Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fresh Peach Pie

I learned to make pie pastry from my mom when I was very young and I have been practicing ever since. For a two crust pie pastry, I toss together 3 c. flour and 1 t. salt, then cut in 3/4 - 1 c. lard or vegetable shortening or a mix of either with half butter, which will give a better flavor. When crumbles are the size of small peas, I stir in just enough water to bring together pastry dough without over mixing it -about 1/3 c. more or less (this is the part where experience pays off). Adding a dash of vinegar or lemon juice will help break down the gluten but I don't always do this. I form pastry into a disc, wrap it in cling wrap and refrigerate for several hours to overnight. I think this is a crucial step in making great pie crusts, though my mom never did and hers were always excellent. After chilling disc, I roll 2/3 pastry to form the bottom crust and fit it into the pie dish with a bit hanging over to form the edge.

Fresh peaches this time of year from the Farmers Market are fantastic. I think the best thing you can do with a peach is put it into a pie and serve it warm with vanilla ice cream. Of course, I think that's the best thing to do with a lot of other fruits, too. For a peach pie, I buy 7 or so huge, luscious ripe peaches. When the pastry has chilled and I am ready to make a pie, I plunge peaches into boiling water for 30 seconds, drain, then put them into cold water and their skins easily slip off. I slice peaches into a bowl, discarding the pits, and toss with 2 T. lemon juice. In a separate bowl I mix together:
2/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
1/8 t. nutmeg
then mix with peaches and scrape all into pastry-lined pie dish and dot with butter.

For peach pie, I alway roll out the remaining 1/3 pastry and cut it to make a lattice crust. I think it looks lovely. I form it by laying the longest strips down the center, alternating directions, adding more strips and weaving until the top crust is formed. I usually flute the edge or fold it first over the top of the lattice ends. I try to remember to put the pie onto a pizza or baking sheet while baking to catch the drips that are inevitable with a full, juicy pie filling. My directions say to bake 400-425 for 20 minutes, lower heat to 350 degrees, and bake 45 minutes more or until done when juices bubble up in the center of pie.

I was in a hurry and took this pie out before the juices bubbled up in the center. It was too soon and as a result its rather anemic-looking. I knew it wasn't quite ready at the time, but was hoping maybe it would be good enough. Hoping something is what you want, does not make it so. I guess I will just have to practice more.

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