Peach Pie

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Jennifer Pallian
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Okay, so the calendar might say it is fall, but I'm going to retain my death grip on summer and continue enjoying the late summer bounty while others move on to pumpkin-y things and slow braises. I did warn you that I was planning to obsessively hoard all stone fruit till they rot off the tree, did I not? And even the rotting ones... I'm sure there's still good bits...

I know. Obsession is unhealthy. Which is why I probably shouldn't share that I was actually stomach-flippingly nervous about going to the farmer's market yesterday.

What if there are no more peaches? What if they are gone? What if this is my last 2011 experience with the fruit that tastes like sunshine?

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Sigh. I'm sure in a week I will happily don a scarf and hop onto the pumpkin-and-slow-braises wagon.

But for now, I am going to put peach pie in your face and pretend it is still beach season, mmkay?

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When making peach pie, you're supposed to drop scored peaches in boiling water to facilitate removing their skin. If you are super speedy and efficient with a paring knife, you can skip this. I do.

The filling is not to sweet, and lightly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. Nutmeg and peaches are delicious together.

I always toss my fruit with flour. Many recipes call for potato starch, rice flour, tapioca starch, arrowroot, yada yada yada, but my mama always used flour, and her pies were always delicious.

Psst... I made this pie plate... isn't she pretty?

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I have been experimenting with my favourite pie crust recipe. It originally called for half butter and half shortening. But I try to avoid chemically rearranged food-like substances such as:

"FULLY HYDROGENATED PALM OIL, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED PALM AND SOYBEAN OILS, MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, TBHQ AND CITRIC ACID".

Yuck.

I'd rather use the fat of a pig. Uh huh, lard. Like my grandma did.

The reason for using butter and lard (or... shortening... ick) is to produce a crust that is both flavourful and flaky (butter) and tender (lard). If you use just butter, your crust will be utterly delicious, but will have a tendency toward a shattering texture. Fine by me, but not usually the winner of the town pie contest.

Anyway, this is the third time I've played with the lard-butter combo, and you know what? I am decidedly back in the all butter camp. You just can't beat the flavour.

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My new pie crust shield squashed my pretty fluting. Ah well.

How do you make your pie crust? Do you use flour, or another starch to thicken your pie filling?

Peach Pie

Serve warm or room temperature, preferably with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

For Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

  • 2 tbsp sugar

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 1 1/4 cup (10 ounces) butter, chilled

  • 6 tbsp cold water

1. Whisk together the flour, salt and sugar in a very large bowl. Add the chilled butter and cut in using a pastry cutter, two knives, or by quickly working it in using your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

2. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture. Stir the dough together using a wooden spoon, adding water 1 tablespoon at a time if needed to make dough stick together.

3. Divide the dough into two even pieces and flatten each into a 4-inch disk. Wrap the disks tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Let the chilled dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling it out.

For Pie

  • 2 1/2 lbs peaches (about 6 large), peeled, pitted and sliced

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar

  • 2 tbsp flour

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

  • 1 tbsp sugar for sprinkling

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees, with an oven rack on the lowest position and a baking sheet placed on the rack. Toss together the sliced peaches, sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.

2. Roll out bottom crust and fit into pie plate. Transfer peaches to bottom crust. Roll out top pie crust and place it over the peaches. Trim excess dough, leaving a 1/2 inch overhang. Press top and bottom crusts together, tucking the edges underneath and crimping decoratively, if desired. Use scissors to cut 4-6 vent holes in the top of the pie. Sprinkle with remaining sugar.

3. Place pie on preheated baking sheet, and reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees. Bake until top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Cover crusts with foil if they are getting too dark. Reduce temperature to 375 and continue baking until deep golden brown, about 25 minutes more.