Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cook's Illustrated Lattice-Top Fresh Peach Pie

My blogging is falling way behind my cooking with the end of the summer to school year transition!  Actually, the whole summer has been slow on blogging.  We'll see what Fall brings, but I hope to be able to share some more recipes in the next few months.  With me being behind, this peach pie is now kinda out of season for farm fresh peaches, but can be made with your normal grocery store peaches anytime!

I really enjoyed making this pie!  This was my first lattice-top pie, so I was being pretty dramatic about how proud I was of myself.  Luckily it was only Nick here to see it.  I just felt so accomplished making a lattice top pie!  It's extra work (not much) and it looks much better than a full top crust (much).  Oh yes, so proud of myself.

My other big accomplishment with this pie was the consistency of this filling.  I have been making apple pies the last few Autumn seasons and have had some trouble with too juicy pies.  I tried adding more flour, adding cornstarch... still full of juice and soggy-bottomed!  This recipe called for potato starch.  My search for potato starch in Community Market resulted a chain of store associates telling me they didn't know what I was talking about.  They made me feel like I'm crazy.  To all of you, go to this link, look at the last ingredient.  Am I crazy?  Does it not say potato starch?

Luckily I remembered what the alternate ingredient was and found that instead.  I used Minute tapioca to make my peach pie filling thick and yummy.  And that it was!

Oh, and a side note... try this pie crust.  Even if you have a pie crust recipe you love and trust, try this one.  It's worth it!  I had a fight with my food processor while I was making this so I ended up just using a pastry blender, but the recipe still turned out great.  I will definitely use this crust recipe for my next pie!

Here is the recipe, from Cook's Illustrated online.

Lattice-Top Fresh Peach Pie
Pie Dough
• 3 Cups all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 1 tsp. table salt
• 7 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
• 10 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks), chilled, cut into 1/4 inch pieces and frozen for 30 minutes
• 10-12 tablespoons ice water

Peach Filling
• 6-7 medium peaches (ripe, about 6 cups)
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice from 1 lemon
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
• pinch ground cinnamon
• pinch ground nutmeg
• pinch table salt
• 3-4 tablespoons potato starch (or Minute tapioca)

1.  In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulse flour, sugar, and salt until combined.  Add shortening and process until mixture has texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds.  Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture.  Cut butter into flour until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse crumbs, with butter bits no larger than small peas, about ten 1-second pulses.  Move mixture to medium bowl.

2.  Sprinkle 5 Tbsp. ice water over mixture.  With rubber spatula fold water and flour together.  Sprinkle remaining 5 Tbsp. ice water over mixture and continue using folding motion to combine until small portion of dough holds together when squeezed in palm of hand.  Add up to 2 Tbsp. more ice water if necessary.  Dough should feel quite moist.  Turn dough onto clean, dry work surface.  Gather and gently press together in cohesive ball, then divide into 2 pieces, one slightly larger than the other.  Flatten large piece into a round 5-inch square and smaller piece into a 4-inch disk.  Wrap separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour, or up to 2 days, before rolling.

3.  Remove dough from refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable).  Roll larger dough piece to 11 by 15-inch rectangle, about 1/8-inch thick.  Transfer dough rectangle to cookie sheet line with parchment paper.  With pizza wheel (or fancy edged fluted pastry wheel - to be added to my wish list) or paring knife, trim to even out the long sides of the rectangle, then cut rectangle lengthwise into 8 strips 1 1/4 inches wide by 15 inches long.  Freeze strips on cookie sheet until firm, about 30 minutes.

4.  Roll smaller dough piece on lightly floured work surface or between two large sheets of plastic wrap to 12-inch disk.  Transfer dough to pie plate by rolling dough around rolling pin and unrolling over 9-inch pie plate or by folding dough in quarters, then placing dough point in center of 9-inch pie plate and unfolding.  Leave dough that hangs over the lip of the pie plate in place to seal the edges.  Refrigerate dough-lined pie plate.

5.  Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat over to 425 degrees.  Prepare to blanch peaches to make peeling easy by bringing 3 quarts of water to boil in large saucepan, and filling a large bowl with 2 quarts cold water and 2 trays ice cubes.  With a paring knife, score a small x at the base of each peach.  Next, lower the peaches into boiling water with a slotted skimmer.  Cover and blanch until their skins loosen, about 2 minutes.  Use a slotted skimmer to remove the peaches to ice water and let stand to stop cooking, about 1 minute.  Finally, cool the peaches, then, starting from the scored x, peel each peach, halve and pit it, and cut into 3/8-inch slices.  Toss peach slices, lemon juice, 1 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and potato starch (or Minute tapioca) - 3 tablespoons for moderately juicy peaches, 4 tablespoons for very juicy ones - in medium bowl.

6.  Turn mixture into dough-lined pie plate.  Remove dough strips from freezer;  if too stiff to be workable, let stand at room temperature until malleable and softened slightly but still very cold.  Weave the lattice top together, beginning from the middle longer strips, and alternating adding in a strip going in each direction.  (I think there is a tutorial on the source page at the bottom of this post, but I do it slightly differently - do whatever is easiest for you!)  Lightly brush lattice top with 1 Tbsp. water and sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp. sugar.  Place pie on baking sheet and bake until crust is set and begins to brown, about 25 minutes.  Rotate pie and reduce over 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.


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