I have a confession. I’ve never made peach pie. Why? Mom always made it, so I never had to. The other day, peaches were on super-sale and passed the ‘sniff test’ (*I will explain shortly.) and ended up in my grocery cart.
Pie is one of my favorite things to bake this time of year when you can purchase fruit at a reasonable price and make something special and nostalgic, as this pie is to me.
Picking great peaches:
1. Choose peaches with great color (not green anywhere), and that are semi firm, not totally firm.
2. The Sniff-Test: If peaches or nectarines don’t have a pleasant aroma when you ‘sniff’ near their stem, don’t buy them. This fruit is totally predictable when it comes to being able to tell whether or not they are good, before you even cut into them.
3. Ask the produce manager. These people know what’s great and what’s not in the produce section, simply ask. A couple of grocery stores in my area have managers that will cut a piece of peach or apple for me to taste before I buy. I love that.
4. To store peaches: Science and studies show that we should store peaches on their shoulders, not touching. Their shoulders are the top end by where the stem is located in the fruit. It is the part of the fruit with the most structural integrity, and least likely to bruise. If you have peaches that need a quick ripening… use the paper sack trick, but place them inside carefully, on their shoulders, then seal the bag.
5. Slicing peaches for pie. Uniformity is best when preparing fruit for pies. The pie’s filling will lay together beautifully if you use care in slicing fruit evenly. I like about 1/3″ slice on my fruit for pies. (Apples, Peaches, Pears etc.)
And… write your recipes down, somewhere organized and important, and not randomly on gross notebook pages that you lose, time and time again.
One of the most frequently asked questions that comes through my contact page on my blog…
“What does ‘dot with butter’ mean, when baking a pie?”
Here ya go! This little bit of butter under the top crust makes the filling delicious and rich. Your Grandma did it, now you can too.
Slowly but surely, we’re adjusting to a new school year.
My son is excited to go to preschool next week. I’m a little sad about it, of course, but know he’ll have a great time and I just may have a chance to write a bit more and get my kitchen clean! And do chores… lots of chores.
Oh and there’s that huge elephant in the room named “Harvest”, that’s coming right up too! I’m excited… but it is fast and furious and I’m not nearly organized enough in life at the present time to be in the field. (You should see my laundry hamper and sink full of dirty dishes…)
And pigs… plenty of pigs to take care of.
Let’s bake a pie already.
Simply Peach Pie
By: Cristen www.foodandswine.com
Crust: (Double Crust Recipe)
2 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 TBSP sugar
1 C butter, cold, cubed to 1/3″ cubes
(*or my favorite, 1/2 C butter, 1/2 C lard)
1/3 C ice water (more or less depending on humidity/time of year)
1 tsp vinegar
Combine flour, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles very coarse crumbs, you want chunks of fat within. Combine water and vinegar, add to crust, fluff with fork until mixture clings together nicely. Divide mixture into two portions, pat each into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or more. Roll out and fit to pie plate, using care not to stretch, but gently fit to plate. Reserve extra pastry for top crust, either in lattice fashion or solid top crust with vent holes pierced.
4 1/2 C peaches, peeled, sliced
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 C granulated sugar
3 TBSP cornstarch
1 TBSP minute tapioca
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 TBSP butter
2 TBSP milk
2 TBSP sugar, or sparkling sugar
Add peaches, lemon juice and vanilla to a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, minute tapioca, salt and cinnamon. Whisk dry mixture well. Pour over peaches, toss to coat. Pour into pastry lined pie shell, DOT WITH BUTTER (don’t forget!). Cover with top crust, weaving in lattice fashion or a solid top crust with adequate vent holes cut. Brush with milk, sprinkle with sugar. Wrap with a foil collar to prevent outer crust from overbrowning. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes and then reduce heat to 350 and continue to bake for 45-55 minutes until slow bubbles form in the edges of the juices of the pie. Can remove foil collar during last 20 minutes of baking to brown crust more. When through baking, remove from oven, let cool 4 hours if you can, or at least 1 hour.