Are you a cake person or a pie person? My husband is a pie person all the way. Prior to marriage, I was most definitely a cake person.
However, I suppose there's a reason opposites attract. We offer each other new experiences and challenge each other to grow. If it wasn't for Michael, I may have never gone to a driving range to hit golf balls or chosen a piece of pie over a slice of cake. I would like to think if it wasn't for me, Michael would probably never eat spaghetti again or ride for miles and miles on a road bike.
Pie has the essence of everything I love about food; salty, buttery and sweet. Michael's favorite pie is pumpkin. I just love everything about pie.
Let's start with the crust. This recipe came from my unofficial mentor Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery in Boston. I have experimented with many different crust recipes and by far, this is my favorite. My mother-in-law always compliments the taste of the crust whenever I make a pie.
Active time: 15 minutes
1 3/4 cup of all purpose unbleached flour
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
2 sticks of cold butter, each cut into 8 pieces
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons of whole milk
1 whole egg, used for an egg wash for the top crust
Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar and salt. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks and milk.
Drop the cold butter pieces over the top of the flour mixture. Turn your mixer on low and let the butter and flour come together. This will take about 1 1/2 minutes.
Add the lightly beaten eggs and turn your mixer on low for another 30 seconds or just until the dough comes together.
Dump the dough onto a clean surface. Pile it high like a mountain. Using the palm of your hand, start at the top of the mountain and push the dough towards the surface. You should see the butter chunks smear through the dough. Repeat this step until the mountain becomes a plain. Then do it all over again two or three more times.
When you are done sliding down the mountain. Pat the dough into a 1 inch thick circle, wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.
PREPARATION TIP:This dough freezes well. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and store in a labeled freezer bag for up to 1 month. Take the dough out of the freezer the day before you will use it and let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Time to roll out the dough. Cut off 2/3 of the dough and rewrap the 1/3 portion and place it back in the refrigerator. The 1/3 portion will be used for the lattice top. On a well floured surface, roll the dough into a 10 inch circle. This should fill your standard 9 inch pie dish with the edges of dough draped over the sides. Trim any extra dough from the sides of the pie pan. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
PREPARATION TIP: At this point, if you haven't already frozen the dough, you can wrap the prepared pie pan in plastic wrap, place it inside a freezer bag or wrap in aluminum foil and freeze for later use. When you are ready to bake a pie, just pull the prepared pie pan out of the freezer and continue with the next set of directions.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line the top of the dough with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the crust is light brown. This is called "blind baking" and this step will give you a nice flaky bottom crust.
6 large yellow peaches, sliced thin
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of Bourbon or vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 cup of flour
While the bottom pie crust is 'blind baking," macerate the peaches for 30-45 minutes. In a large bowl, add all the ingredients except the flour. Give it a thorough toss and let it rest.
Once the crust has been pulled from the oven, roll out the remaining dough. Cut into strips and shapes for decorating the top of your pie.
Whisk the whole egg and brush the top of the dough with the egg. Sprinkle with sanding sugar.
Add the flour to the peaches and give it a good stir. Dump the mixture into the bottom crust.
Top the pie with the lattice top and shapes. This is the part where you can show off your creativity.
Bake the pie for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Check the pie occasionally, every oven is different. If the crust's edge is getting too dark, cover with a foil tent.
Let the pie rest for at least 1 hour. Serve with a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream. The pie can set on the counter top at room temperature for up to 3 days.