WW2 Blackberry & Apple Pie is a British ration book recipe, it is a delicious mix of cooking apples and blackberries in a frugal pastry pie that reflects the restrictions of the wartime rations.
This Blackberry & Apple Pie is part of a wartime menu that includes Wartime Beef Stew with Dumplings. A hearty beef stew that would contain a lot less meat and a lot more vegetables. The dumplings would also serve as a good way of filling up hungry families.
I have been living on wartime rations for a week and there are only a couple more days to go. I won’t be sorry when it is over, it is fun to see what I can cook within the ration, but I know that this is temporary. British Families had 14 years of these hard times with rations. I can only imagine how much people must have craved something different.
I have put meat on my weekend menu because it feels like that would be the time when families would try to have something a little bit more special. I’ve chosen a hearty beef stew recipe that can be bulked out with lots of seasonal vegetables like carrots and parsnips. These would be grown as part of the Dig for Victory campaign and stored in cellars or soil ‘clamps’ so there were vegetables available in winter.
What was the meat ration?
Meat was rationed from 1940. Unlike some of the other rations the meat ration was based on value rather than on weight. So a weekly allocation of any meat to the value of 1 shilling and 10 pence per week. This meant that you could buy more of the cheaper cuts of meat such as braising or stewing meat.
Menu for Saturday 10th November
- Breakfast – Porridge
- Lunch – Lentil Soup, slice of The National Loaf
- Supper – Beef Stew with Dumplings and Blackberry and Apple Pie with Custard
Wartime Beef Stew with Dumplings (serves 4)
0.6 kg Stewing steak
5 Parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 small swede, peeled and cut into chunks
2 oxo cubes
salt and pepper to taste
100g self-raising flour
5 tbsp cold water
1. Heat a little oil (lard) in an ovenproof casserole, cut the stewing steak into chunks and brown in the fat.
2. Add the sliced onion and cook for a minute, then add all the other vegetables and cook for a couple of minutes.
3. Cover the meat and vegetable mixture with hot water from the kettle and add the two stock cubes and the seasoning.
4. Bring to the boil, put the lid on and then cook at 150C for 11/2 to 2 hours, checking every now and then to make sure it doesn’t dry out. You need to be sure you have enough liquid in the stew to steam cook the dumplings.
5. About 15 minutes before serving, mix the flour, suet and water together and form into 8 balls.
6. Bring the stew to a simmer on the hob and add the dumplings, put the lid on and cook for 10-15 minutes until they have fluffed up.
7. Serve with mashed potato and a green vegetable.
What other kind of meat recipes would be eaten in WW2?
- Mutton Casserole was popular and ‘scrag end of mutton’ was a cheaper stewing or braising cut. Mutton is the meat that comes from older sheep rather than young and tender lamb.
- Mince Pudding is an inventive recipe that uses toast as the pie crust!
- Savoury Roast is a substitute for a proper roasted joint of meat. It uses sausagemeat, onions and bread to form a roast shaped savoury that could be served with potatoes and vegetables.
- Rabbit wasn’t on the ration, so people in the countryside would catch rabbits and serve them as stews, pies and suet puddings.
Would dessert be on the ration menu in WW2?
Yes, dessert was definitely on the menu. However, 1940s cooks needed to make quite a few changes to their ingredients and try to use nationually sweet ingredients. As the war progressed it became more and more difficult to get sugar and dried fruits so sweeter vegetables like carrots and parsnips often appear in dessert recipes.
I know from my mother-in-law that people living on farms or in the country had access to more variety and they would certainly have access to apple trees. The apples would be carefully wrapped and packed in apple boxes for the winter months. These apples would be checked regularly to remove any that had started to go bad, so they didn’t spoil the whole box.
I pick wild blackberries every autumn and this free harvest is definitely something that would have been welcomed in wartime Britain. All the fruit would have to be used or preserved because there were no domestic freezers available to store the soft fruit crop. If there was enough sugar then a batch of Blackberry and Apple Jelly would be made.
Blackberry & Apple Pie
I love a Blackberry & Apple Pie but my usual recipe would have more fat in the pastry and more sugar in the filling. However, this is still a very good dessert and one that was simple to make and very enjoyable.
Make the pastry
- The pastry mixture contains flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and very little margarine. Rub the margarine into the dry ingredients and mix with a little milk.
- Divide the pastry mix into two pieces and roll out and line the base of the pie dish with one half of the pastry.
Make the Blackberry & Apple filling
In the recipe the sliced apple and blackberries go straight into the pie raw, then a mix of syrup and water is poured over them. As an alternative, you can cook the fruit in a pan on the stove with the golden syrup until the apples are nearly soft. Let the mixture cool, then fill the pie.
Put the lid on the pie
Roll out the remaining pastry and put it on top of the pie. The decorations are optional, however, because the pastry has less fat in it than usual, it cracks easily and I found that the decorations covered up the holes!
Bake the Blackberry & Apple Pie
Bake the pie in a moderate oven for 45-50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the fruit is soft.
This recipe makes a a really well-filled pie, especially if you cook the apples and blackberries first. They form a thick layer of fruity deliciousness.
How do I serve the Blackberry & Apple Pie?
Serve the pie in the traditional way with lots of custard. As we know eggs were rationed so Birds cornflour-based custard powder became very popular, and remains popular to this day.
If you would like to serve the Blackberry and Apple Pie with real egg custard then use this recipe for Easy Vanilla Custard Sauce.
What were the WW2 Rations?
WW2 RATIONS (1940) FOR 3 PEOPLE FOR ONE WEEK
- Butter 6 oz (150g)
- Bacon or ham 12oz (300g)
- Margarine 12 oz (300g)
- Cooking fat/lard 12 oz (300g)
- Sugar 1lb 10oz (675g)
- Meat 3lb (1350g)
- Milk 9 pints (5 litres) occasionally dropping to 8 pints
- Cheese: 6oz (150g)
- Fresh eggs 9 eggs for one week (36 eggs every four weeks)
- Dried Eggs 3 packets
- Tea: 6oz (150g)150g
- Sweets 3oz (262g)
More WW2 Wartime Recipes
Blackberry and Apple Pie (WW2)
For the shortcrust pastry
- 60 g margarine plus extra for greasing
- 140 g plain (all-purpose) flour
- 60 g sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 teaspoons milk
For the filling
- 500 g cooking apples Approximately 2 large apples
- 150 g blackberries
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- 120 ml water
For the pastry
- Mix the flour with sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Rub in 50 g of the margarine with your fingertips, then mix to a stiff paste with a little milk.
- Divide the pastry into two parts, and line the base of the pie dish with one part.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
For the filling
- Peel, core and, slice the apples and place them with the blackberries on the pastry in the pie dish.
- Dot the top of the fruit with the remaining margarine.
- Put the syrup and water in a small pan and heat until the syrup has dissolved.
- Pour the syrup and water over the fruit.
- Cover the fruit with the remaining pastry. Brush with a little milk if it can be spared.
- Place the pie on a baking tray and then put it directly on the bottom of the preheated oven for 45 – 50 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.
- Slice the pie into portions and serve with custard.