Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Peach Pie

I was recently accosted with the reality that the peaches I had procured from the grocery were, shall we say, less-than-stellar. I had hopes that they might ripen up, but after cutting open a few peaches to find that one side was over-ripe and mealy and the other was hard as rock I gave up hope and started thinking of solutions.

After doing a quick search through my cookbooks for appropriate recipes, I decided this might be the perfect time to try a recipe that has always tempted me.

Peach Pie.

It had always seemed a shame to me to use fresh peaches for baking. After all, a good peach shouldn't need any help from sugar, spices, or the accompaniment of a buttery crust. But these peaches were a completely different story.
So I began. I made my pie crust (note to self...I need a pastry cutter. Cutting 2+ sticks of butter into 3 cups of flour is not a job for the faint of heart...or the dinner fork). I cut my peaches (which alternated between the messy mealy peaches, and the "I think I need a better knife because this blade just isn't cutting it" peaches).
Please enjoy that pun by the way, I know I did.

After all that, I finally got to the fun part.

The lattice top.

The American Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (which contains the recipe I used) recommended working with chilled dough to roll out the lattice strips and then freezing the cut strips for approx. 30mins (I did more like 10...yes, I'm impatient, but it worked just fine).

Then, after carefully weaving the strips, the dough is left to thaw out on the pie and then trimmed and crimped after it's softened.
The extra step of freezing the stripes made it so easy to create the lattice crust! In the cookbook they have a photo of a "bad lattice job" and it was quite disturbing, so I was determined to get it right.
My crimp job around the edges wasn't really satisfactory, but I didn't worry about it too much.
A few notes I wanted to make for myself (and which you'll find helpful if you ever use this recipe) follow below:
1. After cutting the peaches, I'd let them "drain" a little bit before adding the sugar etc. When I made this pie, I added those ingredients to the cut peaches and let them sit while I rolled out the pie dough but realized I was left with a lot of peach juice in the bowl, which brings me to:
2. The amount of cornstarch (the recipe calls for potato starch, but I substituted) was not enough to compensate for the juice. I added about 2.5 Tbsp. I'd go close to the maximum suggested for the potato starch (around 5 Tbsp) even for peaches that don't seem to have any juice in them at all.
3. Sugar. Again my peaches were not exactly sweet, but I still went for the minimum amount of sugar suggested. Still, a little too sweet in my opinion.
4. Crust. It was quite thick (which didn't bother me at all, but might be worth considering) and I still had leftovers amounting to about 1/3 Cup.
Overall, this was delicious. Perfect use for those peaches that lacked certain peach-like qualities.
Just looking at the photos again makes my mouth water. I might have to go back to the store and buy some more of those peaches. ;)


Celestial said...

Ironically I think the "bad" job is actually rather cute and quirky :)

pdxknitterati/MicheleLB said...

That looks soooooo delicious!