A Vintage Recipe Box + The Peach Truck = Summer Peach Pies

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A few weeks ago  I was rummaging around in an antique mall and found an old recipe box (see below) with each recipe carefully written out in old-fashioned beautiful “Cursive”. As you can see the box has been mended with tape multiple times and bears all the tell-tale signs of being much used. I fell in love with it.

Don’t you think it is beautifully interesting?  Whose was it?  Why does some daughter or son not have it in their kitchen right now? Whoever you are, or were, your recipe box is going to be well taken care of.

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As I was looking through the recipes I noticed something interesting when it came to the desserts…cakes, pies, puddings. They all call for about half as much sugar as what I am used to seeing in newer recipes. Perhaps this was just particular to the owner of this box, perhaps someone in the family needed to watch their sugar intake, or maybe these dessert recipes are from a time where our palates had not become so used to “sugar overload”? I wanted to try this recipe for “Peach Pie (Fresh)” because it just sounded so simple and “fresh”.

This same week I had purchased my first bag of “The Peach Truck” Georgia peaches (featured in the Summer Issue of “Sweet Paul” magazine) at the Downtown Nashville Farmer’s Market. I left them in the bag for a few days to ripen. A great pair…this recipe & the ripe peaches!

The Peach Truck Peaches

What you will need to make  this “Peach Pie (Fresh)”

6-8 fresh ripe peaches

1/2 cup raw sugar or white sugar + extra for dusting on top of the finished pie

1 pie crust for a double crust pie – 1 to line the pan + 1 for the lattice top (I used a wonderful slightly sweet pie dough recipe based on one found in Alisa Huntsman’s cookbook “Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe”(see end of blog for directions for this wonderful crust which I highly recommend.)  If you do not “make pie crusts” then use a store-bought one dusted with a bit of powdered sugar.

Before we make the pie I am going to show you the easiest way in the world to peel a peach……

peach peeling
Cut an “X” in the bottom of each peach.
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Gently drop peaches into softly boiling water.
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Remove peaches from simmering water after about 2 minutes & quickly plunge into ice water.
Peeling peaches
Using your fingers gently peel back peach skin from the bottom of each peach where you made the “X”. The skin will slip right off with just a bit of coaxing.

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Now we will make our basic lattice topped “Peach Pie (Fresh)”.

1. Roll out and fit one of the pie crusts into the bottom of 8 or 9 inch regular pie pan somewhat “fluting” the sides if you like. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Cut peaches into wedges away from the pit & place in a bowl. You should about 6 cups of cut-up peaches for this pie.  Add 1/ 2 cup white granulated sugar as the recipe calls for or raw sugar if you prefer. Toss the peaches & sugar together.

raw sugar

3. Fill bottom pie crust with sugared peaches & their juice.

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4. Roll out 2nd/top crust to make the lattice. Cut into random strips with a sharp knife. Place the strips over the top of the peaches weaving them over and under each other  in opposite directions. I do not even try to make my “lattice” tops perfect but a bit more artful and random which I think is prettier. As you may have guessed I am not a lover of perfection, just things that are perfectly, beautifully not perfect.

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5. Tuck ends of lattice strips under the bottom crust edge and re-flute.

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6. Place the uncooked pie on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Dust with some additional sugar if desired, pop in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Turn oven down to 350 and cook for another 30 minutes or until the peaches are hot and bubbly and the crust is golden brown and crispy. Serve warm as is or with a scoop of ice cream.

Wedge of peach pie

Okay, now let me tell you a couple of things about this recipe. It was indeed not icky sweet nor “gloopy” as fruit pies can sometimes turn out with too much cornstarch. The bottom crust was not soggy, the top crust was flakey and over all this pie tasted like I think a peach pie should taste. This is how a fruit pie should taste…like the ripe fruit used complementing a flakey crust & just enough sugar to call it dessert. No soggy crust or gloopy-ness!

Here are a few other variations on this peach pie recipe I made with the extra dough…

“A Wee Fresh Peach & Blueberry Pie”

Made the same way with the addition of fresh blueberries & a cookie cutter cut out crust top in a little 6″ pie pan.

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and…..”A Very, Very Wee Fresh Peach Pie”

Just fresh sugared peaches, pie crust leftovers rolled out in a 3 inch tartlet pan.

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And here is how to make this very good pie crust. Thanks Alisa!

Here is my version of Alisa’s pie crust:

1. Measure 2 1/2 cups flour + 1/2 cup confectioner sugar into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a couple of times.

2. Cut 1 1/2 stick of butter into small cubes & freeze for 5 minutes. Then sprinkle over the flour-sugar mixture & pulse a few times to mix in.

3. To the processor add 3 cold egg yolks & pulse again 3 or 4 times to blend somewhat.

4. To bring it all together drizzle 1/4 to 1/2 cup cold buttermilk or regular milk over the flour mixture through the feed tube of the processor until a dough ball begins to form. Remove dough & form into 4 dough balls flattened. Wrap each one with plastic & chill for 10 minutes before rolling out to make your pie crust.

Oh no!!!! we are finished yet…here’s a few tips for fitting your wonderful crust into your pie pan. Roll it, fold it in half…

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…fold again…..place in pie pan with the point in the center….

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…unfold the same way you folded…..

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…flute or not,  & fill.

Spider: [eating the peach] Mmmmm. Better than ladybugs.

Ladybug: What?

Spider: Excuse me.

Earthworm: It’s not dirt…

[takes a bite of the peach]

Earthworm: But it’s not bad.

(from “James and the Giant Peach”

 

 

Blackberry Pie on the 4th of July

4th of July Blackberry Pie

So far 2012 has been a year of pies for me. Just go over to my Pinterest board “Pie, Pie for the 4th of July” if you don’t believe me. Savory & Sweet pies. Little & Big pies. Free-form pies & fried pies.

Are you aware this is National Pie week? If you have tuned in to NPR at all I am sure you know this by now. Every day this week some wonderful stories & lots of pie history.

My favorite berry, the Blackberry, arrived ripe & juicy at the Downtown Nashville Farmer’s Market  this past week.

My goal? To bake a pie for the simple joy of it. I wanted to honor the history of pie using an antique pie tin I love, fresh local blackberries using very little sweeteners & an easy pie crust recipe. I wanted my pie to look….historical…not fancy, not over filled & embellished. This is my very easy to make recipe for “4th of July Blackberry Pie”.

Ingredients:

Sweet Pie Crust/Pate Sucree pre-made for a bottom & top crust (I used Martha Stewart’s basic recipe for Pate Sucree found in all her books & on-line) or any pre-made pie crust you prefer

1 to 2 quarts ripe, juicy blackberries

1/2 cup sorghum molasses

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp crunchy sanding sugar

Flour for dusting work surface

1 egg yolk + 3 tbsp cream or milk whisked together for glazing crust

Instructions:

1. Here is how easy it is to transfer a rolled out pie crust into a pie pan….first roll dough out into a circle larger than the pie pan, fold in half & then again…

…place point of folded dough in center of pie pan..unfold once & once again. Press dough into pan.  Easy.

2. Rinse & gently pat berries dry with paper towels. Put berries in a mixing bowl. Drizzle sorghum & balsamic vinegar over berries and gently toss to coat.. Pour berries into bottom crust.

3. To make a lattice top, roll 2nd crust out into another circle larger than the pie pan. Cut dough into strips using a decorative cutter or knife about 1″ wide.

4. There are many ways to make a “lattice” pie crust. You can “weave” the strips of dough in and out of each other  making a basket weave,  or just simply lay strips over filling first one direction & then the other. Strips can be close to each other or spaced with larger opening like I did with this pie. I didn’t want to hide the berries under lots of crust.  Trim edges of both bottom & top crusts & turn under edges pressing to seal.

5. Brush dough with the egg-cream mixture generously. Sprinkle sanding sugar over all. Place in refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

6. Bake for about 30 minutes until berries are hot & bubbly and crust in golden brown. Remove & allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving. Very good warm or at room temp. With ice cream or not.

Keep it simple, keep it good. Stay cool. Happy 4th.