Recipe For Life: Blueberry Peach Pie
A humble pie made with peaches isn’t just a perfect summer dessert, it’s a fitting metaphor for life, and one that career-long food writer Louise Crosby is looking to realize through personal reinvention.
By Louise Crosby
You probably already know that one of the best things about summer is home-made fruit pie. Peach pie, to be specific, although pies made with peaches and blueberries, or peaches and raspberries, are special too. Juicy, sun-ripened peaches only come around once a year, so when I spied a quart from the Niagara region at the local farmers market the other day, I bought it straightaway and headed for the kitchen.
Helping me with this little project was the wonderful Art of the Pie, by Kate McDermott. With detailed instructions on every possible aspect of pie-making, and gorgeous photography by Andrew Scrivani, whose work appears frequently in the New York Times, this is the only book you will ever need on the subject. It covers all the bases, from pie plates and rolling pins to woven lattice tops and glazes that give your pastry a nice shine and golden colour. And then there are the recipes, like this one.
Although Art of the Pie contains recipes for all kinds of pastry, including several gluten-free options, I chose the traditional all-butter dough, a simple combo of unbleached all-purpose flour, salt, butter and ice water. I also bought a new, 9-inch deep-dish pie plate to avoid spillage from the shallower pie plates that I already own.
A few pointers from the book, to help the nervous among us: Keep everything chilled – the dough, the flour, the fat, even the bowl you make your dough in. Handle the dough as little as possible, then chill it to give the gluten strands time to relax. Roll it out quickly so the fats don’t warm up.
Tapioca, along with flour, makes an ideal thickener. It comes in granular form and gives fruit pies a clear glossy filling with no starchy flavour. Just be sure your fruit filling is bubbling nicely when you take the pie out of the oven, otherwise the tapioca may not have dissolved completely.
Most importantly, don’t strive for perfection. So what if your pastry has been patched together, was making the pie a contemplative process for you? Did you feel creative and are you proud of your work? Does it taste good? The love you put into it will come across no matter what.
Please note that this will be my final blog for awhile. In September, I start a full-time, two-year photography course at the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa (spao.ca), and it’s going to keep me busy. But the blog, and the 81 recipes I’ve featured since first posting in December 2013, will still be here should you need to consult. Hopefully I’ll be back eventually with more recipes and some awesome food photography. In the meantime, keep cooking everyone!
Blueberry Peach Pie
2 cups (250 g), about 10 ounces, blueberries, fresh or unthawed frozen
4 cups (450 g), about 1 pound, ripe peaches, halved, pitted, chopped or sliced
½-1 cup (100-200 g) granulated sugar, depending on sweetness of fruit
A small grating of freshly ground nutmeg
⅓ teaspoon (2 g) salt
1 teaspoon (6 g) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon (15 g) Cointreau or other orange liqueur or zest of one orange (optional)
¼ cup (36 g) flour
2 teaspoons (8 g) quick-cooking tapioca
1 recipe double-crust pie dough
½ tablespoon (7 g) butter
1-2 teaspoons (4-8 g) sugar, for sprinkling on top of the pie
1 egg white plus 1 tablespoon (15 g) water, fork beaten
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (22 degrees C).
Put the blueberries, peaches, sugar, nutmeg, salt, lemon juice, optional Cointreau or orange zest, flour and quick-cooking tapioca in a big bowl, and mix lightly until the fruit is coated.
Roll out the bottom dough and place it in your pie pan.
Add the fruit filling and dot with little pieces of butter, if you remember.
Roll out the remaining dough, lay it over the fruit, and cut 5 to 6 vents on top, or cut strips and make a lattice top. Trim excess dough from the edges, and crimp or flute.
Lightly brush some of the egg white wash over the entire pie, including the edges.
Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake for 35 to 40 minutes more. When there are about 10 minutes of bake time left, open the oven, pul the pie out, and quickly and evenly sprinkle the top of the pie with sugar. Look for bubbling juice coming through the vents or latticework.
Remove the pie from the oven and cool completely before serving so the filling can set up.
Makes one 9-inch deep-dish pie.
Traditional All-Butter Dough
2½ cups (363 g) all-purpose flour, unbleached (use dip and sweep method)
½ teaspoon (3 g) salt
14 tablespoons (196 g) salted or unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
½ cup (118 g) ice water plus 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 g) more as needed
Additional flour for rolling out dough
Put all the ingredients but the ice water in a large bowl.
With clean hands, quickly smooth the mixture together, or use a pastry blender with an up and down motion, until the ingredients look like cracker crumbs with lumps the size of peas and almonds. These lumps will make your crust flaky.
Sprinkle ice water over the mixture and stir lightly with a fork.
Squeeze a handful of dough to see if it holds together. Mix in more water as needed.
Divide the dough in half and make two chubby discs about 5 inches (12 centimetres) across.
Wrap the discs separately in plastic wrap, and chill for about an hour.
Photos by Louise Crosby
We at The Ex-Press wish Louise all the best as she cooks up more success behind the camera. Her recipes are dependably delicious, but her images are always stunning. Photographing food — and making it look appetizing — is one of the toughest assignments there is, and she makes it look effortless. We can’t wait to see what she captures outside the kitchen. Thank you, Louise, for the constant inspiration, the food, and the food for thought. In the meantime, feed your urge for more by clicking here for more delicious recipes from Louise, check out KitchenonFourth.com or stay tuned for more from Louise here in The Ex-Press as she begins a whole new journey.
“Most importantly, don’t strive for perfection. So what if your pastry has been patched together, was making the pie a contemplative process for you? Did you feel creative and are you proud of your work? Does it taste good? The love you put into it will come across no matter what.”
THE EX-PRESS.COM, July 31, 2017