Tag Archives: pie crust

Peach Blackberry Pie, Version 1.0

9 Aug

Peaches and blackberries have pretty much the same season around here. Which sounds to me like they ought to experience some of the same desserts together. We already did a crisp, so when I asked Ben what to do with the other half of the peaches: work on perfecting the crisp or do a pie, he was pretty quick to answer pie.

I cut up four small peaches last week as part of the ends of our basket of seconds, but then put them in the fridge to keep until I made pie. Which is a week later. Which means they have started to ferment. I think that’s a good thing, actually.

What happens when the fetus inside starts kicking at the flour-covered counter. Also, pie.

Also, since it took a week to get to this pie, there were a lot fewer blackberries to add to it. I can proudly say we lost very few to mold. Most of them were lost to ice cream. So instead of little dots of cooked blackberry, I pureed them with the tablespoon of sugar, strained out the seedy bits, and used it as more of a sauce. I had figured since the first half of the peaches had fermented, I would skip the bourbon, but the blackberries were stubbornly not blending without more liquid, so a hint did show up in the sauce. Not even a full splash — let’s call it a “splish”. I think I’ve made my position on cooked peaches pretty clear: they require bourbon, as does banana bread, Southern grandmothers, and largely pregnant women who have just discovered the third-trimester back ache. (Sadly, thanks to the hormones, my tolerance is down to that of five year old, and since I think an intoxicated fetus is a poor choice, I’ve limited myself to quantities that won’t even get me buzzed, which means I have to get my bourbon fix through baking, and satisfy myself with the very occasional miniature glass of wine or half a beer. You cannot pick crabs without beer. It’s just Not Right.)

When I’m looking for a baking recipe, this is the crazy that I go through: Open my binder of print-outs to see if I’ve already got a recipe I like. Check ALL THREE OF THESE BOOKS to compare recipes. Search online for additional options. Eventually settle on an amalgam of about fifteen recipes. Throw in a hefty dash of “winging it.”

I’ve struggled with finding a good pie crust recipe. I kept trying these “no fail” recipes, like one from Alton Brown, or Cooks Illustrated, or even Bakewise, but their easy “no fail” techniques to adapt the traditional crust always left me with sticky, messy dough. Oh sure, it baked up tasty, but in our humid kitchen, I couldn’t get a sticky pie dough to transform into a pretty pie crust. It’s summer time in Maryland. The humidity is about 138%, unless it’s raining or you turn your air conditioning down to 50.

I did learn a lot from all those recipes, however. Shirley Corriher’s technique of adding a little vinegar gave the crust a flavor I liked a lot (she says it helps with “tenderness”). So when I went back to the super-traditional crust recipe, I threw a splash of vinegar into the ice water. Alton’s advice about chilling the dough is helpful, although mine never stays as cold as he recommends, and CI’s admonishments about over-handling the dough… well, okay, I completely ignore those. But when it comes to my baking, I’m a handsy kind of girl.

We made a double recipe of the crust, which turned into a Peach Blackberry Pie and Welsh Pasties.

A pocket full of delicious dinner. Crust by Megan, pork filling by Ben.

DAIRY SUBSTITUTIONS:

If you use shortening in your pie crust, then the answer is NONE. If you use butter, then you want a good butter-alternative. I like Earth Balance for baking.

THE RECIPE:

Filling:

  • 4-6 medium sized peaches, fresh and in season

Peel using your favorite method. I like to wash them, cut them into wedges, and pull the skin off with a paring knife. If they’re ripe enough, I can almost use my fingers to get just the skin, leaving all the fruit intact. Then, cut the flesh into bite-sized pieces.

  • a handful of blackberries
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • Small splash of bourbon

Combine in small food processor, with a stick blender (if yours hasn’t mysteriously DIED FOR NO REASON), or mash up by hand. Strain into a bowl (or directly over the cut peaches) to remove all the stems and seeds. Add:

  • 1 Tbsp flour

Stir the whole mess together to get a pinkish peach gooey loveliness. If your pie crust isn’t ready yet, toss the bowl in the fridge while you finish it.

Roll out the crust into your pie plate, add the filling, then roll out the top crust. Don’t forget to cut vents so the top doesn’t explode. Bake according to the crust recipe instructions, which in our case was 45 minutes at 450°F.

I would include a picture of the inside, but we may have eaten it all.

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