Friends, it's that time of year, when Mother Nature challenges us to work as quickly and creatively as possible with the bounty she offers us through seasonal foods.
I know it's been a while. I've been on vacation to two separate places (LBI, Outer Banks) and working hard on trying to keep apace with my cookbook, which feels like a never-ending battle. Oh! You didn't know? I'm working on a cookbook called Tasting Pennsylvania, and it's going to be published in spring 2018 by Far Country Press. But the one thing to get me away from recipe acquisition and testing is the opportunity to make a peach pie.
It started with peaches, as it often does in the middle of summer, but I realized I had some local black raspberries and some organic cherries, too. Berries and stone fruits are ready at the same time and therefore they all taste good together. Doesn't that make life easy? It's no accident, that I can tell you.
If you have never made pie crust, please do not be afraid to do so. It's incredibly forgiving to work with, as long as you work gently and quickly.
- 1/2 cup plus 6 T. very cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 T. sugar, optional
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 small cup ice water, very cold
- 6 cups sliced peaches
- 2 cups black raspberries
- 1 cup cherries, pitted
- 2 T. granulated sugar
- Juice of a small lime
- 1 1/4 cups plus 2 T. all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- Pinch of salt
In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of cubed butter, flour, sugar and salt together using your fingers, a fork, or pastry cutter. (You can also do this in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse a half dozen times or so.) Your mixture should resemble a coarse meal with pea-sized pieces of butter (or slightly larger) scattered throughout.
Add the ice water, a tablespoon or so at a time, until the dough comes together and begins to form a ball—you don't want it too wet. Add just enough moisture so that it stays together. If you're using the food processor, you'll want to add the water slowly through the chute and pulse until the dough starts to peel away a bit from the sides of the bowl. Remove from the bowl, tidy it up into a ball, and press it down slightly so that it forms a flattened ball; this step will make it easier to roll out. Cover in plastic wrap and chill at least an hour or up to overnight.
In a medium bowl, bring together the peaches through cherries, and toss in the sugar and lime juice to evenly distribute. Add 2 T of the flour and stir to coat.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 1/4 cup flour, brown sugar, salt and ginger. Add in the remaining 6T of butter and cut in with a pastry cutter, your finger or forks to create a coarse meal.
Remove the dough from the fridge and bring it to room temperature for at least an hour so it's easier to work with.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it reaches about 10-12 inches in diameter. Transfer the dough to a waiting pie plate and press it into place. It's always better to roll it a little larger than you think to leave room to flow the crust over the top and pinch it back to adjust, leaving no air pockets between the crust and the plate.
Add pie weights or beans on top of the pie crust and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until the edges become lightly browned. Remove from the oven and add the fruit filling, taking care to make a mound in the middle. Finally, evenly sprinkle the crumb crust over top. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes, and then reduce the temperature to 350°F for 30-35 minutes, until the pie is golden brown and bubbling.
Remove from the oven to cool completely, which will take a couple of painstaking hours. This pie keeps best in the fridge, covered.