I've been going through some stuff. When I'm not feeling like myself, and having to lean on friends and family more than usual, cooking grounds me and reminds me of who I am again. There is such comfort in putting together simple elements and turning them into great food. It's a sort of alchemy.
|You can't lose with peaches like these.|
I had been having a losing streak with pie crusts before this one. But my mom happened to be in town, so I asked her to give me a lesson, since she is the queen of predictably delicious and flaky pie crusts. Sometimes you just need to watch a master at work.
So I got myself this beautiful new enameled deep-dish pie plate, 5 pounds of ripe peaches from the market, and this lattice-top how-to from the August issue of Bon Appetit. Oh my goodness. If I had only known how easy it was to accomplish this wonderful, so-super-fancy-looking top, I would have been doing it forever. You must try it.
I mean, look at that! Who wouldn't want to take that to a Labor Day party?
adapted from Bon Appetit, August 2011
I used my brand-new shiny 10.5-inch deep dish pie plate, but this recipe will work in a standard 9-inch one. Just use a little less fruit, but leave everything else the same.
For the crust:
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Combine flour, half of butter, shortening, salt and sugar in bowl of a food processor. Process until ingredients are well incorporated. Add remaining butter, and pulse a few times, until the remaining butter is in pea-sized pieces (this is the secret to the flakiness). Add apple cider vinegar and a few tablespoons of ice water and process in short pulses until the water is incorporated, adding one tablespoon at a time and continuing to pulse until the dough comes together in a cohesive ball on the blade. Be very patient, allowing each tablespoon to completely incorporate before adding more. The exact amount of water you'll need will differ each time you make it. Remove from the processor and divide in half. Shape each half into a disc about 5 inches in diameter, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the filling.
For the filling:
5 pounds fresh ripe peaches (or other ripe stone fruit), pitted and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
1/2-cup plus 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
5 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 large egg, beaten to blend
Place peach slices into a large bowl, and sprinkle with sugar. Toss to coat, and let sit at room temperature for an hour. Strain liquid out into a bowl. Whisk together 1/4 cup of reserved liquid with cornstarch and nutmeg, and pour back over the peaches, tossing to coat.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out half of the dough into a circle on a floured surface, working patiently and starting from the outsides of the disk, repairing small cracks as you go along. It should be about 1/8-inch thick. Gently roll the crust up onto the rolling pin and place it into the pie plate. Pour the prepared peaches into the bottom crust. Roll second crust into a 14-inch circle, and use a pizza wheel or sharp knife to cut it into 1-inch strips. Using half the dough, arrange parallel strips over the surface of the pie. Working one half at a time. lift up every other strip and place a new strip perpendicular to the others. Replace them over the new strip, and continue until the whole pie is covered in lattice. Trim edges of strips, and fold overhang of bottom crust over. Crimp edges decoratively.
Place pie onto a baking sheet that is lined with parchment, and bake for 20 minutes at 400. Decrease the heat to 350 and bake for another 40 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the crust is deeply browned. Allow to cool completely before serving.