From the Recipe Box: Peach Berry Pie

Have you ever decided to go through a closet or a pile of boxes in the basement looking for a particular something, only to be so distracted by all the other things you come across in the process that you forget your initial objective? You know... that old knitting project you never managed to finish; a stack of photographs from your fly fishing trip to Wyoming; a heartfelt birthday card from an old friend that made you tear up when you got it... and tear up all over again re-reading it. 

This happened to me last Sunday. While working on my last post, I had to go back through my iPhoto album to search for some pictures I had taken awhile back. I couldn't quite remember when I had taken them, so I decided to start about two years back and scroll forward from there. It was like a walk down memory lane - each dinner party I threw, each knitting or sewing project I worked on and took a gazillion pictures of to post on my craft blog, and each pie I baked... and I used to bake a lot of pies! All before starting my own cookie business, I might add.

A strange thing happens when one decides to change the course of things and start a business - you lose all of your free time. (Smile) Well, almost all of your free time. Whereas my down time pre-Butter + Love was spent crafting and writing blog posts, the little free time I have now is spent brainstorming, experimenting, and tending to the (never-ending) general upkeep of an up-and-coming company.

But... back to last Sunday. After a good, long while spent waxing nostalgic about pies and yarn, I found the pictures I was looking for, saved them to Blogger, promptly closed my laptop, looked over at My Beau, and said, "I have to bake a pie. Now." 

30 minutes later after a quick jaunt to the corner market for some delicious tasting peaches and summery, plump blueberries - I was blissfully, knuckle-deep in flour, butter, and sugar. (I prefer to make my pie crust by hand - never had much luck with the food-processor method of dough making.)

Making this pie was like having a great conversation with an old friend - one that you don't get to see often, what with the busyness of life and responsibilities, but when you get together, it's as if no time has passed at all. It may sound funny to romanticize something as simple or domestic as baking a pie, but that's how we do things here - chalk it up to the "Love" part of Butter + Love. 

The pie turned out so well and was such a hit with our friends that evening, that I wanted to post it here for you. Maybe it will inspire you in a similar way - inspire you to close your laptop and determine to do something you haven't done in awhile... something familiar, something life-giving, maybe even something sweet...


Perfect Peach Berry Pie
(adapted from my own recipe, posted many moons ago on my craft blog Le Petit Hibou)

Pate Brisee, enough for one 8 or 9 inch double crust pie
3 3/4 pounds fresh, ripe peaches
1/4 cup, 2 teaspoons sugar (These 2 teaspoons are optional, depending on the sweetness of the peaches.)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg (or cardamom) **
Handfull of blueberries, de-stemmed, washed, and patted dry.
2 tablespoons good quality bourbon (I prefer Bulleit, but we had Eagle Rare on hand, which was just as good.)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 egg
Coarse sanding sugar, for sprinkling on the crust

** Please, oh please make sure that your nutmeg or cardamom is fresh.  As with most spices, ground spices can lose their freshness after time, so give it the ol' nose test. If it smells musty and old, it probably is.)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small dish, soak the 1/2 vanilla bean in the bourbon. Set aside.

Roll out one disk of pate brisee to line a pie dish, leaving 1/2 inch overhang, and place the pie dish in the fridge to chill.  Roll out the second disk of dough to 1/8 inch thickness and cut strips for a lattice crust. Place the strips on a parchment lined cookie sheet and chill in the fridge.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  In the meantime, prepare an ice-bath to blanch the peaches: Empty a tray of ice cubes into a large bowl, fill with cold water, and set aside.  Gently score the bottom on your peaches with a knife.  Once the water has come to a boil, drop the peaches into the water  (2-3 at a time) and blanch for 10-12 seconds, or until the skin at the bottom of the peach just starts to peel back.  With a slotted spoon, remove the peaches to the ice water and repeat with the remaining peaches.  Remove the peaches from the ice water - gently remove the skins and then pits.  Slice the peaches and set aside.

Remove the 1/2 vanilla bean from the bourbon, shaking off the excess liquid. Gently pry open the bean, and using the dull side of a knife, scrape out the seeds. Place the seeds back in the bourbon and give it good swish to incorporate.

Remove the strips of dough from the fridge to soften a few minutes - this will make them easier to arrange on top of the pie.

Mix both sugars, flour, and nutmeg. Add the peaches, hand-full of blueberries, and vanilla-bourbon to the flour-sugar mixture and gently stir to coat.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pie dish.  Arrange the strips of dough in a lattice, trip the ends, and fold the dough from the bottom over these edges. Using your fingers, crimp the edge of the pie. Place the bits of butter in the open spaces of the top crust.  Whisk the egg in a small bowl and then using a pastry brush, gently brush with the egg wash.  Generously sprinkle coarse sanding sugar on top.

Bake the pie at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue baking until filling is slightly thick and bubbly and crust is golden brown, about an hour more.

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