So don't ask me why but I have become obsessed with baking the perfect pie. I want the perfect crust and filling which together will make people swoon and come back begging for more!!! YES.....I am obsessed.
For years I have used the Barefoot Contessa's pie crust. It is easy to make handles well and tastes good. Recently I began reading pie crust recipes and went back to my Julia Child's cookbook to review her advice on what makes a great pie crust.
She was very specific on these points:
1. Flour - 1 part Cake Flour to 3 parts All purpose flour
2. Shortening - I part Vegetable shortening to 3 part butter
3. Chilling - Freshly made dough MUST be chilled at least 2 hours. This allows the flour particles to absorb the liquid as well as firm the butters and relax the gluten.
4. Desert crust - add 1/4 tsp salt and 2 Tbsp sugar
5. PreBake - 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Use enough beans to support the sides. Bake until bottom is firm but soft. Remove the beans (should be placed in crust in parchment paper or foil). Prick crust again and bake a few minutes till just beginning to color.
I am sure this is all very valuable information which I am trying to incorporate into my "Perfect Crust". I looked at the Pioneer Woman's Crust, Paula Deen's Perfect Crust and the tried and true Barefoot Contessa's Perfect Pie Crust. None of them had all of Julia's requirements but they all had some of them.
The Pioneer Woman's crust had the most different ingredients because it used egg and vinegar and has to be frozen for a time. I made it just as she instructs because I remember my mother making pie crusts with egg and vinegar. I also have an old (30+ years) written copy of a Candian pie crust that was given to me by a dear friend that is very similar. So off we go with the testing.....this should be fun!!
Perfect Pie Crust
3 cups all purpose four
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups vegetable shortening ( I only use Crisco ....but I did use Butter Flavored Crisco this time)
5 Tbsp cold water
1 Tbsp vinegar
Roll from center outward using enough flour to keep the crust moving. It may take a little time. Be gentle to your dough.
I roll my crust over the rolling pin to move it to the pan but you can use a large spatula if you like also.
Work the crust into the pan gently with your hands. Trim or tuck under and crimp the edges. Martha Stewart once said on her baking show that we all crimp the way our mother's taught us (at least if you are over 50). I do crimp just like my mother did!! BUT on this crust I trimmed the edges closely and made a decorative crust with cutout flowers.
I followed a recipe from a magazine that I picked up while in the checkout line at Whole Foods. They always get Me!!!
Georgia Peach Pie
3 lbs fresh peaches ( I got mine from Trader Joe's and they were from California!!! Delicious though!!!). Peel, Pitt and slice
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar (divided)
1 lemon, zest end and juiced
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Cornstarch
2 Tbsp low-sugar Fruit pectin
1 tsp grated fresh nutmeg
1 vanilla bean split, seeds scraped and reserved
Browned Butter Pecan Strueusel (recipe below)
1. In large bowl toss together peaches, 1 cup sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt. Let stand for 30 minutes
2. Roll dough and place into pie plate. Decorate edges with cutouts. Freeze for 30 minutes.
3. Transfer 1 cup peach mixture to a small bowl, and mash with a fork. You are making a "purée" for the filling. Strain remaining peaches through a colander into another large bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup peach liquid; discard rest.
Return drained peaches to large bowl and toss with cornstarch.
4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In small skillet whisk together reserved 1/2 cup peach liquid, pectin, nutmeg, vanilla bean seeds and 2 tbsp sugar. Cook over medium heat until peach in is dissolved and mixture slightly thickened about 3-4 minutes.
5. Toss together peach mixture and reserved 1 cup mashed peaches. Pour into crust. Drizzle over top with the pectin mixture. Top with Brown Butter Strueusel .
Brown Butter Struesel
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp flour
1/3 cup toasted pecans
2 tbsp firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1. In small saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Cook until butter turns, a medium brown color and smell nutty. About 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, peaches, sugars, and salt. Add brown butter. Stir with wooden spoon until crumbly.
Place pie on cooking sheet and place in preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and cover pie loosely with foil. Bake until golden brown and bubble 30-35 minutes more.
The crust was great....flakey and yummy however I found the dough soft and somewhat hard to work with. I will be tweaking some ingredients next time I make it. YES there is going to be more pie.
As for the pie filling I found it to be a tad bit runny----great taste but not so sure I would make this filling again. At least not exactly the way I did this time.
It was all eaten and the plate was scraped clean so it was a GOOD pie just maybe not a GREAT pie that I would turn around and do again the next day!!! Let me know what you think.....give it a try!!! After all it's Peach Season and pies are always best in season!!
I will be back with more baking, cooking and quilting soon!!!