Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake

Every year, a week or two before the day, I start asking Jonty what kind of birthday cake he might like. Either a specific cake, or general flavours. Usually, I get a generic response that often includes the word chocolate. So I was quite surprised this year when he said he might like a Battenberg Cake (he’s never been so specific before).

A What-en-what Cake? You know, those checker-board cakes!

Ah yes, I did know. I have never eaten one, let alone actually made one, but that’s what Google is for, right? 🙂

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The classic Battenberg Cake has a white and pink checker board pattern inside and is held together with apricot jam and covered in Marzipan. It is most-definitely British in origin, making it a perfect choice for my British hubby!

When I started poking around online, my suspicions were confirmed – the pink portion of the cake is dyed with red food colouring. I prefer not to use artificial dyes, if possible. Also, my mind immediately went to a chocolate variety because, if you know Jonty at all, you know his love for chocolate.

And what jam pairs well with chocolate? You guessed it. And so began my Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake journey.

I’m not going to lie – this cake requires a tape measure, a calculator and a bit of patience. But I promise you it’s not difficult! The hardest part might be making your foil / parchment liner and really, that portion probably took me longer than necessary because I was multi-tasking while making it. The good thing is that it is absolutely worth the time and effort.

So, here’s my version of a Battenberg Cake, in a nutshell.

Start by prepare a 23-cm (9-inch) square cake pan:

  • Grease the bottoms and sides of the cake pan.
  • Cut a piece of tinfoil and a piece of parchment paper into a 21cm x 42cm rectangle. Grease the tinfoil and place the parchment paper on top.
  • Fold the tinfoil / parchment in half, and then fold the centre over again to make a crease that is 5 cm wide. When you unfold the papers, the centre should pop up like a little tent. When you place this into your cake pan, this little tent will become the divider (see the pictures below).
  • Place this liner into your pan and start making the batter.

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Make the cake batter:

  • The cake batter is a simple sponge cake recipe (so equal ratios of butter, eggs, sugar and flour). Half of the mixture is poured into one side of the prepared tin, and cocoa powder is mixed into the other half of the batter before pouring it into the other side.
  • Cream together some butter and sugar until it’s super light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, and make sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding the next. If you don’t, your batter may look like it’s curdling. If this happens, just keep beating the mixture before adding the next egg.
  • The vanilla, flour and baking powder is added and whisked until combined.
  • Transfer half of the batter into another bowl (if you have a scale, this becomes really easy) and add a splash of milk.
  • In the remaining batter, the cocoa powder and more milk is added, and stirred to combine.
  • Each of the batters is poured into its respective cake pan side, and is baked at 350 F for about 28 to 30 minutes.

Assemble the Battenberg cake:

  • Time to get out your tape measure! Measure the height and width of each sponge cake, and decide how much you need to trim off the edges, in order to make the cake a square.
  • My sponges were wider than tall, but I didn’t waste a lot of extra cake, so I decided to make my Battenberg into a 3×2 rectangle, instead of the classic 2×2 square. The choice is yours!
  • Warm up some raspberry jam and use this as a glue to hold the cake pieces together.
  • On a counter sprinkled with icing sugar, roll out your marzipan into a rectangle, big enough to wrap around the cake (so the same length + 4 times the width).
  • Spread jam on the top of your cake, then invert this onto one end of the marzipan. Spread jam on the next side of the cake, then roll it onto the marzipan. Do this until all sides of the cake are spread with jam and covered with marzipan.
  • Trim off the ends, to make everything nice and neat, and to show off your great checker board pattern!

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You can eat this cake right away, or keep it tucked in the fridge until you’re ready for it. We nibbled away on it over the course of 3 or 4 days, and it almost tasted better the longer it sat! We just made sure to wrap it tightly in parchment paper to keep it from drying out.

So, what was the verdict for this Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake?

Jonty loved it, and said it tasted just as good as he always remembered!

Moira loved it, and actually wants to make it again, because she’s pretty sure she can do an even better job the next time around!

I would call that a Birthday Success 🙂

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Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
The classic Battenberg Cake takes on a twist, with chocolate and raspberry. Adapted from Baking Mad and Jamie Oliver recipes.
Ingredients
  • 150 g flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 150 g granulated sugar
  • 150 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp milk, divided
  • 1 tbsp dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 100 to 125 g raspberry jam (plus a few drops of water)
  • 225 g marzipan
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
Prepare the cake pan:
  1. Grease the bottoms and sides of a 23-cm (9-inch) square pan.
  2. Cut a piece of tinfoil and parchment paper into a 21cm x 42cm rectangle. Grease the tinfoil and place the parchment paper on top.
  3. Fold the papers in half, then fold the centre over again to make a 5cm overlap. When you open the tinfoil/parchment paper, you should have an inverted tent in the centre. This becomes your cake pan divider.
  4. Place this into your greased cake pan and start making the batter.
For the cake batter:
  1. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. Add in the eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each egg into the batter before adding the next egg. Then add in the vanilla extract.
  4. Whisk in the flour mixture until it is fully combined.
  5. Transfer half of the batter into another bowl. To this, add 1 tsp of milk.
  6. In the remaining batter, add the cocoa powder and remaining tsp of milk. Whisk to combine.
  7. Pour each batter into its respective side of the prepared cake pan. Bake for 28 to 32 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  8. Let the cake pan cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the sponges from the pan and allow to cool completely.
To assemble the cake:
  1. Warm the raspberry jam with a few drops of water
  2. Slice each flavour of sponge cake into equal sizes, trimming off the edges in order to make them square.
  3. Place a chocolate and vanilla slice side by side and use the raspberry jam to glue the pieces together. Do this with the remaining pieces, making sure to alternate the colours.
  4. Roll out the marzipan on a counter top lightly sprinkled with icing sugar. The size of the marzipan should be the same length as your cake and 4 times the width.
  5. Spread more jam on the top of your cake, then invert this onto one edge of the marzipan. Spread jam on the next side of the cake before rolling it over the marzipan. Continue to do this for the remaining two sides of cake. So the entire cake will be covered with marzipan, and held together with the raspberry jam.
To serve:
  1. Trim off both ends of the cake, to even them up. Place the cake, seam side down, on a serving platter.
  2. Serve immediately, or allow to chill in the fridge before slicing.
Notes
This cake tastes even better on the day after baking. To store in the fridge, wrap it completely in parchment paper and place in a sealed container. It should keep like this for 3 or 4 days.

Enjoy this Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake!

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Raw Mint Chocolate Mini Pies

Happy Pi Day! Two years ago, we were travelling and made a chocolate strawberry tart in the RV. Last year, we turned to flaky puff pastry for these apple-walnut hand pies. This year, we’ve strayed from the fruit-based pies and made these decadent, but healthy, mint chocolate mini pies! In my humble opinion, the flavour combination of mint + chocolate is one of the best 🙂

While there’s a time and a place for full-sized desserts, I also appreciate the smaller ones, made for a household of two.

These mint chocolate mini pies are perfect for a few different reasons:

  • They’re easy to make and don’t require an oven, meaning they’re as good to eat during the wet rainy months as the sweltering hot ones!
  • Because they’re raw, there’s no chance of a pastry crust getting soggy as it sits. This means that these pies will keep in the fridge for longer than a day!
  • If you like to keep your sweets to a minimum during the week, you can cut each mini pie in half (or smaller) and enjoy a bite or two each evening.
  • They taste rich and decadent, yet are filled with great-for-you ingredients. With no added sugar and lots of antioxidant-rich ingredients, these pies are basically health food! 😉

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The only tool needed to make these is a good food processor or high-speed blender. The crust is made out of Medjool dates, walnuts, coconut and cacao powder, processed until it forms a sticky ball. We don’t have little tart pans, so our trusty muffin tin becomes the workhorse of our small-batch dessert creations.

A little tip for you:

The crust mixture is VERY sticky. To avoid dealing with the frustration of trying to get the crust to stick to the pan, and not to your fingers, I’d suggest lining the muffin tin with plastic wrap, or parchment paper. I found that one big piece of wrap worked well – you can line 4 muffin tins quite easily, and use the hangover to press the crust mixture into the muffin tin. No messy fingers!

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The filling is made up of soaked (and drained) cashews, maple syrup, cacao powder and peppermint extract. So easy, yet so wonderfully tasty! This gets spooned into the tart bases and everything chills in the fridge until you’re ready to eat them.

I made these a few days ago, and they really do hold up well in the fridge. As they sit, they almost take on a fudgy consistency, which I totally love, yet completely melt in your mouth as you eat them.

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Whether you’re a physics geek or not, I hope you’re enjoying Pi Day as much as we are!

Raw Mint Chocolate Mini Pies
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
These Mint Chocolate Mini Pies are raw, vegan and gluten-free, making them great for everyone to enjoy!
Ingredients
For the tart crust:
  • 100 g Medjool dates, pitted (1/2 cup, about 6 dates)
  • 25 g (1/2 cup) unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 35 g (1/3 cup) walnut pieces
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of sea salt
For the filling:
  • ½ cup cashews, soaked in ½ cup water for at least 3 to 4 hours
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ to 1 tsp pure peppermint extract
  • 1 tbsp water, if needed
Instructions
  1. Soak the cashews in ½ cup of water, for at least 3 to 4 hours. When ready to use, drain and rinse the cashews, discarding the soaking liquid.
  2. Make the tart crust by placing all ingredients into a food processor or high-speed blender and pulse together, until you have a thick, sticky mixture.
  3. Line a muffin tin with plastic wrap and evenly distribute the crust mixture into 4 muffin cups. Use wet hands or additional plastic wrap, to press the crust mixture into the bottom and sides of the muffin tin to create a little bowl shape.
  4. Keep the prepared muffin tin in the fridge until you make the filling.
  5. To make the mint chocolate filling, place the drained cashews, maple syrup, cacao powder and peppermint extract into a food processor or high-speed blender and puree until completely smooth. Start with ½ tsp of peppermint extract and taste. Add more if you like a stronger taste. The mixture should be thick but spreadable. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach this consistency.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the tart shells and refrigerate until ready to eat.
  7. to serve, sprinkle with a good-quality salt (like Maldon) and additional chopped walnuts.
Notes
These tarts will last in the fridge for at least a week, and longer in the freezer.

Enjoy these Mint Chocolate Mini Pies!

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Easy No-Bake Chocolate Mousse

Happy Chocolate Day! Otherwise known as Valentine’s Day 🙂 This chocolate mousse recipe is for all the chocolate lovers out there. It’s Jonty’s creation (my chocolate-loving guy) and he’s made it a handful of times over the last few months. It has 4 ingredients, is super simple to make, and is actually pretty healthy for you! Are you ready?

You need egg whites, good-quality dark chocolate (at least 70% dark), plain Greek yogurt and a touch of sugar. The resulting dessert is so light and airy, and tastes so unbelievably decadent, yet there’s not a drop of cream to be found.

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The first time Jonty made it, we thought it might have been a fluke result, mainly because we were wary about using non-fat Greek yogurt (sometimes things just taste better with fat and cream). But each time he’s made it, the result has been the same – an easy, superstar chocolate mousse!

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ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Easy No-Bake Chocolate Mousse

Jonty has developed this chocolate mousse using basic ratios:

  • 1 part egg white
  • 1 part dark chocolate
  • 1 part Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 part sugar

So 1 egg white will give you 1 ramekin dessert. If you want turn this into a romantic dessert for two, just use 2 egg whites and scale. You want to turn this into a family dessert for four? Use 4 egg whites and scale. So easy!

This is going to a short and sweet, because the sun is shining, and we’re severely lacking in Vitamin D! So, we hope you’re having a great Chocolate Day, celebrating any way you’d like 🙂

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ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Easy No-Bake Chocolate Mousse

 

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Easy No-Bake Chocolate Mousse

Happy Valentines Day, Galentines Day, Family Day or general Chocolate Day 🙂

Easy Chocolate Mousse
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This almost-raw chocolate mousse is an easy, healthy dessert that will wow all your guests!
Ingredients
  • 2 egg whites (60g)
  • 30 g granulated sugar
  • 60 g good-quality dark chocolate (at least 70% or higher)
  • 60 g non-fat Greek yogurt
Instructions
  1. In a clean, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites until they start to form peaks. While whisking, slowly add the sugar, one spoonful at a time, until it is all incorporated. Continue to whisk the mixture until stiff peaks have formed.
  2. Meanwhile, melt your chocolate. You can either do this in the microwave on the lowest heat setting, or over a bowl of hot water. Once the chocolate is melted, stir in the Greek yogurt.
  3. Fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture and fold to combine.
  4. Spoon the mousse into 2 ramekins and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or until the mousse has set.

Enjoy this easy chocolate mousse!

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Apple Streusel Pie with Rye Pastry

I feel like December is cookie season. But since we’re firmly planted in November for the next week, I’m declaring we’re still in pie season. The local Okanogan apples are plentiful in the markets, and you never have to twist my arm very much to make (or eat) pie. So, just in time for American Thanksgiving, or just in time for Canadian Anydays-giving, here’s a little Apple Streusel Pie for you.

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I was originally going to call this post Apple Rye Streusel Pie, because I find rhymes like this highly amusing. But then I thought, perhaps you might think there was rye (i.e. alcohol) in the pie, not rye (like the flour). So I caved, and went with the boring title instead 🙂

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We actually made this rye pie for our Canadian Thanksgiving last month, but time has gotten the better of me and I didn’t get around to posting it; however, posts like these are better late than never, and this was such a good pie, that I’m sure you won’t care when it was intended for. At least I’m hitting someone’s thanksgiving this week!

I wanted to make a pie but didn’t want to go through the fuss of making a double-crust fancy-pants pie. This apple streusel pie was the result.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Apple streusel pie with a rye pastry crust

Rye Pie Pro’s:

  • This apple streusel pie is very easy to make.
  • The pastry base uses a good amount of rye flour, instead of the traditional all-purpose white flour. I think this adds a subtle nutty flavour to the pie, which nicely complements the apples.
  • The streusel topping bakes up nice and crunchy, and anyway, who doesn’t love streusel topping!
  • For a typical pie, there is very little sugar in it. I like to let the sweetness of the fruit come through. Can we call this a healthy pie? Probably not. But it definitely tastes like perfectly ripe apples, and that’s a good thing in my books.

Rye Pie Con’s?

  • Umm… it takes more than 60 minutes to bake?
  • Umm… you need to wait for it to cool before slicing into it?

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Apple streusel pie with a rye pastry crust

If you find yourself in need of a good dessert for tomorrow, or a good dessert in general, give this one a try. I think it can hold its own against the classic Pumpkin Pie.

Served warm, with a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream, it’s pretty darned great. Served cold, straight from the fridge at midnight, I won’t tell if you don’t 😉

Apple Streusel Pie
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This pie was inspired in part by this Apple Crumble Pie
Ingredients
For the rye pastry dough:
  • 100 g (~3/4 cup + 1 tbsp) all-purpose flour
  • 50 g (~1/3 cup + 1 tbsp) rye flour
  • 112 g (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • ½ tbsp apple-cider vinegar
  • 3 to 4 tbsp cold water
For the Streusel toping:
  • 90 g (3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50 g (1/4 cup packed) brown sugar
  • 75 g (1/2 cup) chopped walnut pieces
  • 75 g (1/3 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
For the pie filling:
  • 3 to 4 large apples, cored and sliced, about 5 mm thick (aim for 7 to 8 cups)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 30 g (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 20 g (2 tbsp) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Instructions
Make the pastry dough:
  1. In a food processor, pulse together the flours, butter and apple-cider vinegar (or use a pastry cutter or two knives).
  2. Slowly add in the water, 1 tbsp at a time, and pulse until the dough comes together and forms little balls. When you've added enough liquid, the dough should stick together when pressed between your fingers.
  3. Shape the dough into a flat disc and refrigerate until ready to use (preferably let it sit at least 30 minutes).
Make the streusel topping:
  1. With a spoon, mix together the flour, cinnamon, brown sugar, chopped walnuts and melted butter. Set aside until ready to use.
Make the pie:
  1. Mix together all the ingredients for the pie filling, until the apple slices are completely covered. Let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes, while you're preparing your pie shell.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 400 F and place a tray in the oven, which will be used to catch any pie overflow.
  3. Roll out the pastry dough into a circle that is about 5 cm / 2 inches larger than your pie plate.
  4. Transfer the dough into the pie plate and gently press it down into the pan and up along the sides.
  5. Trim up the edges to allow a 1-cm overhang. Then pinch the dough along the rim of the pie plate, to form a lip.
  6. Spoon the apple mixture into the prepared pie shell. Do not spoon in juice that has seeped out. The pie will probably look very full. Try to mount up the apples as best you can, as they will shrink down as it bakes.
  7. Sprinkle the streusel layer onto the pie and press it down gently.
  8. Place the pie into the centre of the oven, over top of the baking tray.
  9. Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 F and bake for another 45 to 60 minutes, or until the apples are soft to pierce. If the top is getting too brown before the apples are finished cooking, place a bit of foil over the pie.
  10. Let the pie cool at least 2 or 3 hours before serving, to allow it to set.

Enjoy the Apple Streusel Pie!

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Mini Apple-Blackberry Pies

This is the first week that it is really starting to feel like autumn! The leaves are just starting to change, and the markets are filling up with the local Okanogan apples. When I see the fruit bins overflowing with Honeycrisp and Ambrosia apples, I can’t help but load up my shopping cart. Even after eating them during the week, in salads or on their own, we often have a surplus by the end of the week. And since the weekends are synonymous with baking, we use them up making plenty of tasty treats involving apples, cinnamon and butter.

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We had a few end-of-season blackberries still kicking around and I was craving pie, but not a big pie of the usual size. I wanted something portable, that we could easily enjoy after a climbing day. So I decided to bake these single-serving Apple-Blackberry Pies, in a standard muffin tin. They tasted fantastic, a perfect autumn treat! And besides, who doesn’t love to have their own little bite-sized pie to themselves?

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I’ve made these mini pies a few times now, and they really are a perfect little sweet treat. And I’m convinced that most desserts feel more individual and taste better when they’re bite-sized. Another bonus is that they freeze really well, so bake up a batch to save for those rainy Vancouver days you know are coming!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Mini apple-blackberry pies

Tips for making Mini Apple-Blackberry Pies:

  • Butter the muffin tins really well. I’m serious. Make sure you butter the tops of the pan too. Nothing will anger a wife quicker than having a pie stick to the pan. True story.
  • Make sure to cut up the apples into very small chunks (think thumbnail sized), if you don’t want to pre-cook the apples first. These mini pies don’t take as long to bake as a full-sized pie, so cutting the apples into bite-sized pieces will ensure they soften before the baking time finishes.
  • If you make a full double-crusted mini-pie, make sure to cut a big hole in the top pastry, to release the steam and avoid too much overflow.

The deal with making these mini pies is pretty easy. Roll out the pastry and cut out 6 circles. I used a 10-cm / 4-inch crumpet ring, but I’ve seen suggestions of using the lid of a yogurt container, too. Gently press the pastry into the well-greased muffin tin, fill with the fruit filling, then use any remaining pastry dough to make a top crust, if you’d like. Brush the tops with milk, and sprinkle with a coarse sugar, then pop them into the oven. In less than 45 minutes, you will thank yourself for creating such cute, delicious treats 🙂

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Mini apple-blackberry pies

I think these Apple-Blackberry Pies are best enjoyed after a hard climbing day, with a good cup of coffee. Hubby fully agrees 😉

Mini Apple-Blackberry Pies
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Inspired by Dessert for Two
Ingredients
For the pastry
  • 150 g all-purpose flour
  • 112 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butte
  • 8 g (1/2 tbsp) granulated sugar
  • 8 g (1/2 tbsp) apple-cider vinegar
  • 3 - 4 tbsp ice-cold wate
For the filling
  • 245 g (~1 large) cored and diced apple (we like Ambrosia)
  • 60 g (~3/4 cup) blackberries, fresh or frozen
  • 10 g (2 tsp) lemon juice or apple-cider vinegar
  • 15 g (1 tbsp) brown sugar
  • 15 g (~1.5 tbsp) flour or cornstarch
Instructions
Making the pastry dough:
  1. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, butter, sugar and apple-cider vinegar.
  2. Add the water, 1 tbsp at a time and pulse until the dough just starts to clump together.
  3. Remove from the food processor, wrap tightly in plastic or place in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to a few days.
  4. Let sit at room temperature about 15 minutes before you plan on rolling it out, to soften it up a bit.
Making the filling:
  1. Core a large apple and dice into small pieces. Place into a bowl, along with the blackberries.
  2. Add the lemon juice or apple-cider vinegar, brown sugar and flour and toss very gently to combine.
  3. Set aside while you are preparing your muffin tins.
Making the mini pies:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F and place a baking tray in the oven, to catch any over-flow.
  2. Grease 6 muffin cups very well, ensuring both the cup and the top edge of the pan are greased.
  3. Lightly flour your counter-top and roll out the pastry dough into a rectangle, about 5-mm thick. Cut out 6 circles, each about 12 cm (4.5 inches) in diameter. Gently press each pastry circle into a prepared muffin cup.
  4. Spoon the apple-blackberry filling into the prepared pastry cups. The filling will shrink down as it cooks, so don't worry if the cups look quite full. Really pile it in!
  5. If you are doing a top crust (there is enough pastry dough), roll out the remaining pastry and cut into your desired shape - either strips for a lattice, or circles for full coverage. Regardless of the shape, make sure you have enough holes in your top crust to let out the steam.
  6. Pinch together the edges to seal. Brush the tops with a bit of milk and sprinkle with a coarse sugar.
  7. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, then rotate and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the filling starts to bubble
  8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a rack for 5 minutes. Then gently remove the mini pies from the muffin holders and cool completely on the rack.
  9. While the pies are still hot, use a knife to loosen around the edge of the muffin cups, so that any overflowed filling will not stick to the pan while the pies are cooling.
Notes
The pastry recipe will make enough for 1 9-inch single-crust pie, or 6 double-crust mini pies.
These pies freeze very well.

Enjoy!

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