Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Juicy Peach Pie

Funny story about this pie, actually...I was in high school and we were having a potluck for some class or another the following day. My plan was to make turnovers with phyllo pastry (a really amazing, flaky, Greek sort of pastry), but I realized as soon as I took it out of the freezer, that the pastry was REALLY old! It comes rolled up in paper-like sheets, and when I thawed it out and tried to unroll it, it shattered and crumbled apart! Apparently my mom had that in the freezer for about a year. So lesson learned: DON'T leave phyllo dough in the freezer for a year! 

Well, anyway, I ended up having to improvise. I looked all around  the kitchen, thinking, and eventually realized it shouldn't be that hard to make a pie! I got out my favorite pie crust recipe: this one that belongs to my FAVORITE cooking blog--Smitten Kitchen--and began making my first peach pie.

This is what I came up with.

And before you think about going to get store-bought pie crust...THINK AGAIN! This doesn't take a whole lot of ingredients or time, just practice! It tastes THAT much better. It's flakier, more flavor-filled, and frankly a whole lot better for you. This recipe by Smitten Kitchen is perfection. It's the best recipe I've ever made for pie crust.

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tsp salt
2 sticks of butter, COLD and diced
3/4 cup ice water
 The night before or at least 4 hours ahead, combine flour, sugar, and salt in a wide bowl (so you can easily knead). Then, finely dice the 2 sticks of chilled butter and sprinkle this into the flour a little at a time, blending everything together using 2 knives or a pastry cutter. The mixture should look like small peas when it is fully incorporated. It will still be uneven, but do not fret! Do not use your hands for this because you do not want the butter to melt. It is key that the butter stays cold. 

Next, add in a 1/2 cup of ice water, and use a spatula to gather all of the dough together (we are avoiding using our hands because we don't want the butter to melt!). Add in the next 1/4 cup of water a tablespoon at a time, until the dough is in large clumps. Then you can get your hands in there. Knead it into a single clump. Do this quickly, so the dough does not have too much contact with your warm hands. Divide into two equally sized balls and wrap in plastic wrap. Press down each ball to make a flat disc shape (easier to roll out later) and place these two discs in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.

 When you are ready to make your pie, take the pie crust out of the fridge and preheat your oven to 425F. Roll one of the discs out into a rough circle (the most important part is that the dough is even in thickness). 

Then, fold the dough into quarters, for easy transportation, and place in pre-buttered pie plate. unfold. Run around the pie plate with a knife to get rid of the excess pastry, and press down the edges with your thumb. Next, poke holes all around the bottom and sides with a fork, so that it doesn't bubble up when you cook it.

Next, whisk up 2 eggs and brush the bottom pie crust with the wash. Set the rest of the egg aside for later. Put the crust in the oven for about 5-10 minutes to precook, so that it is not soggy when you cook the whole pie. It should not be brown, but should be slightly firmer in texture.

 For the Filling:
10 peaches (or 7, for a smaller pie crust), sliced
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp butter

Meanwhile, take 10 peaches (for a large pie dish like mine...if you have a smaller dish, use 7) that are ripe but still firm and slice them up (remove the skins if you want to). Toss them in a bowl with 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice. In a separate bowl, combine 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tbsp flouy, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 cup of white sugar and 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Sprinkle this over the peaches, and toss. Let this sit for about ten minutes. Meanwhile, the pie crust in the oven should be done, so take it out and let it cool. 

 Once the peaches have been sitting in their mixture for about 10 minutes, strain them--give them a good shake, and place them in your precooked pie crust.

 Dice 2 tablespoons of butter and scatter this over the peaches. Lay the pie crust top over the peaches and cut around the edge with a knife. Then seal the edges with more of your egg wash, cut a hole in the top and slits around the crust to let out steam.

 Paint the crust with the rest of the egg wash and place it in the oven, still at 425, for 10 minutes. Then lower the heat to 350 for another 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

Let the pie rest on a rack until cooled, at least 30 minutes, before serving. This is not just to torture you--it's so that the filling can have a chance to firm up. If you cut into the pie when it's hot, it won't cut properly and will also be really runny!

Enjoy! :)

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