Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Peach Pie

SP & I enjoy baking, but some baked goods, we won't bake just for the two of us. Some baked goods, like pies, seem like a better idea if we have people to help us devour them. After much hemming & hawing over a dessert for the Labor Day gathering (blackberry jelly roll? peach ice cream? peach cheesecake? yogurt cake with peach puree? strawberry layer cake? chocolate cake?) we decided to try baking a pie. Much to my surprise, we've never baked a pie! We've made no-bake pies, but not baked pies.
We also spent a fair amount of time hemming & hawing over whether to make our own crust or to cheat and buy refrigerated pie dough. In the end, we decided to make our own crust and we turned to our trusty copy of The Joy of Cooking for its Flaky Pastry Dough recipe. Butter, shortening, flour, sugar, salt, and water. It came together easily, SP just had to put some muscle into working the dough/pastry cutter/blender. After dividing it into 2 discs and placing them in the refrigerator to chill, we made the peach filling.
We used a peach pie filling recipe from Fine Cooking. SP blanched about 6 peaches from the farmers market (to make peeling off the skin easier), then he chopped them and mixed in the sugar, lemon juice, and salt. We let the mixture sit, covered, on the counter while we went out to dinner.
When we got home from dinner, we drained the juices off the peaches and into a saucepan in order to reduce them into a syrup. Meanwhile, we added cornstarch & almond extract to the peaches, and once the juices were reduced into a syrup, we added the syrup to the peaches. The filling was ready.
Time for the crust! It was easy to get the first disc rolled out and placed in the glass pie dish. I really, really wanted to make a woven lattice crust, so SP rolled the second disc out on a sheet of parchment paper and wished me luck! The key is to keep the dough very, very cold. I made my strips about a half an inch wide and ended up with 15 strips. I decided to use 14 and keep the 15th as an extra, for patching! After cutting the strips, I chilled the dough again. While it chilled, I lightly drew a 9 inch round on a sheet of parchment paper and marked out where each strip should go. Then I got the dough out and wove away:
We put the lattice back in the refrigerator for a while and then ever so carefully flipped it on top of the pie. We quickly crimped and brushed the dough with an egg wash and then baked it for about an hour. Halfway through, we covered the edges of the crust with foil.
For our first pie, I thought this turned out really well! The peach filling was quite tasty. Not too sticky, sugary sweet, not too runny, not too firm or gel-like. The crust was pretty tasty, too. I do think we could have maybe baked it another 5 minutes or so just to crisp up the bottom crust a bit more, but it wasn't soggy.
We had some Edy's vanilla ice cream and some whipped cream for with the pie. I prefer just pie. Happily, there's some leftover, so I got to have pie for breakfast on Monday!
Making the woven lattice crust was easier than I expected. Just keep the dough cold and take your time, be patient. The other 'tip' we got from our 'pie research' is to not let the fruit filling sit in the pie shell for more than 10-15 minutes because the wet filling can seep into the crust and then the bottom crust will be soggy. So when assembling, you have to work quickly yet carefully.

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