Pi(e) Day: the most wonderful day of the month.

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Today was an obvious choice of a day for me to make a pie. I don’t math, but I do know what pi means and since I’m pretty all right with letters, I knew that adding an ‘e’ would really level up this day. *insert Link opening a treasure chest music here* Also, I can’t remember the last time I made one, which is true sadness.

When discussing what kind to make, Yvonne, who knows I always bring them into work for taste testing, said any kind but blueberry because that would turn her teeth blue. So to me that meant it was definitely going to be blueberry. Luckily for her, blueberries weren’t quite in season yet, so they were still ridiculously priced. The strawberries and raspberries were on sale and to add in a color and texture variant, I threw a pack of blackberries into the cart. A lemon for fresh juice and I was ready.20170314_192753.jpg

Shockingly, I actually planned ahead for this day and made my dough the night before. I’ve seriously mastered that pie dough, yo. As seasoned bakers already know, the quality of butter makes ALL the difference in it coming together. When I got home from the store, I rolled out half of the dough and pressed it into the plate.

The dough went back into the fridge while I prepped the filling. Sweet, sweet berries, come to momma. I cut the strawberries into 20170314_193128.jpgdifferent sizes and left the blackberries and raspberries whole. A bowl of beauty. The recipe I loosely followed called for adding granulated sugar, lemon juice, and salt to the berries. I cut the sugar by about a quater cup and added in an overflowing tablespoon of good quality maple syrup. Once that was mixed, add in the thickener, flour, and then it was time to get the other half of the 20170314_192702.jpgdough out of the fridge to roll out for the top crust. I knew I wanted to do something to represent pi, so I stared at the rolled out dough and contemplated how to do it without just doing the pi symbol. The problem is that I’m still an amateur with creative pie lattice tops. The brainstorming resulted in an idea I thought I could handle, so I filled the plate with the berry delicious filling and got at it. After some serious finangling, I finished my top and popped that heavy baby into the oven.

About an hour later, my gooftastic Pi Day pie was done. As usual, it was juicier than I’d like it to be. I think this happens because I usually add more fruit than the recipes call for, I can’t abide a sunken belly, and then forget to compensate with more thickening agent.

Do you see my pi representation?

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The taste testers were pleased—the pi pie disappeared with a quickness. I did get a slice and I have to admit that regardless of the slightly pooling liquid, the taste was spot on. Not too sweet or too tart. I’ll mark it as a success and make yet another note to watch the thickener when making fruit pies.

I didn’t get a “pretty” picture of a cut piece, but here’s a jank one with sliding crust on a Target brand generic paper plate because we can’t care about everything…

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Pie Dough:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar (I used slightly less)

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-1 tablespoon pieces (I used Kerry Gold)

1 1/2 cups cold water

Put the cold water into a 2 cup liquid measuring cup with a spout and handle. Set into the freezer. Measure out the flour into a mixing bowl, add the sugar and salt, then the butter pieces. Lightly toss them until they are coated and then take handfuls of the mixture into your hands, pressing the butter into the flour between your fingers until it’s incorporated and the butter pieces are pea to walnut size.

Next, get the water from the freezer and drizzle it in for a count of about five seconds. Then toss it like you’re tossing a salad. Don’t knead. Keep doing that with the water until you can put together a small ball of dough, toss it in the air, and when it lands in your hand it stays together. At this point, make two thick discs of dough, wrap in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to three days.

Pie Filling:

5-5 1/2 cups of mixed berries of your choice

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 heaping tablespoon maple syrup

2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

pinch of salt

1/4 cup flour (or more if you add extra fruit)

2 tablespoon chilled, unsalted butter cut into small chunks

1 egg white for wash

Demerara sugar

Preheat oven to 425.

Mix the berries, sugar, syrup, lemon juice, and salt together. Taste and adjust to your preference. Stir in the flour and set aside while you roll out the top crust. Pile the fruit mix into the dough, dot with butter, and then add your version of the top. Brush on the egg white wash and heavily sprinkle with the demerara sugar.

Middle rack for 15-20 minutes, with an edge protector. Then turn oven down to 375, rotate pie, and bake for another 35-45 minutes. Take the pie edge protector off for the last 10-15 minutes.

Cool on wire rack for at least an hour and then devour.

 

 

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Bye, Guy! and a Pie

A friend wanted a pie. Isn’t that how all pie stories begin?

The plot of this one is simple–last day of work for a coworker and he wanted a peach pie. It’s the sequence of events that get a bit blurry in my medi-fuzzed mind. Since I can’t seem to write down recipes as I go, and I have some preternatural aversion to measuring, the particulars of this one may be a bit sketchy. In spite of all that, here we go.

Bourbon Peach Pie with a Bacon Lattice Maple Syrup-Drizzled Topping

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When I think of peach pie, I tend to think of bourbon. When I think of bourbon, I think of bacon. Now, we’re not going to get into an argument about whether Jack Daniel’s is a whiskey or a bourbon or a bourbon whiskey. For my purposes, it mixes with the flavors of peaches, bacon, and honey just riiight.

20160809_192636.jpgWith ingredients like that, the only way to screw up is to use a store-bought pie dough. Just say no, people. Making your own is pretty damn simple. It may take six or three times to master it, but it’s worth it every single time. So get to learning if you don’t know how already.

Yep. There’s mine in all its near perfection glory. And yes, I’m bragging, but in all seriousness, there’s something about melding together the basics of flour, butter, salt, and water with your hands until it becomes not just the carrier of all the other flavors, but often becomes the star of the show.

*I have to admit that somehow my crust shrunk a little too much during the par bake this time around. Gah! and shhhhh.

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While the par-baked pie crust cooled, it was time to skin, slice, and season the peaches. I ended up using a mix of regular and white peaches because I wanted ripe ones. After a lot of feeling up of a lot of peaches, I found five firm, juicy big ‘uns. Tossed with the JD, lemon juice, honey, brown sugar, nutmeg, salt and flour, they were ready to set aside while soaking up all those flavors.

For the bacon lattice top, I chose a thick cut, lower sodium bacon. Personally, I have to
watch my sodium intake for health reasons, but the more I’ve learned about it through 20160809_195530.jpgnecessity to keep myself healthy, I’ve realized most people need to cut back. PSA aside, when it’s floating on a delicious peach mixture and drizzled with maple syrup, nobody is going to notice if it has a little less sodium. I cooked the bacon on the stove-top just long enough so it wasn’t completely done, but not totally flimsy either. Browned, but not crunchy. Mmmmm, bacon.

Once the peach filling was poured into the homemade pie crust and the latticed top drizzled with maple syrup, it was time to pop that sweet lovin’ baby in the oven and sit back with glass of JD. The perfume of the mapled meat and honeyed peaches mingled with the warmth of the liquor sliding along, soothing away the tough moments of the week, month, year, so far. Pie baking is my therapy.

And then it was done. And then it was brought to the party. And then it was gone.

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Pie Dough:

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 stick of unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Pinch of salt

1/4 cup ice water

Sift the flour, toss in the salt, and work the butter in until the butter pieces are about the size of a walnut. Make a well in the center and slowly pour in the ice water a tablespoon at a time kneading it until the dough just comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in fridge for at least thirty minutes before rolling out. Put back in the fridge after setting in pie plate before par-baking it.

 

Peach Filling:

2-3 pounds peaches (about 5-6 large)

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup sugar (I used dark brown)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2-3 tablespoons bourbon or whiskey (I used 4 tablespoons. heh)

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Pinch of salt

5-6 tablespoons of flour

 

Bacon Topping:

8-10 slices of bacon (I used thick cut, lower sodium)

Maple syrup, enough to drizzle all over

 

425 degree oven for 15 minutes and then drop the temp to 375 for 25-30 minutes.

I had to cover it with aluminum for a few so the bacon didn’t overcook. Just keep an eye on it and let it go to your liking.

 

Blueberry Pickin’ and a Pie

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It’s the height of blueberry season here in north Florida and I couldn’t turn down an invite to go to a local u-pick farm on Saturday morning. We set out early, beating the crowds and heat, and were able to meander through the rows of plants in a cool breeze and quiet. By 10 o’clock, the pony rides, stilt clowns making balloon animals, and food trucks were in full swing.

I’d heard about Jubilee Orchards, the Lawton Chiles family farm, but this was the first time seeing it. Following tree-lined, winding roads, the drive itself is not far at all, but I felt like I was in a completely different world when we arrived. I do always experience an instant full breath of relaxation and happiness on farms though.

20160522_145328.jpgThe blueberry picking area was much larger than I thought it would be, with 50 acres of bushes sporting seven different cultivars. They are also currently transitioning 15 acres into a certified organic area. We both agreed that we were up for walking to the outskirts since we figured other people wouldn’t want to walk that far. That was a good decision. We were rewarded with berry-filled bushes20160521_095605.jpg all to ourselves.

One variety called “Farthing” had huge ones. Heh. Even in my big ol’ hands, the berry looked large. CHOMP. They were also deliciously sweet. I filled a good quarter of my bucket with just those. I knew I wanted a good assortment though, not only for fresh snacking, but for pies. Sampling a berry from each plant is pretty much a requirement. Not only from variety to variety, but from plant to plant, the tastes were 20160521_103656.jpgdifferent. Near the end of one section, we found some rows that the name had washed off the sign, so there’s no telling what kind they were, but the berries were all right at the tips of the branches. They looked like sticks of blue candy buttons up there. The fruits were smaller and had a slight kick of sour to them, making them a good pairing with the larger, sweeter “Farthing.”

I filled up with those and two other varieties before calling it a done deal. It was time to pay up and head out before the screeching delight of the childrens overpowered the tranquility of the farm. Heading home, I knew it was time to make the first blueberry pie of the season and I knew where I would get a recipe.

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Four pounds of blueberries later, I was home flipping through the pages of one of the three pie-related books I received as a birthday gift this year–Pie School by Kate Lebo. This is my new favorite cookbook. Actually, it’s the only cookbook I’ve read through. I mean, I really read it. Usually, I find myself skimming through cookbooks looking at the recipes and pictures, but not with this one. She is not only an engaging writer, but she writes about the exact thoughts I have had on baking and tools and the creativity of it all. She is my new spirit animal. But human. Spirit human. Or something.20160522_130655.jpg

Moving on…I was having trouble deciding between two recipes, but decided that since I wanted to make a pie specifically to work on my crust, I would do the Maple Blueberry Pie and maybe do the Blueberry Lemon Verbena Galette another day. I started with gathering the needed ingredients and measuring out how many berries I would need by pouring them right into the pie plate I was going to use. Using my usual pie dough recipe, I threw in a heaping pinch of sugar on recommendation of the book. I just love the look of those chunks of butter in the dough when it’s rolled out. Mmmmm, buttah.

20160522_130517.jpgWhile the dough set in the plate in the fridge, I mixed up the berries with the lemon juice, good quality maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, butter, and flour. In typical fashion, I couldn’t follow the recipe strictly, so I also added a bit of powdered ginger. Poured the mixture into the bottom crust and fitted the top crust, sealing the edges with a fork and cutting proper air vents. Coated the top with an egg-white wash and demerara sugar crystals. So pretty.

Popped that baby blue onto the middle rack of the oven for twenty minutes at 425, then dropped the temp to 375 for another thirty-five minutes. I ended up having to cover the edges with aluminum foil so they didn’t burn, which was quite the ordeal. It had already been in the oven for the first twenty minutes when I realized I needed to do this. Instead of just taking the pie out of the oven to affix the foil, I stupidly thought I could do it quickly while it was still on the rack. Many hot, angry minutes later, I was sweating and filled with rage. I immediately went and ordered myself a pie ring20160522_204358.jpg

The battle with foil paid off with beautiful edges in the end. The fresh-picked berries made
a huge difference for texture and taste. They were perfectly cooked and the spices and syrup balanced each bite deliciously. After cooling for a few hours, the slices even held together pretty well. I was expecting it to be much messier when cut. Paired with a spoonful or two of classic vanilla ice cream, this pie was definitely a win. I will be making this one again before the blueberry season is over.

Simply yumtastic!

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Pie Dough (makes both top and bottom crusts)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 sticks chilled, unsalted butter, cut into half-inch pieces

1/2 cup ice water

Two pinches of salt

1 teaspoon sugar

Whisk the flour with the salt and sugar. Work in the butter until the pieces are about the size of walnuts. Slowly add in the ice water until the dough comes together. You may not need all of the water or you may need a little more. Go slowly. Separate in two, wrap in plastic, and put in the fridge for thirty minutes or so before rolling out.

 

Pie Filling

2 pounds blueberries, about 5 cups (I just pour the fruit into the pie plate to determine)

1/2 cup high-quality maple syrup–don’t skimp on this

Juice from 1/2 of a medium lemon (I used a Meyer Lemon because personal preference)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ginger (my addition)

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter cut into small chunks

5 tablespoons flour

 

Pie Topping

Egg wash, 1 egg white beaten with a splash of water

Demerara sugar

Hello, 2016. Here’s a pie…to start.

You could say I’m fashionably late to this year’s domestic endeavors party. Seeing that it’s the end of April, that might be a slight understatement. Or a massive one. Either way, here we are.

Pie. Of course I’m starting with a pie. Pie4lyfe…or something. Anyway, I was bored at work and clicking around on the internet (just kidding, Debbie, I’m always busy busy bzzzzz) when I paused on a Garden & Gun article about a pie I had previously saved multiple times in different recipe storing apps, because I might not have the best memory, so I need many reminders. It’s called an Atlantic Beach Pie. The ingredient list caught my attention first, and the steps seemed super easy. I’m all over easy, so I was all over this pie.

Lemony desserts have long been the twin flame of my sweet-sensory taste buds’ life. Growing up, my dad would go out and get doughnuts on Saturday mornings from the local place on the edge of our neighborhood. He would come back with an assortment that included a lemon-filled. Nobody would ever grab for or ask for that one. We wanted the chocolate and sprinkles or cinnamon sugars. At some point, I picked up on his possible trickiness, so I tried one of those strange things–instantly hooked on that gooey tart treat. I don’t know whether it was just because I always wanted to be doing whatever my dad was doing or whether I actually liked the taste, but from then on, I’ve always added at least one lemon-filled doughnut to the dozen.

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The Atlantic Beach Pie is a new addition to my lemontastical-dessert addiction. The recipe calls for a half cup of either fresh lemon or lime juice. Or a mix of both. I decided on a mix, doing two large lemons and one smallish lime. The rest of the filling is just egg yolks and a can of sweetened condensed milk. Simple. As usual, I couldn’t follow the straight forward directions, so I started thinking about what other flavor I like with lemon. Thyme.

Any time I can incorporate foods I grow myself into a recipe, I’m on it like my dog on a spoonful of peanut butter. Out to the garden I went to cut some fresh English thyme. One thing I have learned, even if I’m not going to follow the instructions to a T, I do collect and measure out all ingredients ahead of starting any step. 

After gathering everything up and reading the directions just one more time, I got to work on the crust. I think one of the reasons I adore lemon desserts so much is that they are not overly sugar-laden in flavor. The tartness of the citrus brings something more to the tongue, and I appreciate that. Along those same lines, I tend to crave a salty pop to sweetness, which made the idea of a saltine cracker crust very intriguing. I did the full 1 1/2 sleeves of crackers with the higher end of the range of butter, of course, but I cut the sugar to somewhere in between 1 1/2 and 2 tablespoons. Cutting back on sugar is my M.O. Those Wilford Brimley commercials really worked on me–I hear him saying “DIABEETUS” in my mind every time I look at the amount called for in recipes.

Pretty sure I screwed up the intended texture of the crust…and won. The instructions said 20160426_194803.jpgsomething about using a food processor or your hands to break up the crackers finely, but not to dust. Well, those two methods would result in two very different outcomes, if you ask me. I chose hands out of pure laziness of not wanting to dirty up my food processor. I ended up leaving the saltines on the larger chunk side thinking that kneading in the softened stick of butter would break them up further. Didn’t really happen that way, but I went with it. Turned out that the larger cracker pieces held up against the creamy filling and added a welcomed textural experience to each bite. Baked, the crust was golden gorgeous.

Next up was to make the filling. I took the suggestion of mixing fresh lemon as well as lime juice and used two large lemons and one smallish lime to equal the half cup of liquid needed. Mixed in with the sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks, this is when I added my very finely chopped thyme from the garden. I only did one heaping teaspoon of the thyme, figuring it would be enough to tell if I like it, but not enough to completely ruin the pie if it wasn’t right. Turned out the thyme blended splendidly, adding a grounding, earthy flavor to the lightness of the citrus. I’ll probably use closer to a full tablespoon next time.

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After baking it until the filling set, I cooled the pie and put in the fridge until the next morning, since I had planned on bringing it to work. I like sharing my baking trials with coworkers and then hearing them complain about gaining weight… . Anywaaaay, the next morning I got my arm workout with the whipping of the cream for the top.

20160426_071205.jpgFollowed the classic call for heavy whipping cream, granulated sugar, dash of vanilla extract, and a chilled metal bowl and whisk. Boom. Delicious peaks of fluffy goodness to mound up on top of the pie. I like extra whipped cream or meringue on my pies, so did 1 1/2 cups of cream. Again, cut the amount of suggested shug in half.

I‘d say, even with my tweaks, the pie was a success. Not sure why I can’t just follow the instructions given to me, but I know my mom isn’t surprised. I purtied up that pie with some edible violas, which the entire staff avoided by cutting around awkwardly, and a few sprigs of the English thyme on top. The saltiness of the cracker crust with the tartness of the citrus filling and the sweetness of the whipped topping makes for one excellent dessert. This one will definitely be a repeat performance in my pie repertoire.

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For the crust:

1 1/2 sleeves of saltine crackers

1/2 cup softened, unsalted butter

1 1/2-2 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the filling:

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

4 egg yolks

1/2 cup fresh lemon or lime juice (or a mix of both)

fresh thyme, very finely chopped

Whipped cream topping:

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

splash of vanilla extract

Chill the metal bowl and whisk in the freezer for about ten minutes before whipping it real good until peaks form. Do this right before serving; although, mine stood up perfectly fine for over 24 hours.

PIE

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A Super Moon and a Custard Pie

Tonight hosts the final Super Moon of 2015. The third in a succession and the sixth of the year, this one is in the sign of Taurus. I’m a Taurus. I’ve read a bit about Super Moons over the year as they have come around. They are called Super Moons because they come closer to the Earth, so they appear larger. Appearance is not the only difference. Super Moons can also cause higher tides, earthquakes, and a general disorder in nature.

What settles me when life is feeling turbulent? Pie. What does a really big, full moon make me think of? Pie. So for this year’s final Super Moon, and being that it is in my sign, I made a pie.

While I was thinking about the moon and pie, they combined in my mind and I decided I would try my hand at making a custard pie. The simplicity of it intrigued me. Of course, I ended up creating my own version.

Starting with tart pan vs. pie plate, most of the recipes I read were for a custard tart. I, however, wanted to use my new pie plate, so I decided to go that way. You might think that would mean I made a pie dough. Nope. I can’t be that predictable. I went with the simple tart dough recipe I’ve used previously. Not sure whether that was the right call because of their differences, but I do know it comes together quickly and reliably.

After getting the dough into the pie plate, prettifying the edge with a design I’m calling cat-slashed, and setting it in the fridge, I had dinner. Which has nothing to do with the pie making, but this pie actually has a pretty simple process, without a lot of down time and I was hungry. I had sausage and sauteed cabbage with onions and garlic, in case you were wondering. It was good stuff.

Back to the moon pie. It was time to blind bake the crust, so I did that with parchment paper and beans to weight down the crust. About 15 mins. at 375 and then I removed the weight and left it in another 10 minutes until very lightly golden brown. Then it was set aside on cooling rack.

Meanwhile, I put together the custard filling. As the heavy whipping cream was slowly coming to a simmer on the stove top, I whisked together the eggs and sugar. I got distracted cleaning out the eggshells to save for my garden and next thing I know, the cream is not gently simmering, but almost boiling. Whoops.

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Too bad, it was all I had, so I let it calm down a minute before pouring it into the egg/sugar
mixture. Then added the vanilla and nutmeg. The recipes all called for fresh grated nutmeg. Um, I don’t have time for all that during the week, so I used the ground stuff. Poured the custard mixture into the crust, dotted with some softened butter, and sprinkled with some more nutmeg. I, again, did not follow the directions of doing this while it’s already on the oven rack and had to be super careful transferring this liquidy dish to the oven.

wpid-20151027_202704-1.jpgThe times and temps varied among recipes and since I was doing it in a pie plate, I went with a longer time at a lower temp. Ended up taking about 45-50 minutes at 325 before the filling was set and a little bubbly, and the blind baked crust looked perfect. I did not have to protect the edges of the crust during this bake. It smelled delectable coming out of the oven and the bubbling of the custard looked like craters on a yellow moon.

Based solely on appearances, my Super Moon in Taurus custard pie was a success. I’m saving it to bring to work and share, so I will have to wait until tomorrow to see if the flavor is also a win. I’m big on the importance of presentation, which is why I won’t cut into it tonight.

After it cooled, I was pleased to see that unlike fruit-filled pies that settle, this one filled up the crust nicely. I added a few violas from the garden for the color it lacked. Purple is not only my favorite color, but I think it has a sexy quality to it, and this being the moon in Taurus which is ruled by Venus, well…

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Happy Super Moon, y’all. Now go out and get that love!

A good love song to listen to while the pie bakes here.

A good read about what tonight’s Super Moon means here.

 

Tart Dough

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, chilled

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

2-3 tablespoons cold water

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl, cut the butter into cubes and add to flour. Use your fingers to break into the butter until it is crumbly.

Mix the egg with 2 tablespoons of the cold water and whip together. Make a well in the flour and add the beaten egg, mix until the dough holds together. Add the extra tablespoon of water if needed (I needed it).

Roll dough out on floured surface until it’s big enough to fit the tart pan and press in tightly.

Custard Filling

One pint heavy whipping cream

3 large eggs, and

2 large egg yolks

1/4 cup fine sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, plus extra for sprinkling on top

1 tablespoon softened butter

Bring the cream slowly to a gentle simmer.

Whisk the eggs and sugar together. Not too hard, you don’t want bubbles. Then pour in the hot cream. Add the vanilla and nutmeg and whisk a little more.

Sunday Pie Day: Deep Dish Peach

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Today, I officially added pie making to my list of therapeutic activities. I’m not a huge sugar/dessert fiend, I prefer salty/savory foods on the whole, but pie is an exception. If there is a pie around, I will eat it. Regardless of type or time of day, pie trumps cakes, cookies, ice cream, or any other sweet treat for me.

This is only the sixth pie I’ve made, being new to baking, but I’m addicted. I like the way the process slows me down, forces me to be patient. I’ve always loved cooking for the creativity and flexibility of it. You have to keep moving, keep dishes timed and rolling, instinctively knowing measurements because you don’t have time to dilly dally with all that. Working in restaurant kitchens taught me almost everything I needed to know, but it definitely did not teach me patience. Baking is showing me how to slow things down and still be creative.

Summertime is the time for fruit pies, so this Sunday pie day I decided to take on a deep dish peach pie. A few months ago, I found a recipe for a deep dish cherry pie and knew I had to try it because of the crust. It’s all about the crust for me with pies and this recipe called for a 9″ spring form pan to make the pie in. I knew it would be true love when I saw the picture of that thick, flaky crust.

It turned out to be a less than stellar experience. Hours and hours and me with little to no patience. I thought at numerous points that I would just lose it and throw the damn thing out into the yard for the critters. But it ended up being pretty darn good. By the end of it, I had made mental notes on what to do differently and knew I would attempt it again. Since peaches are now in season and abundant here in the south, peach pie it is this time around.

I used this recipe for the crust and this recipe for the peach filling (although I adjusted the sugar amount and added a secret ingredient). I recommend always reading reviews before starting a recipe. There were quite a few important changes suggested in the reviews and those were a big time help.

wpid-wp-1440348463994.jpgFirst things first, the dough. I put the dough together the night before. The dough recipe I used has a lot of butter in it, so it’s very important to chill it between each step. Prepping the dough the night before cut out one of the chill periods, which helped with the patience aspect for me. Once rolled out and pressed into the spring form pan, it went back into the fridge for at least 30 mins., but I just left mine in for as long as it took me to peel, pit, and slice the peaches.

Oh, the peaches. When using these deep dish pans, you need a lot, I mean A LOT,  of fruit to fill it up. I think I ended wpid-wp-1440348466825.jpgup with somewhere between 6-7 pounds of peaches (and probably could have used another pound easily). This is why I stick with fruit that is in season…and usually on sale. The prep of the peaches left my hands achey, but the smell of their sweetness got me through this phase smoothly.

Sugar & spices time. I cut the amount of sugar from the recipe by a quarter cup because I like the natural sweetness and flavor of the fruit to be apparent. Another change I made was to only use brown sugar instead of the mix. I added the fresh lemon juice, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and a secret ingredient…I like to add a little something to each baking recipe to bring in my love of the creativity of cooking to the process.

Meanwhile, the pie crust needs to be par baked. Parchment paper and dried beans, into the oven for 15 mins. at 425 and then another 10 mins. without the beans to get the liquid on the bottom cooked off. While the par-baked pie crust cooled to room temperature, it was time to roll out the extra third of pie dough and cut it into lattice strips for the top.

wpid-wp-1440348458655.jpgWith the pie crust cooled and the lattice strips done, I pulled out the sugared & spiced peaches from the fridge, poured off a little of the liquid, and added the cornstarch. Many of the reviews said to add more cornstarch than the recipe called for, so I added two extra tablespoons. The extra cornstarch helped, but the real trick is to let the pie cool completely after baking, which is the hardest part of the process…waiting to try.

The lattice was brushed with an egg wash and sprinkled with granulated sugar then in went that deep dish peach pie at 425. I put a ring of aluminum foil around the edges so they didn’t overcook and put it on the second to bottom oven rack with a rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack underneath to catch any liquids that dripped out. I learned this the hard way when I smoked out the entire house with the deep dish cherry pie drippings. The recipe called for a baking time of 45 mins., but using a spring form pan, I knew it would have to be longer. I did 50 mins. at 425 and then lowered the temp to 375 for another 30 mins., taking the foil edges off at that time. These deep dish pies are heavy mofos, so be careful when placing in the oven and when taking out.

*Recommended song to play as you’re about to pull this beast out of the oven and fall in love in a big way…Big Lov

And here’s that bad boy fresh out the oven…

wpid-wp-1440357950969.jpgIt didn’t get the full recommended six hours to cool completely, but the extra cornstarch held it together pretty well. Still a bit warm on the inside and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it was delicious. The amount of sugar was perfect to allow the taste of the peaches to carry their own and the crust was buttery and flaky goodness. Another pound or so of peaches would have been nice since they cook down quite a bit and there was some fall to the pie. Really need to pile the fruit above the top of the pan to start. Overall, the people were pleased.

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As summer comes to a close, hopefully soon, I’m thinking next up will be some sort of chocolate pie. The patience that is demanded from this process is good for many aspects of my life from work to writing to gardening. I am definitely a new addict to the art and science of baking. Time to start looking for the next recipe to make my own!