It’s been a long hiatus, but I’ve been trying to stay outside and out of the kitchen while this summer weather lasts. It’s hard to believe it’s already the middle of August!
Recently, my family had it’s annual cottage weekend, where we get together with my aunts, uncles, and cousins at a family cottage. Cooking for 22 people for two days can be challenging, so each wing of the family took on one meal. My family and I worked on Sunday brunch, and a great recipe for make-ahead french toast casserole will follow. However, with all of the summer fruits available locally right now, I couldn’t resist making a pie too!
Initially I had planned on making a blueberry pie, but when my mother called me from a fruit market in cottage country to tell me they were $42 a basket, I opted for something a little more economical – peaches!
My first attempt at pie was with some organic rhubarb I picked up from my local CSA last summer, and I was pleasantly surprised with how simple it can be, provided you have the patience to work with pie dough. It REALLY needs to be chilled well before rolling it out, and even then, you may find it has to be chilled some more. Alternatively, you could opt for a pre-made packaged crust, saving a lot of time and effort.
Enjoy the last few weeks of summer!
For your viewing pleasure: tubing at the cottage!
Peach Pie with No-Fail Pastry
For the crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup crisco shortening
1/3 cup cold water
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
**Note: This will prepare enough dough for one pie with a lattice top. If you want a full top, you will need to double the recipe. You will have a little dough left over.
For the filling
Approx. 3 1/2 lbs peaches (about 6 large or 9 small)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 light brown sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg
1/8 tsp table salt
3 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp of milk, cream or water
1 tbsp coarse or granulated sugar
- Prepare the pie dough: In a stand mixer, combine together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix lightly, then cut in the shortening, until the mixture looks coarse.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together water, egg yolk, vanilla and vinegar.
- Stir into flour mixture and knead the dough a little, just until smooth. Allow to rest in fridge for at least half an hour. Dough can be stored (covered) in fridge for up to 1 week.
- While dough is chilling, bring a pot of water to a boil. Also, in a bowl large enough to hold all of your peaches, prepare an ice bath with cold water and ice cubes. Set aside.
- On the bottom of each peach, make a small ‘x’ with a knife. Once the water is boiling, carefully place as many peaches as you can fit into the pot, and poach for 2-3 minutes, or until you see the skin around the ‘x’ starting to lift. Transfer peaches to the ice bath to cool for about 1 minute. Remove peaches one at a time from the ice bath, and, beginning around the ‘x’, peel skin off. If it doesn’t slide off easily, you may need to use a vegetable peeler to remove the remaining skin.
- Once you’ve peeled all of your peaches, cut it in half, remove the pit, and then slice each half into 3 or 4 1/3-inch slices. You’ll need about 6 1/2 cups, but if you have more, don’t worry.
- Put peach slices into a large bowl, and toss with the lemon juice until coated.
- In a separate small bowl, stir together the two sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and corn starch until mixed. Add to peaches and toss until peaches are evenly coated.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Remove the dough from the fridge. Break off about 2/3 of the dough, and put the other third back into the fridge. This will be used for the lattice top (if you’ve doubled the recipe to make a full crust on top, divide the dough in half and return half to the fridge).
- On a well floured counter or silicone mat, using a floured rolling pin, roll dough out until it is approx. 1/3 inch thick. Be sure to use light pressure only, otherwise the dough will stick and you will not be able to lift it. If you’ve rolled it and it cannot be lifted in one piece, ball it back up, and start again. The beauty of this dough is that you do not have to worry about over-kneading it. If the dough is really sticky, place it back in the fridge (or in the freezer for a short time) until it is fully chilled and try again.
- Once you have rolled the dough out, if the edges are really uneven, you can cut around the edges to make it slightly rounder. Lift from counter, and carefully place into a greased pie dish, ensuring that the dough is flat on the bottom and around the inner edges, and that you also have dough hanging over the edges for the crust.
- Transfer peach mixture into centre of dough, and spread carefully to the edges. Do not worry about it if it is watery, this will solidify after baking.
- To make the lattice crust, roll out the remaining dough in the same way you did for the bottom crust. Then, cut it into long strips about 1/2 inch wide.
- Pick up the first row of dough, and place it on the edge of the pie. Do not stick corners down yet! Use every other row of dough (so that you will have pieces the appropriate length when you go in the other direction) and repeat across the entire pie. Once pie is covered in one direction, loosely fold back alternating pieces about midway through the pie, being sure not to crease at the point where you fold. Pick up a middle row that you have cut, and place it perpendicular to the rows you have already laid. Return the rows you have folded back to their original position. Repeat, folding back alternating rows, and place another row next to the one you have just placed. Repeat until completed, and then tuck edges of rows underneath the edges of the bottom crust that are exposed, and pinch to bind them. For a detailed how-to, take a look at this video from Canadian Living.
- Once your pie is assembled, brush the top of the crust with either milk, cream or water and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake for about 20 minutes in the preheated oven until crust is beginning to brown. If it looks like it is browning too fast, you can cover the edges of the crust with tin foil by bunching it and placing it around the edges. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let pie cool completely (about 3 hours on the counter, or place in the fridge to cool) before serving. This is important to help the remaining liquid in the filling solidify. DON’T FORGET TO COOL COMPLETELY!!!! You can always warm the pie up before serving at a low temperature.