A golden pie which looks and tastes extra-special. It is most suitable for one of your festive meals as it can be prepared well beforehand and will only need putting into the oven to bake. If you have an aversion to prunes don’t be put off - they disintegrate in the stout and produce the most delicious, rich, dark sauce. The juniper berries are optional but can be found in most delicatessens and will add tantalisingly to the flavour. Allspice is best ground from whole berries but you can also buy it ground Gust to muddle you it is sometimes known as Pimento or Jamaica pepper). If you can’t find allspice use more nutmeg and two more cloves. For the top you can use packet puff pastry if you like but the easy flaky pastry is very little trouble and beautifully crisp. Make your pastry first or while the pie filling is cooking.
To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Put a grater into the bowl on top of the flour. Hold the frozen butter in its wrapping and coarsely grate off
Remove the stones from the soaked prunes and add. Bring to the boil and then cover the dish and
Blend the arrowroot with a spot of water and stir in. Bubble for a minute or two on top of the stove. Then pour into a 2½-pt pie dish and leave until cold. When the filling is cold, roll out the pastry on a floured surface to roughly the size and shape of the pie dish.
Moisten the edge of the dish and lay the pastry on top. Cut round the edges and press down lightly. Roll out the trimmings and use to make a pattern, or cut-out letters to read “Happy Christmas”! Cover the pastry loosely with plastic film or foil and put the complete dish in the fridge until the next day, or in the freezer (if the freezer, remember to defrost before baking).
© 1978 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.