Damson and walnut pie

If ever there is to be an autumnal dessert then this is it


Ingredients (serves: 6-8) Prep: 45 mins; Cook: 50 mins


700g damsons

75g demerara sugar

Grating of nutmeg

50g walnuts, chopped

50g ground almonds


For the pastry:

150g plain flour

150g butter

Sprinkling of ground cinnamon

1 egg yolk




Start by making the pastry. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Sprinkle in the cinnamon and add enough cold water to make a soft but not sticky dough. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge


Cut the damsons in half and remove the stones, then cut in half again, to make quarters


Place in a pan with the sugar and nutmeg and warm over a gentle heat to release some juice and start dissolving the sugar


Increase the heat ever so slightly to allow the mixture to gently simmer once enough juice has been released


Cook for about 20 minutes, until soft. Remove from the heat and add the almonds and walnuts


Preheat the oven to 180degC/Gas mark 4. Cut the pastry to make two pieces, one slightly bigger than the other


Roll the bigger piece of pastry out on a lightly floured surface and use to line the pie dish. Fill the pastry with the fruit


Brush the rim of the pastry with water, roll the other piece of pastry out to fit the top and gently press on the top of the pie


Pinch the edges together then, using any leftover pastry, cut leaves out to decorate the top of the pie


Brush with egg yolk and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until golden brown


Leah’s tip

When you go to effort of making your own pastry always add an extra ingredient, such as the cinnamon in this recipe. It shows it is homemade and adds a little extra surprise. Try different spices, lemon zest and poppy seeds.


Cook’s corner


Q: Is it really much better to buy whole spices and grind them yourself at home?
A: Yes. You get a far stronger and fresher taste than the ready ground spices, despite it being a little more time consuming. Ground spices have such a greater surface area they do not keep fresh for long


Q: Should you season meat before or after cooking?

A: Never season meat before grilling, frying or browning, as salt draws out the precious juices you’re trying to keep in (but remember to season before serving).

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