Thursday, June 18, 2009

Peach Pie

The peaches at the grocery store have been smelling so good lately; I just had to do make something with them. As much as I love to bake, I had never made pie crust from scratch. I think that's because I had heard so many horror stories about bad crust and because Pillsbury makes it so easy. Brett's mom convinced me that it's not that hard and well worth it. I looked up a recipe for crust and peach pie in a few cookbooks and finally decided on Taste of Home's Baking Book. Although it was not encouraging to see half a page dedicated to "Problem Solving Pointers for Pies."

I made the filling first, which involved peeling seven peaches, and I am NOT a whiz with a paring knife. I tried the trick (that I read in two sources) of putting the peaches in boiling water for 20-30 seconds and then in an ice bath. This worked for two of the peaches: their peels slid right off; the other five were decidedly not ripe yet. Ugh. It took me quite a while to carve the peels off of those five guys and then quite a while longer to cut the flesh away from the pits. It was a total hack job and I was frustrated way before it was time to start the crust.

Surprisingly, the crust came together rather easily. I used my pastry blender to cut the shortening into the flour. I made sure not to over mix, and to allow some larger pieces of shortening to remain with some smaller pieces. I then formed it into two balls (this was a double crust pie) but I tried to do it quickly so that my warm hands would touch the dough the least amount of time possible. Then I had to roll it out, which was a little frustrating because the dough was quite sticky, but I managed to get it big enough in the end. As I put it into the pie plate, I realized that the edges were quite hideous and I declared that this might be the ugliest pie ever. After I trimmed and crimped the edges, however, it was not entirely ugly.

Then for the top crust, instead of doing a full crust with a few cut-outs, I opted to do a bunch of little cutouts. I saw this technique in Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook with stars on a Fourth of July pie. It was beautiful, so I decided to try it with flowers. My parents had bought me some mini cookie cutters (meant for fondant) for my birthday and I figured one of the little flowers would be perfect for this task. I think it looked beautiful!

After baking, I could tell that the fruit filling had gone super liquidy, but other than that, it looked great.

Cutting the pie was a bit of an ordeal because of the excess goo. When I pulled the first piece out all the goo from the surrounding pieces seeped down into the hole. And when I pulled the second piece out, a good portion of the filling slid off and had to be replaced by hand. This is the second fruit dessert in a row that has been ridiculously liquidy. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Now on to the crust! I thought it was great. I'm the kind of girl who usually leaves the edge of the pie on the plate, but it was not so with this one. Definitely better than Pillsbury. I'm not a pie connoisseur, so I don't know how flaky or light it is supposed to be, but it certainly met the standard I do have: yummy!


doris daze said...

Congratulations on your first pie crust. Maybe you've done more now and are an old pro at it. I shared the same fear of pie crust, but two years ago I told myself I was going to conquer that fear. Why? Because a friend saw my mini-cuisinart and said that's a great thing to use for pie crust. And he's right. It's fast, easy, doesn't overmix because you "pulse". I bought a cookbook called "Pies" and I use it all the time. Made a cherry/blueberry pie today for a dinner party tonight and I'm making a peach pie for tomorrow night. Also, if you have friends who don't eat sugar, I find that Splenda is a fantastic substitute both for the pie filling and the crust. Re: too juicy, try adding a bit more cornstarch. Some recipes call for as little as a TB, but some call for 3 TB, so I think it's okay to play with that. I notice some also call for tapioca instead of cornstarch but I've never used that. Maybe that will help you.

Kim in the Kitchen said...

Hi Doris! Thanks for stopping by and for the tips! I'm still quite a pie crust novice, but at least I'm not scared anymore : )