Monday, September 20, 2010

The Great Pie in the Sky

As a kid I always remember gatherings with my mom's side of the family involving a pie at some point.  I think it was because my great grandmother always made them.  She literally had at least two or three of them sitting waiting for us when we would visit.  Her pie was the stuff of legends, and every time I make one I think of her..........the way she looked, the way her house smelled, and the fact she would always serve her pie with some fresh cream and a sprinkle of sugar.   She usually didn't traffic in any of the cream pie varieties.  She preferred the fruit pies, and of course mincemeat pie, which is, actually, kinda gross if you ask me (no offense if you love it).  That being said, when I decided to post a pie recipe I grew a little anxious, and quite frankly a little sad since that would require me to share her pie crust recipe, which was passed down to my mom, and then to me.  This crust was one of the first things I learned how to cook, and while it might be just pie to anyone else, it is sacred to me. 
But.....on the flip side it is delicious, and therefore worth sharing.  And I have to say it always results in the best pie crust (believe me, I've tried plenty), and since pie is generally overlooked in the culinary world I want to revitalize it, since it is fall and all the best apples and pears are just begging to be slaughtered in the name of....well.....pie!  And crisps, and cobblers, and tarts, and butters, and......I must stop myself for f#$! sake.
I however in this case decided to capitalize on the last of the local white peaches and blackberries that were at the and pear slaughter will happen, oh yes, yes it will.

Peach and Blackberry Pie

Deliah Bystrom's Crust Recipe:
3 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup chilled vegetable shortening (I know, I know, not very foodie of me, but it makes the crust tender, believe me)
1 cup cold butter diced
1 egg lightly beaten
1 tablespoon white vinegar
5-6 tablespoons ice water

4 cups peaches, peeled and sliced
2 cups fresh blackberries
11/2 to 2 cups of sugar (you may need to adjust this based on how sweet the fruit is)
1/2 cup of flour
11/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter diced

2 tablespoons heavy cream
cinnamon and sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  For the crust place flour, butter, and shortening in a bowl.  With a pastry cutter cut the butter and shortening into the flour until it resembles a coarse meal.  You can use a food processor to do this but I prefer to do this by hand.  Drizzle the egg over the flour mixture and incorporate using a fork.  Add the vinegar and 3 tablespoons ice water and incorporate.  Add additional ice water a tablespoon at a time just until the dough comes together but isn't too tacky.  Divide the dough into two portions and pat the portions into two disks.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate while you prepare the filling, about 20 minutes.  You know that you'll have a great crust if you can see flecks of butter and shortening in the dough, if you see that you didn't over mix it and you deserve a glass of wine ;)

While the crust is resting combine the peaches, flour, sugar and cinnamon until well combined.  For the pie, don't choose fruit that is too ripe, it will make your pie too watery.  Pick fruit that is just turning ripe, you'll get the good fruit flavor without all the liquid.  If you're fruit seems a little lacking in the juice department cut back on the flour a little bit.  Now add the vanilla and the blackberries, stirring gently to prevent the berries from breaking up.  Set the filling aside
Take one of the pastry disks out of the refrigerator and place on a well floured surface.  Roll the dough out into an 18 inch disk, or until the pastry is about an 1/8th of an inch thick.  Trim the edges with a pairing knife and roll the pastry onto the rolling pin and drape over a 9-inch pie plate.  Trim the pastry so you have about an inch hanging over the side.  Fill the pastry with the peach filling, dot with butter and sprinkle with some additional sugar. 

Now take the second disk out and repeat the rolling process.  Drape the pastry over the filling and trim the edges to match the length of the bottom crust. To seal the crust grab the overhanging pastry and pinch it together.  Fold the pastry to form a simple ring around the pie and then either crimp the edges or use a fork to score the crust.  To crimp, simply put push the dough with your index finger between your other index finger and thumb.
After you have sealed the crust do a few small cuts on the top to allow steam to escape and brush the crust with the heavy cream.  Dust the crust with cinnamon and sugar, and then place the pie onto a cookie sheet (juice catcher).  Wrap the crust with foil, which helps prevent overcooking the crust before the filling is done, and place in the oven.  Bake the pie for about 45 minutes, remove the foil, then bake until the crust is golden and you can see the filling bubbling through the steam cuts, about another 20-25 minutes.

So if that doesn't give you pie fever I don't know what will!  Hopefully you take this crust recipe, and make it your own family secret.....and I am quite sure my great grandmother will be smiling at that.

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