Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Peach Pie (Jen, and I communicated only by telepathy)

Peach Pie Means Summer

To a lot of us. These peaches, all eight of those beautiful babies came from Julian, California. It's a little geographic island in the mountains east of San Diego that is a paradise of orchards. You can see from that first picture where we are going. To get there we have some work to do. So, wash your hands, dry them well, wipe down all the counters and let's get at it.

The first thing on the agenda is the crust.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour (you can find "pastry" flours out there on the market, what they are is this 2 to 1 ratio of regular flour to ultra fine cake flour)
2 tablespoons super rich butter powder, optional* (You can usually find this at a Cake decorating store and, while optional it makes a huge taste difference)
1 cup shortening (or if you're like me and don't give a fuck use Lard)
1 whole egg
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup ice water

Mix the flours and the butter powder together in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the lard (or shortening) and work until it is in pea sized nuggets. I'm using the stand mixer for this.

From now on it's all by hand. I've tried using the dough hook attachment and, while easier, there's a better texture and hightened flakiness that's achieved by doing the rest of the steps by hand.

In another bowl, like here, in a measuring flask, mix the egg, vinegar, salt and ice water with a fork until well blended. Then add this to the other stuff.

Mix until the dough comes together. Separate into halves (or as many separate crusts as you intend to make) and wrap well with plastic. Refrigerate overnight. The refrigeration is important to enhance the flaky texture of the crust. Overworking is the worst thing you can do to a pastry dough. Be nice.


8 peaches peeled and sliced (for the peeling do the same thing as you did when canning it should yield about 4 cups of slices)
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup baker's sugar (if using canned peaches omit, but drain the peaches a little)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter

Take chilled peaches and immerse them in boiling, salted water.

When the water returns to a full boil, plunge them into an ice bath. This will allow you to strip off the skin with your fingers.

These are a freestone peach, so the slicing and removal of the pit were a breeze. For cling peaches, make four cuts all the way around the pit, then with the knife blade right up against the pit, flick your wrist to free the whole slice. You'll probably screw up the first slice, but, hey, this is pie, not rocket science. Put the slices in a large mixing bowl. You should have about four cups all told.

Toss the peach slices with the flour, sugar (for this pie I'm using brown sugar, these are peaches with big flavor and I thought brown sugar would be a nice touch of molasses flavor), and cinnamon.

Allow the peaches to macerate in the sugar/flour goop while you roll out the bottom crust. Leave about a one and a half inch overhang. Put the filling in the bottom crust, dot with butter, and as a little extra bit of goodness, I like to sprinkle the top with a bit of nutmeg.

Shield the edge of the crust with foil, cut in some venting, and then brush with a mixture of 2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1 egg white. This will give a nice nutty carmel crunch to the crust and give you a deep, sexy brown color.

Bake at 375° for 45 minutes, remove the foil ring, and bake for 15 more minutes. Now it will look like this.

Allow to cool for at least an hour before slicing it up. To serve hot, simply pop it in the microwave at 50% power for about a minute. Top with whipped cream, or ice cream, and enjoy the tastes of summer. This also makes a wonderful breakfast. Again, pop in the microwave to bring it back to hot, douse it down with cold milk and you'll forgive yourself for getting out of bed.

You can use the email function at the masthead to get my email. I am always ready to give tech support on my recipes.

Have a great tasting summer!