It’s been far too long since I wrote a baking post. So long, in fact, that if you’re new here you probably wouldn’t know that it’s one of my favourite things to do! I tend to take a little baking break in the summer because I never want to turn my oven on in the heat. Anyways, now that school’s in again I’ve turned back to one of my favourite ways of de-stressing (and procrastinating) – baking!
Yesterday I went to the grocery store to pick up some snacks for my long day of studying at the library. I left without snacks, with about 8 peaches and a pie tin. Earlier that day I had finished watching Pushing Daisies (for the second time, I’m still just as devastated as the first). FYI – Pushing Daisies is a television series and an excellent one at that. It’s not on Netflix but if you take the time to find it online I assure you, you won’t regret it. The main character in the show is the ‘Pie Maker’ (Lee Pace – he a cutie), and one of the main settings his is pie shop – The Pie Hole. The show is quirky and adorable and 100% what inspired me to bake my first pie.
I have always avoided pies because they were too high maintenance. For some reason anything that needed a crust dough to be made was a big no for me. I made jam tarts and butter tarts last Christmas for my holiday party, but the crust was so finicky and not at all flaky so I haven’t attempted again since.
Now – peaches are my favourite fruit, I love them. When I saw them at the store yesterday, I realised their prices were going up (no longer in season) and I thought “You just gotta do it Sabrina”, so I did it. And it was not easy.
I made two batches of this recipe (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/24094/butter-flaky-pie-crust/) from All Recipes -one for the bottom, one for the lattice strip top, and I followed this pie crust baking advice of another blogger (http://www.pastryaffair.com/blog/perfect-pie-crust). That blog post made the process a lot less stressful and a lot less confusing than I thought it would be. It still didn’t go completely smoothly, one of my batches was a lot more watery than the other, but they both turned out fine in the end. Since it was my first time baking, I left a lot of room for mistakes and trial and error on purpose. I baked one batch using half shortening, half butter just to see the difference it made compared to the other batch which was all butter. It was supposed to be a learning experience, not turn out perfectly, but it ended up being a bit of both!
Peach Pie Filling
I picked a peach pie filling recipe based off of the ingredients that I had at home. I had to find one that didn’t use canned peaches so I ended up with “Mama Thornton’s Peach Pie” recipe from the Food Network. You can see it here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/anne-thornton/mama-thorntons-peach-pie-recipe.html.It’s a pretty straight forward recipe, but I had to peel my peaches first since I decided to bake it entirely from scratch (silly me). A quick google search taught me that to peel peaches you just make very shallow cuts on the skin, and boil them (on a simmer) until the skin starts breaking a bit, then throw them in an “ice bath” to stop the cooking process, then slip the skin off. I didn’t boil mine long enough and ended up having to shave the skin off with a knife most of the time; only one of the 8 peaches actually worked out. BUT the boiling did soften the peach a LOT which made peeling easier, but slicing harder. A lot of my slices were mushy from trying to get them off the core, but I wasn’t overly concerned as it’s all going in the same place and doesn’t affect the taste. The rest of the recipe went smoothly, I did forget to add the butter (stupid me!), but it didn’t make it taste off at all. In fact, I didn’t even remember that I was supposed to add butter until the morning after I made it!
Topping and Baking the Pie
I topped the pie with a lattice strip top – following the directions at Simply Recipes here: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_a_lattice_top_for_a_pie_crust/. It was a lot easier than the final product looks, and it makes it look so cute and homemade. I then topped it with egg wash and sprinkled some sugar on top then popped it in the oven according to Mama Thornton’s directions. I did have to pull it out after about half an hour to cover the rim with aluminum foil just to stop it from burning, but I think that’s more my oven’s fault than anything – it tends to be a bit warmer in the back so I covered the rim and turned it around to stop any burning from happening.
It’s not the prettiest looking pie, it certainly looks homemade, but it tastes that way too! I’m not one for baked fruit but I found it yummier than most, and it’s had nothing but compliments from everyone who’s had a slice (THANKS GUYS!). I only hope that my next pie looks a lil prettier.