Browsing the bookstore with my wife (what we do when we go out on a “date”) I found a wonderful cookbook entitled simply, Pie by Ken Haedrich. It’s 639 pages of yummy goodness, and almost any conceivable variation of the classic pan food.
So with said new book in hand, I was off to Henry’s, our local food market (“local” as in – it was grown in the neighborhood) to see what was in season, fresh, and cheap. I like exotic pie as much as the next guy, but when you’re still working on your crusts, you can’t afford to waste money on something that’s eight bucks a pound to put into it.
Turns out the peaches were pretty cheap and in season or not, they were tasty as can be. I also picked up some apples, but that’s another entry.
The book hardly bothers with the plain-jane peach pie, but goes right into some delightful possibilities such as Peaches and Cream Pie and Lemonade-Peach Pie and of course, the one I chose – Peach Pie with Coconut-Almond Crumb Topping.
In the past, I have always used Alton Brown’s recipe for basic pie crust with good result. It should be good, as it’s made with lard. But for this trip I decided to go with the book’s own version of the Basic Flaky Pie Pastry. It’s a half and half deal with butter and shortening. I made two crusts (one for that apple pie I mentioned) and did one in the food processor and one by hand. Both came out great, but I found the amount of water I needed in the processor version was much less than that by hand. This was partially due to the temperature of my shortening (room temp, not cold) and partially from the friction of the blades. The dough is simply “handled” a lot more. Ideally, you want that butter to stay cold.
The one other thing that I would do differently is to not press down the crumb topping as the book suggests. There was a lot of topping, which is tasty. But it tends to literally bake into a hard shell that you can’t easily cut with a fork. It’s like eating pie with a hard cookie on top… SMOOSH! The topping should be crumbled on top of the pie and just left there.
No matter though, it was delicious.