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Well our magic peach tree has done it again! This tree, nearly dead when we saved it from the scrub pile & planted it, produced so many peaches in its second summer it could barely hold them up.
This year's harvest made Peaches Cardinal, Lavender Peach Butter, Peach Jelly (which didn't set, so I'm going to give my first try at re-working it), & best of all . . dun-dun-da-dunnnnn . . PEACH PIE! Actually two pies, only because I made waaaay too much filling & had to quickly put together a second one. But no problem, there is never a shortage of takers when it comes to pie.
I tried a new recipe for the crust &, surprisingly, it turned out as tasty as my old stand-by crust. But my old stand-by is soooo much easier to prepare, so for the second pie I went back to using it. I'll show you both recipes here & you can choose which one works best for you.
For a peach pie, you don't want to prepare the filling too soon. Peaches are such a soft fruit that they will produce too much juice before they go into the oven if mixed with the other ingredients ahead of time. So start with the crust:
Hand-mixed Butter Pie Crust
1 1/3 cups cold butter
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup ice-cold water
(simple instructions in bold print)(more detailed instructions in plain print)
1.) Cut the butter into the flour & salt.
Stir the flour & salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter into ½” cubes & put it in the bowl with the flour. Using a pastry cutter (or a fork if that’s all you have - but it takes a lot longer) mix it in with slicing motions until you are left with pea size crumbles.
2.) Slowly add water, stirring until dough begins to pull away from sides.
Put a few ice cubes in a 1 cup glass measuring cup & fill it with cold water. While stirring the flour/butter crumbles with a wooden spoon, pour in about ¼ cup of the water, then just a tablespoon more of water at a time, until the spoon doesn’t seem to stir it anymore, only push it around the bowl.
3.) Split dough in half & chill 15 minutes.
Make a ball out of each half, flatten slightly into a disk & wrap each half in plastic wrap. Put them in the frig for only 10 to 15 minutes, any longer & you’ll have to put some muscle into rolling them out.
During this down time you can go ahead to the filling preparation
& blanch, peel, pit & slice the peaches.
4.) Roll out bottom crust on a lightly floured surface & place in pie plate. Roll out the top crust, cover it lightly with the plastic wrap & go on to mix the filling.
Pie crust use to scare the crap out of me. But I’ve learned a few tricks over the years, & now it’s very rare that the dough will end up flung into the pond in the back yard. So let me share them with you:
Slow Down Mama!If you’re in a hurry, go buy a pre-made pie crust from the freezer section. Rolling out a pie crust is like blowing a bubblegum bubble. If you blew a bubble as fast as you could, the thing would split & pop all over - same thing with pie crust. Easy, smooth, slow movements will allow the elasticity of the dough to stretch & grow with fewer cracks.
Flours for MamaMost recipes say "on a lightly floured surface". This use to make me crazy! I'd "lightly flour" the surface, only to end up with the dough all stuck to the counter top or to the rolling pin. First, if your dough is super sticky, it has too much water in it. Just work in a little more flour with the spoon or use your hands. But remember, the more you work any dough, the tougher it gets; which is good for pasties, but not pies. When you're ready to roll, follow the process I use:
1.) Sprinkle flour over your work surface.
2.) Pick up a small handful of flour & rub it all
over the dough disk you just took out of the frig.
3.) Get another scoop of flour & rub it all over your
4.) Roll the dough, from the center out, until the
disk is about 6" in diameter.
5.) Get another small scoop of flour & rub it on the
top of the dough.
6.) Pick up the dough, spread the flour around on
the work surface, rub some flour on the bottom
of the disk & flip it over onto the work surface.
7.) Roll it out from the center until it is about 2" bigger than your pie pan.
8.) Use this folding & unfolding method to lift it into the pie pan. Done.
Now you're ready for the filling:
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tblsp. butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 tblsp. granulated sugar
(don't forget to buy vanilla ice cream too!) 1.) Preheat oven to 425°.
2.) Blanch, peel & pit the peaches. Cut into 1/2" slices.
Set a large pot of water (1/2 full) on to boil. Drop the peaches in, wait about 30 seconds & scoop them out, dropping them into a big bowl of ice water. This usually makes the skins just slip right off - though for some reason, this didn't do the trick on my magic peach tree peaches, so I had to use a potato peeler - go figure? Then cut them in half, pull out the pit & slice them.
3.) Stir together with brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, salt, & flour. Spoon peach mixture into pie crust in pie plate, and dot with 1 1/2 Tbsp. butter. (Do not make mixture ahead or it will become too juicy.)
4.) Carefully place remaining pie crust over filling; press edges of crusts together to seal. Cut off excess crust, and reserve (I'll show you a way to use them below). Crimp edges of pie & cut vents into the top crust.
This crimped edging has a dual purpose: first, it looks pretty, & second, the pointed edges hold the crust above the top of the pie plate so your pie stays lifted into place.
5.) Brush top of pie with beaten egg, sprinkle with 1 1/2 Tbsp. granulated sugar.
6.) Bake on lower oven rack 15 minutes (at preheated 425°). Reduce oven temperature to 375°; bake another 40 minutes, or until golden & juice is bubbling out of the top.
Like I said, that was the new recipe I tried, & it was suuuuper good. But here is the recipe I've used for years, also way good, but a little easier if you happen to have a food processor:
EASY BUTTER PIE CRUST
4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 to 3/4 cup ice-cold water
1.) This time, just put the ingredients (except the water) in the food processor & pulse a few times until you have your pea size crumbles.
2.) Pour in the ice water, just a little at a time, while the processor is running, until it starts to pull away from the sides.
3.) Separate the dough into 2 balls, flatten slightly. Wrap them in plastic wrap, put them in the frig & go on with the recipe above.
OK, now for the left over dough you cut off from the edges:
This is something my mom use to do & I still can't resist this little treat. Just gather up the dough pieces & press them into a ball. Roll that ball into any old shape, about 1/4" thick. Brush it with melted butter & sprinkle it heavy with cinnamon-sugar.
Cut it into squares or triangles or whatever, with a pizza cutter & put those on a cookie sheet. After the pie comes out of the oven, put this tray in for about 10 minutes.