Blueberry + Black Pepper Pie

At this time of year, there is one thing I start to miss about living in the states: Americans’ dedication to ‘fall’.  (That’s ‘autumn’, just in case…).  Their life palette morphs into all shades of orange and brown, they organize mass apple picking to their hearts’ content, there is pumpkin-squash everything, and perhaps best of all, there is an abundance of pie. 

Now – bare with me while I digress, slightly - in my obsession to rescue leftovers, surplus, by-products from friends in and around London-town, collection is often full of surprises.  On occasion, questionable, but often most exciting.  Last week’s was a gold mine of blueberries. 

Blueberries already don't last terribly long.  But end of the season, verging slightly on the overripe side of things, not long at all.  And seeing as I've now happened across the perfect compote ingredient ratios - see Pear + Ginger Cake for another variation - yielding pleasantly sweet-meets-tart results every time, compote-ing seemed to be an appropriate solution for said blueberries.

Perhaps you’ve guessed where I’m going with this… with a nostalgia for ‘fall’, chocolate week in full swing and an abundance of blueberries... there was only one thing left to do.

ps. No the detailing of my pie is not centred, unlike my advise to you here below, and yes, my pie-crimping skills need a little bit of work.  Forgive me.  Now make the pie.

Blueberry + Black Pepper Pie
nibs etc. original recipe.  Makes 1 15cm/6inch pie.

for the compote
1kg Blueberries
1 cup White Wine
1/2 cup Honey
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 inch piece of Rosemary

Rinse and clean your berries, and allow to drain over the sink.
Bring the honey, white wine, black pepper and thyme to a boil.  Let it boil aggressively for about 5 minutes, until the alcohol has evaporated, and the liquid is starting to reduce/thicken.
Pour the blueberries into your saucepan, stirring briefly with a wooden spoon – carefully so as not to break up the berries – ensuring all berries are coated. 
Allow to come back up to a boil, before reducing to a high simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure nothing is sticking to the bottom, until the majority of the liquid has reduced and caramelized. 
Turn off the heat, carefully remove the rosemary, and pour into sterilized – washed with boiling water, and dried – jars, seal with the lid, and after about 5-10 minutes, leave upside down on a dish towel, until completely cooled.

for the pie
1 portion of Flaky Pastry – thawed if frozen, or cooled in the fridge for about 30 minutes prior to using, if making fresh
1 cup Blueberry + Black Pepper Compote
1 tbsp Plain Flour
1/4 cup Dark (60-70%) Chocolate – chunks/discs/roughly chopped
1 Egg/2 tbsp Milk
1 tbsp Turbinado Sugar - for dusting pre-bake (optional)

Preheat your oven to 200*C/400*F, and butter a 15cm/6inch round pie tin.
Roll out one portion of pastry to be about 2-3mm thick, larger than the size of your tin by at least an inch.  Prick with a fork and set aside in the fridge while you prep the rest.
For the filling, stir your compote and flour in a bowl until the flour is well incorporated.  Then mix in the chocolate trying to keep it as evenly distributed as possible.
Roll out the other disc of dough, also to be about 2-3 mm thick, and larger than the size of your prepared tin.  Cut out a small circle in the centre. 
Remove the pie base from the fridge, and pour over the filling.  Then carefully lift and place your lid over the top, without sliding, and keeping the cutout circle well centered (I personally might have been less successful here – easier said than done…).  Proceed by trimming the lid only, so that the rim is just 1cm wider than the tin rim.  Then fold the pastry base excess over the lid, sealing your pie.  Finally, for a decorative touch, crimp as you please (in honesty my crimping skills also need work… clearly not leading by example, but that’s part of the fun right?).
Beat an egg and brush the surface coating lightly but entirely (if using milk, simply substitute and do the same).  Sprinkle with turbinado sugar, if using (I didn't have any on hand, so did not).  Make 8 incisions – without sounding too clinical about it – decoratively (but also so that the pie does not explode) into the lid, before placing on the middle rack in your oven, lowering the temperature to 180*C and baking for 35-45 minutes until nicely golden brown.
Remove and allow to cool completely – you can be impatient, like me, and while it will still be delicious, be prepared for slightly runny filling (totally ok in my books).

For breakfast with a dollop of yoghurt.
As dessert with warm custard or ice cream of your choosing.
Substituting the compote with any other fruit compote you’ve got nearing expiry in your fridge.
Save the raw pie crust leftovers!  And try: small handheld pies, rolling and dusting in cinnamon sugar before baking, or, if you have a mini pie tin...