tastes of summer and baby cheekage ::::
We are winding down the season of some stone fruit varieties here in California. This time signals a time of change for me, too: school preparation for Peach, my maternity leave is winding down sadly (I love my job but I can’t bear to part with such a small baby at this point), and the nights lusciously cool and crisp.
We are part of the Frog Hollow Happy Child CSA for much of our fruit fix this year, the boxes often burgeoning with stone fruit. Most recently, I was inundated with peaches and nectarines. And the hot weather relented enough that turning on the oven wasn’t going to irritate the others in the house. I have made the fruit leather, cooked the compote, and eaten my weight in the succulent fruit, only to realize that there has been no pie. I’m here today to rectify that.
My first memories of peach pie are not actually of the pie itself but my mother saying “peach pie, please!” while squishing my baby sister’s cheeks to midline, as if the baby was speaking. Whenever there was a baby in the family or friends with a new sibling, the “peach pie” game was something we couldn’t resist trying. It was the alliteration that made it so funny, as well as the lip sync silliness of a baby asking for pie. For years I associated peach pie with this game, and didn’t actually taste some peach pie until I was teenager I think. I don’t think it was of high quality, likely a canned fruit concoction, because it wasn’t very memorable.
But today’s pie is much more memorable. The fresh peaches, the pops of blueberries, the swirl or orange and purple together, and the summery tang of it all — there is nothing better than this for a celebration of summer.
I can even practice some cheek squishing on Baby Sky-Girl now, even with a memorable pie. Win-win!
One year ago: daisy cake (so pretty!)
Two years ago: danube salad
- PIE CRUST (This is basically my perfect whole-wheat pie crust recipe doubled, and salt adjusted):
- 2 cups white flour
- 1½ cups whole-wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, in a small dice
- ½ cup shortening
- 10-14 tablespoons ice water
- FILLING: almost 3 pounds of ripe peaches (Suncrest peaches and Flavor Top nectarines work well here. The peaches are a firm and juicy variety. The nectarines are a little more tangy than the peaches and hold up well for grilling and if sliced.)
- 1 cup fresh blueberries (or thawed frozen berries)
- ½ cup to ⅔ cup sugar (It depends on how sweet your peaches are -- I used a heaping ½ cup.)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice
- ⅛ teaspoon coriander
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
- 2 tablespoons and ½ teaspoon cinnamon for sprinkling on crust before baking
- CRUST: Mix flours, sugar, and salt together.
- Add butter and toss until just coated with flour mixture.
- Rub butter between thumb and forefingers to incorporate into flour mixture, so that the butter-flour mix looks crumbly and is about the size of chickpeas. It will clump when squeezed in your palm. (Alternatively, you can gently pulse the ingredients in a food processor.)
- Add shortening, toss to coat, then rub it into the flour mixture until the mixture forms pea-sized pieces. It will also come together in fist-sized clumps when squeezed in your palm. (Again, you can use a food processor here.)
- Slowly drizzle in about 2 tablespoons of ice water and mix into butter-shortening-flour mixture to moisten. Add a little more water, gently mixing to moisten so dough is moist but not wet. Do not overwork the dough in this step, or your dough will be tough!
- Gather into ball, flatten into two disks, and wrap each with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before rolling out and using.
- FILLING: Wash and slice peaches into sixths or eighths. Combine the slices with the blueberries in a medium bowl.
- In a small bowl, mix together sugar, spices, flour, and cornstarch. Pour the sugar mixture over the fruit and toss gently. Stir in lemon juice. Place this bowl in the fridge while working with the crust.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place a baking sheet on the rack below where the pie will bake; this will catch any overflow juices from the pie while baking.
- Roll out one pie disk to a 11-inch to 13-inch round (this will depend if you are using a standard 9-inch pie pan or a deeper pan). Keep the dough cool if possible; if it warms too much, then your dough will be tough. Place rolled-out round into pie dish and place into fridge while rolling out next pie dough round to another 11-inch to 13-inch round. It the rolled out dough cracks and breaks, no worries. Just patch up the breaks.
- Remove bottom crust/pie dish from fridge and gently pour fruit filling into dish. Carefully remove the top crust from the work surface and drape over fruit in pie dish. Again, if the dough breaks, just patch up. Don't be fussy.
- Trim the crust, then press and crimp. Cut 6 small slits in the top of the crust so the fruit juices and steam can vent while baking. Brush lightly with beaten egg and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for 45 to 50 more minutes. The pie is done when the crust is browned and golden and juices are bubbly. Cool to lukewarm to room temperature before serving. Stores well in the fridge for about 4 days.