Deep-Dish Peach Pie, by Lillian.
September 11, 2012 § 3 Comments
A lot has happened.
For example: I moved to Salt Lake City. I lived out of a van for three weeks (more fun than it sounds). I took a job teaching (!). Also I left graduate school.
Now, I grew up in Salt Lake. And in many ways I remember my middle and high school years as one, long, desperate effort to get out. And I did! Boy did I ever. I moved clear across the damn country and spent four years as far away from Salt Lake City as one could get without actually getting on a boat.
Not satisfied with my sojourn, I then moved to Chicago, for four years of loving, very dearly, a very flat city.
Yowza. Both of those photos just sort of tugged at my heartstrings, I have to admit. Have you been to Chicago? You should go. September and October are the perfect months for Chicago. The oppressive, bring-an-extra-shirt heat lifts, the Lake is at its most perfect blue (whitecaps! sailboats! the most architecturally crisp skyline one could hope for!), the leaves start to turn, and you feel like you’ve truly made it—like you’ve really found the most lovely city in the world.
Oh wait, then winter hits. DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO HAVE YOUR BOOGERS FREEZE?
Robbed of the pleasure that is Chicago’s autumnal beauty, you may then find yourself undistracted from the comparative tedium of things like writing a dissertation proposal, or studying for comprehensive exams, or preparing conference abstracts. What I mean is, with its stark landscapes and bitterly cold winds and not much for playing outside (not in the flatlands, anyway), a Chicago winter can be something of an, er, clarifying season.
Then, in the dead of winter, this past January, Bethany, dearest Bethany, came to visit.
Yeah! Bethany was still living in Costa Rica at the time, so I appreciated the visit all the more. We saw a movie, we drove around, we went to brunch, we talked about boys, and we went to bars. During one particularly, yes, clarifying conversation, Bethany said, “Well you don’t actually have to be a grad student. You can like, do something else if you want.” (Or something of that ilk.)
Utterly stunned by the brilliance of Bethany’s observation, I started to look for teaching jobs in places with mountains (actually I may have had a strong beer first). For I had recently started climbing, and, may I just say? Dear friends? Don’t start rock climbing unless you can afford to upend your life and move across the country, back to the hometown you thought you’d left for good, at least partially for the sake of, for lack of a better term, shredding le gnar. Le gnar, as it turns out, is an addictive thing.
Six or so months later, and Cristyn and I found ourselves driving across the country (Cristyn for the first time, as mentioned previously, and me, back, after eight years away), headed back to Salt Lake—a city, conveniently, with teaching jobs and mountains. Go figure.
So now, here I find myself—spending many nights at my parents’ house in a small town in the mountains near Salt Lake, climbing when I can (that was what the three weeks in a van were for, in case you were still wondering about that), teaching, and, since the dust has settled a bit, making this pie.
I made this this past Sunday. Bruce, a dear friend of the family who has been coming around, making homemade ice cream and playing guitars with my dad since I can remember, was in for the afternoon. So this pie was accompanied by—you guessed it—homemade ice cream made with honey and raw milk from the local dairy and eggs from my parents’ chickens, June and Emmylou. (Bruce says store-bought ice cream is poison. After being reminded of what his ice cream tastes like, I’m inclined to believe him.) May I just say? I’m glad I’m home.
Well! On with it, yes? (Blah blah blah I’m sure you’re so interested in reading about my life when you could actually be learning about how to make the pie mentioned in the title of this post.) After much ado, and some months away, I give you! DEEP-DISH PEACH PIE, À LA MODE ET À LA LILLIAN.
Pie can be intimidating! Well. Mostly pie crust can be intimidating. DO NOT BE AFRAID. You can do it. I did it, and for a long time I avoided pie crust like I avoid scrubbing the bathtub. I basically followed this tutorial, which I’ve used a few times before and which has not yet let me down. I especially like it because it instructs the baker to use all butter. Some might protest, saying no! You must use shortening as well! But I don’t really know what shortening is, and therefore am kind of afraid of it (isn’t that just the natural way of things?), and I also think in this case the fear is justified. Butter, on the other hand, well I think that’s something we can all get behind.
Pie crust is actually pretty straightforward: you just need to keep everything very cold (even the flour), and work quickly.
After cutting the butter into the flour, drizzling it with ice water, and pulling the crumbly dough together, you’ll then divide your dough in two, and wrap both parts in plastic wrap. Deep dish-peach pie only uses one crust, for the pie’s lid (think chicken pot pie but with fruit), so the other half is still in my parents’ fridge, waiting to be made into another pie this weekend.
While you’re waiting for the dough to chill (about two hours), make the pie’s filling. For best results use fresh peaches–I probably don’t need to tell you this but you should make this in either July, August, or September. This past weekend was the Peach Festival in Brigham City, Utah, meaning these peaches were absolutely, undeniably, perfect.
Deep-dish Peach Pie, adapted loosely from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book
One modification to the tutorial mentioned above: after the dough has chilled, roll it out between two heavily floured pieces of parchment paper. This makes rotating the dough as you roll much easier, and it also allows you to use the parchment paper to drape the dough over the pie.
1/2 all-butter pie crust, rolled out
8-10 medium yellow peaches
juice from 1 lemon
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar, packed
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
4 T flour
1/2 c butter
Preheat your oven to 450. Set an oven-proof cup or mug in the center of a 2 1/2-to -3 inch-deep casserole dish—the mug or cup will keep the crust from collapsing into the pie. While oven is preheating, slice your peaches and place them in the dish. Squeeze the lemon over the peaches. In a small bowl, combine the sugars, salt, cinnamon, and flour. Dust over the peaches, and stir so that the fruit is coated (your hands will work well here). Dot the peaches with butter.
Lay the pie crust, parchment-side-up, over the dish. Carefully peel back the parchment paper, sealing up any tears. Crimp the edges of the crust around the dish, and perforate the crust with a fork.
Bake at 450 for about 10 minutes, until you see the edges of the crust start to brown. (Watch the pie carefully here!) Then, cover the edges of the crust with foil, and reduce the heat to 350. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the crust is a light golden-brown color and the juices begin to bubble out of the perforations. Pie should cool for about 45 minutes before serving, but no one will blame you if you eat the whole thing 30 minutes or so early.
Serve with Bruce’s homemade ice cream.