Monday, August 02, 2010

Quite Peachy!

Some sweet friends gave us peaches a few days ago. Yum! Although Africa has some pretty amazing fruits, including, but not limited to: mangos, pineapple, and bananas, there are some fruits that we all definitely missed living over there. Africa didn't haveberries of any kind, and they didn't have peaches or nectarines. So, when peaches come into season here, it is a special treat for us all. When our friends dropped the peaches off for us, it was such a great treat and we are so thankful for their generosity!

With all the peaches that we were given we were stumped as to what all we could make with them. We couldn't just eat them all plain without them going bad on us. So, we froze, muffined, dried and pied them.

I'm definitely more of a cake person than a pie person, but I couldn't resist making a peach pie. I mean how tasty does that sound? Peach pie with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on a mid summer's day. Sounds like a picture perfect scene out of a child's book, right? Well, to me it sounded perfect. So, I sat down, found a recipe online, asked my Grandma for some tips, found Mom's pie crust recipe, and began to bake.

Here's the recipe if you want it. Personally, I thought it was an amazing recipe. The pie turned out great with a strong peachy flavour and with a dollop of ice cream on top, it was the perfect summer dessert.

First, you will need your crust. This is a simply pie crust recipe and easy to make. You will need:
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Cup Shortening or Butter (I used butter because we had no shortening)
  • 3-4 Tablespoons Water (may need more)

Mix together the flour and the salt. Then cut in the butter or shortening. Add the water and mix together. Once the dough feels good, as in, good pie crusty-ness, split the dough in two. Take one of the halves and place it on a floured surface. Roll out this piece of dough until it is big enough to cover a 9" pie pan. Once you have it big enough, place it in an ungreased pie pan. Once the pie crust is nicely in the pie pan, paint the crust with a coat of egg. This helps the crust to not get soggy when the peaches are place in it. Keep the other dough in the mixing bowl it was in.

Now for the peach part of your peach pie. But first, a helpful tip from my Grandma:

Did you know: That Grandma's are full of helpful tidbits of information? Seriously, if your Grandma cooks, I'm sure she has some "secrets" or hints that are amazing in baking. The tip I got from my grandma was this: Most peach pies are made with canned peaches. Canned peaches have a lot of juice in them which, needless to say, makes a good juicy pie. A fresh peach pie, on the other hand, is a lot more flavourful and delicious, but how can you get that juiciness? Grandma's Helpful Cooking Tip: Put one cup of fresh peaches in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water. Place this on the stove top and let it cook together. If you want add a pinch or two of flour to get it to thicken a little and bam! You have your peach juice!

Alright back to making the peach filling of a peach pie. You will need:

  • 5 Cups of sliced peeled Peaches
  • 2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Cup White Flour
  • 1 Cup White Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • A pinch of Salt

What is the first thing that all recipes say to do? If you guessed preheat the oven, you win! Yeah you! But I am going to tell you not to do this. I always forget to preheat the oven and in this case it was a good thing. It takes a while to peel and cut five cups worth of peaches, and you don't want to waste all the electricity or gas while you're busy cutting. So, I'd say wait until the peaches are sliced and then preheat your oven.

Your oven will be preheated to 450ºF.

Next, and this should have been mentioned above, make sure you are wearing an apron. One of the simple baking steps that I simply do not take to heart is wearing an apron. I can't even count how many shirts I have stained because I didn't wear an apron. And peaches are merciless. They do stain. So, moral of the story is wear an apron! They are a novel invention.

Alright, now we are ready to dig into the actually baking. First, take one cup of sliced peaches and place them in a pot with 1/4 cup of water. Place this on the stove until the peaches are boiling and you have a syrup.

While one cup of peaches in merrily boiling peel and slice the other four cups and place them in a mixing bowl. When the boiling peaches and water seem done (which they should be by the time you've slice four cups of peaches) mix them with the fresh peaches. Then sprinkle all the peaches with the two tablespoons of lemon juice.

I would begin to preheat the oven at this time. Preheat it to 450ºF.

In a separate mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Pour this over the peaches and gently mix together. By now your peach filling should be looking amazing and the peaches and crust should finally be together.

So, place your amazing looking peach mixture into your pie crust. Then take the other lump of pie crust dough and roll it out. You can just cover the entire pie in the dough, or you can make a lattice top, which not only looks prettier, but it also tastes better. At least, that is my opinion, the more peachy flavour and less crusty flavour the better! To lattice your pie, simply cut out strips of dough and cover the top of the pie in a pretty design. After you have put some type of top on your pie, paint the top dough with egg. And put a sprinkle of cinnamon across your pie.

Now the time has come for the pie to be baked. Yes! Put the pie in your preheated oven for 10 minutes! Yes, only ten minutes! Then reduce the heat to 350ºF and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is brown.

When the pie is done baking, take it out and let it cool. Then serve it warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and you will have some peachy eaters eating your peach pie. ;)

One last tidbit of information before I close. Did you know that Pillsbury was a person? Ann Pillsbury. You probably knew that, but it was new news to me :) And interesting too :)

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