if I lived here I’d be home by nowJuly 18, 2010
Looking through the reader requests, S has apparently discovered one of my embarrassing weak spots. Pie. Yep, pie. Believe it or not, folks, I’ve only ever made ONE pie before (not counting things with pre-purchased crusts), and it didn’t come out well. Pies TERRIFY me, with all their weird crusty mystery. I had been hoping against hope that no one would request a pie. I even went so far as to threaten a couple of people who know my secret, warning that they better not request a pie OR ELSE. But alas, S in all her innocence wanted a peach pie with a sugared lattice crust, so I shrugged my shoulders helplessly and got to work.
First, the crust. I read about two zillion pie crust recipes, and finally settled on King Arthur Flour’s Food Processor Pie Crust. I couldn’t find it online, but it’s available in this book, which is quite possibly the most read book in the house (and if you know how much I read, that’s really saying something). The basic theory of the recipe is to have everything as cold as possible, and to mix it as little as possible, in order to avoid overworking it and making it tough. I was initially worried that I had done exactly that, and made a tough dough, but it came out surprisingly decent. I know it will get better with practice, but in the meantime, it was respectable enough that I wouldn’t feel the need to apologize for when serving.
For the filling, I again reviewed about 85,000 recipes, and tried to figure out the best combinations. It turned out a little juicier than I’d have cared for, but I think that’s the result of two things: first, I would probably add a tablespoon of cornstarch next time. Meant to do it on this one, and totally spaced. Second, don’t cut into it the same day. Who knew that most fruit pies aren’t served until day two? Even though we waited for hours on day one to cut into it, it was still a bit looser than expected. When we tried again the next day, it held up much better, so lesson learned, let your pie cool overnight before slicing (and this is why there are not cut pie pictures on this post – it was just too ugly).
Overall, even this wasn’t the most perfect pie in all the universe, it gives me hope. The crust was more decent than not, the flavor was wonderful, and I’ve got definite ideas on what to tweak going forward. Plus, the latticing and sugaring were super fun! Thanks for the challenge, S!
FOOD PROCESSOR PIE CRUST (KAF)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or a combination of all-purpose and unbleached pastry flour (I used half and half)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water (I ended up using the full 1/2 cup)
- Cut the stick of butter lengthwise into three slabs, then rotate and cut lengthwise again, so you’ve got nine pencil-ish sticks. Then cut these down into cubes about 1/2 inch thick (about pea size).
- Place butter cubes and vegetable shortening in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.
- Place flour and salt in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Turn on machine for 5 seconds to mix ingredients. Add the chilled fats and pulse for 2 seconds at a time, four times total. Sprinkle vinegar and 4 tablespoons of water over the dough, pulse once for a second.
- Take the mixture out of the machine and transfer to mixing bowl or work surface. It will still look crumbly and the butter should still be visible in rounded chunks. When you gather the dough in your hands, it should be almost moist enough to hold together. Sprinkle it with 1 more tablespoon of water if necessary, mixing the dough with a fork, until it can be gathered together into a ball. Do not work it any more than necessary, or it will become tough. Divide into two pieces, form each into a disk, and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.
PEACH PIE FILLING
5 cups sliced peeled peaches
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
- While pie crust is chilling, place peaches in a strainer over the sink, mix with lemon juice, and let sit. This will help release some of the extra liquids.
- Heat oven to 450F
- Take first crust disk out of the refrigerator, and roll out to 12 inches in diameter. Place crust into 9-inch glass pie plate, fitting crust to dish. You will have overhang, leave it for now.
- In medium bowl, mix peaches with flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt (I’d also add a tablespoon of cornstarch next time). Once thoroughly blended, pour into pie crust and then dot with butter.
- Roll out second crust, and cut into strips of even width. Place several strips (I used 6), evenly spaced, across the top of the pie. Fold every-other-one backwards, and then lay opposite direction strips. Fold back up, and fold down the other half, and repeat until whole pie is ‘woven’. If this makes no sense, there’s an excellent picture tutorial here. I can do it easily, just not so good at describing it, sorry.
- Once your crust is done, go around the edge of the pan and cut the excess dough off with a knife. Then take a fork and use the tines to work around the pie dish, sealing the edges.
- Brush crust with a lightly beaten egg, and then sprinkle with sugar (I used sparkling sugar, you can also use granulated, whichever you’ve got).
- Place a cookie sheet or some aluminum foil on the rack below your pie plate, in case of drippage.
- Bake for 10 minutes at 450, then reduce oven temperature to 350 and bake for another 30-35 minutes, until crust is golden brown and filling begins to bubble up.
- Let cool completely, preferable overnight, before serving.