Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Peach Pie

Today we officially say goodbye to summer and greet autumn with a huge smile (even if the weather hasn't quite caught on yet). I don't know if it's because we've still got some relatively warm weather but the stone fruit season has not yet ended. Our grocery store still has a wall of peaches and they're actually ripe and amazing; I can smell them from two aisles away before I've even entered the produce section.

As a tribute to summer, I made a peach pie. It was my first attempt at a lattice top and I was pleased with the turnout. I think I might do a lattice top on all of my pies from now on because it's just so pretty. The pie came out rather delicious, although, my sister said she kind of felt like she was eating a candle because it had that super pungent peach flavor. I took it as a weird compliment.

There's nothing particularly special about this pie. In fact, it's my basic go-to pie recipe (except I've become a convert from using flour as a thickening agent to using potato starch now). And if I were making an apple pie, I'd essentially do the exact same thing, except obviously I would use apple instead of peach. But, it's still worth sharing because it's delicious.
Ingredients [yields one 9" deep dish pie]:
1 batch pie dough
flour for dusting
6 large peaches
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons potato starch
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg white
1 tablespoon raw sugar

Start by making a batch of pie crust; I have an entire post dedicated to making pie crust if you need more details. I have a small food processor so I made my crust in two batches, but that worked out perfect because I had one for the bottom and one for the top.
It's super simple. Add flour, sugar, and salt to a food processor along with really cold cubed butter. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal and then add in cold water, a little at a time, just until the dough starts to stick. The most important part here is to not over-process the dough. The less movement there is, the more tender the dough will be.
Gently press the dough into a disk; there is no kneading at all here. Then, wrap in clingfilm and pop in the fridge to chill out for an hour.
After an hour, take the bottom crust portion of the dough and roll it out. Fit in nicely into a pie pan and then brush all over with egg white. Pop the crust into the fridge to chill for 10 minutes. The egg white coating will act like a barrier that helps prevent the crust from getting soggy once it's filled.
Now, onto the filling! Bring a big pot of water to a boil and then blanch the peaches briefly just to help take the skins off. Shock the peaches in cold water to stop the cooking and then use your hands to gently rub the skin off. Once you nudge up a little edge, you should be able to grab it and peel the skins right off.
Cut the peaches into bite-sized wedges and remove the pits.
In a large bowl, add the peaches, lemon zest, lemon juice, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla extract, salt, potato starch, and brown sugar and gently toss to combine.
Leave the filling to sit for a bit while you roll out the pie lid. For a standard lid, just roll it out and snip in some vents before using some egg white to seal the lid shut. For a lattice lid, use a pizza cutter to cut the pie lid into strips.
Fill the pie with the peaches and any resultant juices.
To assemble the lattice, start by laying strips in one direction. I like to grab one of the strips from the middle and lay that on first. Then, grab every other strip and lay it across the pie; basically, the collection of strips on the pie should look the same as the collection you have on your board because you're grabbing every other one. The spaces between the strips should be about the size of a strip.
Then, fold back every other strip, about halfway, and then lay across a strip in the perpendicular direction. Return the folded strips back to their normal position and then fold back the other strips (the ones that weren't folded yet) and lay on another perpendicular strip. Repeat until you've got a pretty basket-weave pattern.
Brush a little egg white around the edges to seal down the strips.
Isn't that beautiful?! Trim off any excess from the edges.
And, if you've got any dough leftover, you can add some decoration. I used a heart cutout to make a peach and a circle cutter to make some leaves.
Adhere any decorative elements using more egg white as a glue. Then, brush the entire pie with egg white and sprinkle with raw sugar.
In case of overflowing juices, give your oven a little insurance by placing the pie on a sheet pan. Then, bake in a 400F oven for 15 minutes, just to lock down the crust and cook it through quickly (because otherwise, the butter will leak out) and then reduce the heat to 325F and cook for another 30 to 40 minutes. You want to look for a golden brown crust and for the filling to be bubbly. The filling has to come to a boil to allow the thickening agent to fully do its job.
The finished pie should look glorious and tempting. But, you've got to let the pie cool before you slice into it to allow the filling to set up.
And that's why there's a lighting change between the photos above and this one right here. We dug into this beauty after dinner with a little ice cream.
I love this pie. The crust has crisp edges and is super tender and the filling is bright and peach (duh) and perfectly sweet in a fruity way. I think this is the prettiest, yummiest way to say goodbye to summer.
Here's the recipe page:

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