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Here in Southern California we’re right smack dab in the middle of peach season. I know this because I can buy a metric ton of peaches at the farmer’s market for a roll of toilet paper and a half a pack of Camel lights. Or at least that would be the currency if we were making pie in prison. In reality organic peaches are currently $2.75/lb at the farmer’s market. So about 1/2 of a decent IPA at a mid range bar.

In any case. Cheap fruit! Must buy enormous quantities and eat before it rots and/or attracts fruit flies which, along with their cousins the ants, are the bane of humankind. At least in the kitchen. So what to do with a surfeit of wonderful fruit? Well you could make jam but that requires jars and stuff. You could eat them raw but that doesn’t require any kind of recipe or significant effort so it wouldn’t be really useful as a blog post and as such you can be relatively confident that we are not blogging about eating peaches. But what about a kick ass pie? My grandmother used to make a kick ass pie but she’s not around anymore to share the recipe so I called around and everyone in my family said some variation on “Oh! Grandma’s peach pie! I remember that. It was awesome. But no, I don’t have the recipe, sorry. If you find it, do me a favor and send it to me?” With that in mind, I started messing with pie recipes. After a bit of trial and error I think I have a respectable facsimile of grandma’s peach pie.  It has the same wonderful soupy mess of a filling and I have managed to pull off a scratch crust and a lattice top … now we’re talking. Hey, why are you running away? Because I said “scratch crust”? No need to be afraid. It’s really a piece of cake. Actually, it’s easier than a cake.

Equipment:

  • Food processor (you can do this without a food processor but then it is a real pain in the ass)
  • Big bowl
  • 9″ Pie plate, preferably glass or ceramic, not crappy tin foil
  • Paring knife (a chef’s knife also comes in handy for cutting up butter but it’s not necessary)
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Rolling pin
  • Pizza cutter
  • Brush
  • Rimmed half sheet pan

Ingredients:

  • Pie Crust
    • 2 cups all purpose flour + more for working surfaces
    • 4 teaspoons sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
    • 2 sticks (1/2 lb) really cold, unsalted butter cut into 1/2″ or so cubes.
    • 1/4 cup cold water
  • Pie filling
    • 4-5 ripe peaches
    • 1/3 cup flour
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 stick (1/4/ lb) unsalted butter
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup Turbinado sugar

Time: Minimum of about 2.5 hours total with about 20 minutes of activity.

Yield: 1 pie. 8 servings for normal people if you can find 8 normal people.

Instructions:

  1. Pie crust
    1. Put your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt) in the food processor and give them a few pulses to mix them up.
    2. Add the butter and shortening and do the “a few pulses” thing again until you have something that resembles coarse sand.
    3. Pour the water in while allowing the processor to run.
    4. Keep processing until it starts to stick together.
    5. Dust a flat surface with flour and pour out the contents of the processor.
    6. Squish the mixture together to form a ball. Don’t screw around with it too much because you don’t want to overwork the dough.
    7. Form the dough into a log and cut it into two pieces of roughly 1/3 and 2/3 of the total. The 2/3 piece will be the bottom crust and the 1/3 will be used to make the lattice on top.
    8. Put each piece in a ziplock bag and pop them in the fridge for at least a half hour. You could actually do this well in advance but probably best to not let it sit in there for more than a day or so.
    9. First of all, wash the food processor bowl, blade, etc. because you’re gonna need them in a bit.
  2. Pie filling (You can wait to do this part up to about 1.5 hours before you want to serve the pie)
    1. Slice the peaches
      1. Cut each peach in half. Start at the top, follow the little indent down the side and then come back up the other side.
      2. Twist the cut peach which should reveal the pit sitting there
      3. Remove the pit and cut each half into six slices. Try to make the slices even so that they cook evenly.
      4. Put the pieces in the big bowl.
      5. Slice the next peach the same way.
    2. Put the sugar, butter, and flour into the food processor.
    3. Add vanilla as you pulse until you get something that resembles wet sand but tastes a whole lot better.
  3. Pie assembly
    1. Preheat the oven to 350º (175 C)
    2. Lightly flour your work surface
    3. Take the pie dough out of the fridge
    4. Roll the large piece of dough out until it is a disc about 12″ across
    5. Lay the dough in the pie plate (I find it’s easiest to do this by rolling it loosely around the rolling pin and then unrolling it into the pie plate) and press it gently until it’s down into the corners. If you’re an overachiever you can use pie weights or a bag of beans to flatten it down but I haven’t found that to be necessary.
    6. Trim any excess hanging over the edge of the pie plate and set it aside
    7. Put a layer of peach slices in the pie
    8. Sprinkle with about 1/3 of the sugar/butter/vanilla/flour goo
    9. Add another layer of peach slices
    10. Sprinkle with about 1/3 of the sugar/butter/vanilla/flour goo
    11. Add another layer of peach slices and try to make this one higher at the center
    12. Sprinkle with the last of the sugar/butter/vanilla/flour goo
    13. Make the lattice
      1. Combine the dough trimmings with the smaller ball of dough
      2. Roll them into a hot dog shape and then flatten that to make something kind of rectangle-ish
      3. Using the pizza cutter (or a knife if you don’t have a pizza cutter) cut the dough lengthwise into 3/4″ wide strips
      4. Weave the strips on top of the pie to make the lattice (see video)
    14. Using the brush, paint the lattice with the heavy cream
    15. Sprinkle the Turbinado sugar evenly on top
    16. Put the pie plate on the half sheet pan and pop it in the oven for 45 minutes or until the top is a light, golden brown
    17. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes at the minimum
    18. Eat! This is a pretty soupy pie so it’s best to eat as much of it as you can right away since it’s not so great the next day. Goes really well with vanilla ice cream if you’re an a la mode kind of person.

Live from the album 5 by Lenny Kravitz available on iTunes.