Shopping these last few weeks at the Farmer’s Market, I was serially intoxicated by the aroma of peaches from one stand after another. Especially with extra warm days, the scent of fruit encourages binge sniffing.
With the snap of a plastic bag, shoppers began their hunt for the best of the bunch—nostrils pulsed with the fruity perfume, fingers caressed the fuzzy skin to ID candidates with the right firmness. Some wanted to capture this touchstone of summer in a scrumptious dessert. Others sought immediate gratification and snap their first bite of the fruit, juices exploding.
Ever since the crust debacle during prep for the Pie Party, I’ve been itching to refine my recipe. Ripe peaches encased in a flakey pie crust are one of summer’s top pleasures, so the timing was right. If I needed more encouragement, M lit when I mentioned the pending pie.
The next step was to break a bit from tradition. Peaches can get a boost from another in-season fruit—blueberries. They form a natural pair with complimentary colors, textures, and flavors that fit perfectly with that pie crust.
Whoever coined the term the phrase “easy as pie” must have had something other than baking in mind. While my fear of taking on this challenge has definitely lessened, it still requires persistence to perfect a pie crust. It’s worth it though for even one taste of this summer pie, whether the crust has a rustic flair or formally fluted.
Peach n Blueberry Pie
yield: 8 servings
FLAKEY PIE DOUGH
Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12-1/2 ounces), plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter (6 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening , cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup vodka, cold
1/4 cup cold water
1. Process 1-1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor, pulse to combine. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining 2 cups flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 6 to 8 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together.
3. Divide dough into two balls, in 3:2 ratio (one slightly larger than the other). Flatten larger dough into 4-inch disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Roll smaller dough into a log, about 1-1/2 inch in diameter, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to use.
PEACH BLUEBERRY FILING
6-8 medium peaches, ripe but still firm, about 6 cups
1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed, picked over and dry
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 cup granulated sugar, or more depends on sweetness of fruits
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3-4 tablespoons ground instant tapioca (pulverized Minute Tapioca in spice grinder)
Granulated sugar for sprinkling, 1-2 tablespoon (optional)
1. Roll out refrigerated dough into a 12-inch circle on generously floured work surface. Transfer dough to a 9-inch pie plate. Working around circumference of pie plate, ease dough into pan corners by gently lifting dough edges with one hand while pressing around pan bottom with other hand. Using kitchen shears, trim overhanging, leaving 1/2-inch overhang. Fold dough under itself so that edge of fold is flush with outer rim of pie plate. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger. Chill in freezer until ready to use.
2. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 425℉, Prepare an ice bath and a pot of boiling water. Score a small x at the base of each peach with a paring knife and blanch in boiling water until their skins loosen, about 2 minutes. Use a slotted skimmer, remove peaches to ice bath and let stand to stop cooking, about 1 minute. Remove peaches from ice bath and pat dry.
3. Starting from the scored x, peel each peach, halve and pit it, then cut into wedges. Toss peach wedges, lemon juice, 1 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and ground tapioca (3 tablespoons for moderately juicy peaches, 4 tablespoons for very juicy ones) in medium bowl.
4. Remove prepared rolled out pie dough from freezer and turn mixture into dough-lined pie plate. Remove dough log from freezer, grate log with large hole on box grater on top of peach-blueberry filling. Lightly brush grated pie-dough with ice water and sprinkle with granulated sugar, if use. Place pie on baking sheet and bake until crust is set and begins to brown, about 25 minutes. Rotate pie and reduce oven temperature to 375℉; continue to bake until crust is deep golden brown and filling is bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes longer. Cool on wire rack 2 hours before serving.
1. This pie dough is very forgiving, use up to 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour to roll out the dough.
2. You can alternately divide pie dough into 2 equal size disc and roll top crust in the conventional way.