m with Asa Benveniste here, and not for once with Andrew Crozier. But, Linus dear friend, do be careful over the stones – small, hard & stealthily designed to break the teeth even of slugs.]

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