Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Peachy Keen for Pie

I've been feeling a bit homesick lately.  I find that I usually turn to cooking dishes from home to help me through those feelings.  The brisket we smoked this weekend definitely helped, but so did the peach blueberry pie.

July is usually the sweetest month for peaches in the Hill Country of Texas.  If I were back in Texas now, I would have already gone peach picking and made a ridiculous number of peach dishes.  And, I would have made myself sticky with all the sweet peachy juice.  Mmmm.

According to Texas media sources, the area's favorable fall and winter conditions, paired with no late killing frosts or harsh thunderstorms, have resulted in the best peach crop in years in the Texas Hill Country.  The peaches harvested in the Hill Country are known for truly exceptional taste and quality. The perfect combination of sandy soil, optimal moisture, warm days, and cool nights create a special flavor that folks travel from far and wide to experience.  There is nothing like a fresh-picked Hill Country peach!  I hope you can try one someday, but in the meantime, enjoy the fresh-picked peaches in your area.

Peach Blueberry Pie
Makes one 9 1/2 inch deep dish, double-crust pie

For crust:
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup Crisco
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup ice water

I cube the butter right out of the refrigerator and place in a bowl with Crisco and flour. I then place this bowl in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes. It is important to keep the ingredients and dough cold.  Then, I use my pastry cutter to blend until it is consistency of pea-sized crumbs.

Drizzle on the ice water and stir with a fork until crumbs are moistened and it is starting to clump together.

Press the dough into a ball and divide into two pieces, one slightly smaller than the other (that will be top pie crust). Flatten into disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.

For filling:
4 cups of fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup cornstarch

Mix peaches and blueberries with sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch.  Taste.  You may want to add more sugar, if it is too tart for you.  I usually err on the side of less sugar so as to allow the fresh fruit taste to come through.  Plus, I usually serve pie with ice cream that adds some sweet. You may also want to add more cornstarch if your peaches are particularly juicy.  Let it sit while you make the crust and you can judge before putting it in the crust.

When ready to create your pie, roll out the larger circle of dough on a floured surface until it is about 1/8 inch in thickness and around 13 inches in diameter.  This is the bottom pie crust for your 9 1/2 inch deep dish pie pan.

Pour the fruit filling into the crust.  Roll out the second round of pie dough now.  You can roll it into a circle a little smaller in diameter that the last one to cover the pie completely.  Or, you can roll it out into a rectangle and cut strips to weave into a lattice.  Or, you can roll it out into a rough shape and use cookie cutters to cut shapes and lay on top of the fruit.  Be creative.  This time I rolled the dough into a circle about 11 inches in diameter and used two sized star-shaped cookie cutters to cut designs into it.  Then, lay it on top of the filling and seal edges.

Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F oven for 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/4 hours until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown.

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