OREGON, July 2, 2013 ― It happens to the best of us. You find the invitation to the 4th of July block party buried in the mail. You forgot what day of the week it is, and only just now realized that the 4th is not on Friday where any accommodating holiday locates itself, but is actually on Thursday. Help is here.
While there is nothing more American than apple pie, a peach pie, decked out like Old Glory, will be just as patriotic and well received as any pie ever could be. And this recipe uses ingredients you probably have on hand, starting with that can of cling peaches.
This recipe is for all of the single parents out there. Maybe you are a newly single mom celebrating independence from abuse. Maybe you are not single, but you live that way because your life happens in hitches while your significant other is away for a month at a time working off shore in Qatar on an oilrig.
You could be like my friend whose husband commutes a couple states over because that is where the job is.
Or maybe your other half is overseas serving in the military, sacrificing so that we can enjoy our freedom and our independence from tyranny.
This recipe is for all of you.
Nobody really makes peach pie any more. Why? Imagine those beautiful bright yellow free-stone slices, bathed in a sticky goo of sugary cinnamon sauce, encased in a flaky tender crust.
Is your mouth watering yet?
But time is short and your sweet little darlings are driving you crazy and you would love to take them to the party, but you’ve got nothing pot-luck party-worthy.
The thought of a trip to the grocery store without backup and four-point restraints makes you want to sit in a white room and rock while the nice people remove all sharp objects from within your reach, so being able to use things found at the back of the pantry are a plus.
Here is your answer my friends: Canned peaches have at least a two year shelf life. Canned peaches are delicious and make delicious pies. And, just so you know, there is something awe-inspiring about showing up with a homemade pie.
Even one that is less than perfect.
Remember, you can do this.
When you make this pie, feel free to change up what you need to. Don’t fret at the length of the instructions. This is a step-by-step path to success. You don’t have to make your own crust, feel free to buy one. You don’t have to decorate the top.
If you have the time and the want-to, go for it!
Patriotic Peach Pie
2 cups flour
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2/3 cups chilled vegetable shortening
5-6 tablespoons cold water
2 (1-lb 13-oz) cans of peach halves drained, reserving ½ cup syrup
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
I use peach halves because they are sturdier as the canning process seems to break down the slices more. Slice the peach halves into about ¾-inch slices. Combine with remaining filling ingredients in a non-reactive bowl (read: plastic or glass) and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375°F and have a large pie tin ready. (Don’t grease it or flour it.)
In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the dry ingredients. Alternatively, you can pulse them in a food processor. Add the shortening and whisk/pulse until the mixture resembles dry crumbs. Sometimes it clumps together and that is ok as long as the shortening is completely incorporated. The water should be added one tablespoon at a time.
The key to flaky tender pie pastry is to handle the dough as little as possible. Sprinkle over a tablespoon of water and then toss the mixture with a fork. Do not stir. Keep adding water one tablespoon at a time until the dough begins to really clump together. You will never use more than six tablespoons of water if you have measured the dry ingredients properly.
Flour your countertop as the pastry dough will be slightly sticky. Scrape the dough together in the bowl and mash into a lump. Split the lump in two and wrap one half in plastic wrap. Place the other half of dough in the middle of the flour and sprinkle more on top.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into the best approximation of a circle as you can get. It is kind of hard to get a Martha Stewart-esqe perfect circle. Just do your best. If the rolling pin sticks to the dough, flour it too. When rolled out, the dough should be about 14 inches across and about 1/8 an inch thick.
Lift one edge of the dough and place the rolling pin under it. Gently roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer to the pie plate, unrolling the dough over the plate. Position the dough, gently pressing down so the dough has contact with the complete surface of the pie pan.
With a sharp knife trim the dough leaving a 1-inch edge above the edge of the pan. If there is a gap on the edge, use some of the cold water as glue and paste a piece of dough to cover the gap, pressing it together with your fingers.
If you plan to decorate the top of the pie with extra pieces of dough, gather the leftovers into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap.
Carefully pour pie filling into pie crust and spread evenly. Cover the pie loosely with plastic wrap.
Repeat the pie dough rolling out process with the remaining lump of pie dough. Remove the plastic wrap and place the dough over the pie filling and cut off the excess dough leaving a 1-inch edge. Fold this edge over the bottom edge like you would fold the top of a paper bag and tuck it back into the pan.
Crimp the edge by pressing your thumb and pointer fingers together like you are going to pinch someone. Place these fingers on one side of the crust and with your pointer finger on the other hand on the opposite side of the dough, slowly press the crust edge into a “V” shape. Repeat this all the way around the edge of the pie.
Cut a 1-inch slit at the edge of the pie in the north, west, south, and east positions. Bake for 1 hour or until the crust is golden brown and the filling looks thickened where it has bubbled through the slits.
You may want to place a cookie sheet under the pie as it can bubble over and make a huge mess while baking.
If you wish to decorate the pie like a flag, in a small bowl mix 2-3 drops of blue food coloring into an egg white, and 2-3 drops of red food coloring into an egg yolk. Place another egg white in a small bowl and do not mix in any coloring. Roll out the leftover dough and cut your pieces.
Paste them to the top crust with the plain egg white. Using a clean, small paint brush paint the colors onto the pie where you want them. Bake as directed.