I don’t want no fly guy, I just want a pie guy. Sorry to start that way but in case you didn’t know pie makes me so happy I can’t help but sing. Today was the first day of spring and that means all my preserves and frozen summer produce is fair game. Every year when spring starts I stop hoarding my stock as I know that I have enough left to make it through winter and soon my stock will be replenished. I was shocked I hadn’t posted a pie yet, knowing my affinity for it, so I thought today was the perfect day. Peach pie is a family favourite and I knew it would be the perfect way to celebrate the spring equinox, and surprise my girls, after school. Alright I am going to stop here or else this post will turn into an ode to pie instead of a recipe, but I can’t promise there won’t be more pie songs.
Start out by placing 6 cups sliced peaches into a colander. Place the colander over a large bowl to catch the juice. I am using frozen peaches I packaged last summer, but fresh or canned works too. With fresh you can follow the sugar amounts I used here, if I was using canned I would omit or at least half the sugar.
Once the peaches have had an hour or two to drain into the bowl its time to make our filling. You are looking for at least a cup of juice, but I am always happier with more. Using frozen peaches I get about 2 cups of juice.
Take the reserved juice from the bowl and pour it into a large saucepan over medium high heat. Keep about 1/4 cup of peach juice to the side. You can use a sieve and strain the juice but my thoughts are leave those little pulp pieces in the juice. They are little flavour packets of peach that will increase the flavour.
While the juice is heating up, let’s make our slurry that we are going to add to thicken this up into a syrup. Using the reserved 1/4 cup of peach juice add 3 tablespoons of cornstarch and stir until it is smooth, and no lumps remain. Other than the pulp lumps, of course we want those lovely peachy lumps.
Once the juice has reached a gentle boil its time to whisk in the slurry. Make sure to keep whisking as this cooks down to prevent any clumps from forming. If the boil is getting too aggressive, you may need to turn your heat down to medium.
Keep cooking and whisking while it reduces in volume and the mixture thickens into a syrup. You can tell it’s done when the bubbles are large and slow moving because the mixture has thickened so much.
Once the syrup is nice and thick, it should slowly drip from a spatula not run off, pour it into a large bowl. Now add in the sliced peaches, a dash of cinnamon, and butter. Using a spatula fold the mixture together until its is evenly combined. Now cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge to cool down, about an hour.
While the filling is cooling down lets make the pastry for our pie. You can get really wild with pastry, and should, but today I am using my go-to pastry for fruit filled pies. The pastry is flaky and buttery, but doesn’t stop the delicate fruit filling from also being a star of this pie.
Start by placing the flour, salt, and sugar into a large metal bowl, and whisk to combine. Now I take my butter out of the freezer (I always keep a block or two in the freezer to be ready for pastry) and using a large box grater grate the butter into my flour mixture. I gently rub the butter into the flour to quickly combine it. Then I add in my lard, not MY lard, but rather Tenderflake which is my favourite for pie crusts. Using two knives I cut the lard into the flour.
Once the lard has been cut into the flour, you may need to rotate the bowl and get all angles, it should resemble coarse crumbs no larger than the size of a pea.
Now I make a quick liquid by adding vinegar, an egg, and ice cold water, and whisk it all to combine. Now slowly add small amounts of the egg mixture to the flour mixture, gently folding it into the dough with a spatula. I would be shocked if you needed to use the full 1 cup of liquid. Here in Alberta it takes about 1-2 to 3/4 cups in the winter, when I lived in British Columbia it never took more than 1/4 cup. Once the dough is able to hold together, but still looks shaggy, is when you have added enough of the egg mixture. At this point your dough is ready, I like to wrap in plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge for about 30 minutes. In a pinch, I’ve gone straight into making the pie without chilling the dough and the pastry will still be delicious and perfect, I just find it easier to work with if it’s a little firmer.
Once your dough is ready and our filling has had time to cool down, it is time to assemble the pie. Start by taking about 1/3 of your pastry and shape it into a disc. On a well floured surface roll out the dough into a circle, large enough to fill a standard pie dish, that is about 1/4 ” thickness.
Once your pastry is rolled out place it into your pie plate, I use glass as I prefer it to a metal pie plate but that is just me. Once you’ve placed the pastry circle into the pie plate gently press around the edges, and bottom, to make sure it’s evenly spread into the dish. Trim off any excess pastry so you have a nice clean edge. Now get the peach filling from the fridge and pour it into your pastry lined pie plate. At this point I usually place the pie in the fridge to stay cold while I work on the decorative top pieces.
I start by taking another 1/3 of the pastry, and on a well floured surface roll it into a large rectangle, about 1/4 ” thick.
Now using a pastry cutter or pizza wheel, hell use a knife if you need to, and make slices into the pastry for your lattice top. You can do whatever you want here, make them uniform, different sizes, this is where you get to make this pie into the pie of your dreams. I’m the only one who actually fantasizes about pie, aren’t I? The movie American Pie doesn’t count, that was scripted love. Anyway back to this pie, I decided to do varying widths and braids to make the lattice top of this pie. It’s really simple, slice thin long strips of pastry and pinch them together at the top, then gently braid and pinch the dough ends together. Ta-da!
Now using the strips and braids of pastry, I am going to start by laying them one direction, on top of the pie that’s been chilling in the fridge.
Then weaving over and under with the remaining pastry strips, go the opposite way to criss cross with the first pastry strips. This whole sentences has confused me, usually as I am doing the lattice work I am saying over, under, repeatedly in my head, so trying to explain it may not be coming across. But no worries that is what pictures are for, see below.
Once I’ve completed the lattice top, I cut off the excess pastry and flute the edge of my pie with my fingers, making sure that the top and bottom pastry are well sealed together. Also you may not want to fill your pie this full, I am greedy and didn’t want to waste any of that delicious filling, so I took my chances here. Usually I make sure the filling is even with the lip of the pie plate. Now I am going to put the pie back in the fridge one more time, and make some pastry flowers for the top.
Pastry flowers might look difficult but they are so easy, or at least the way I do them they are easy. I am sure there is a fancier way out there that makes an even lovelier rose, but this is how I do it (great now I have Montell Jordan stuck in my head). Using a circular cookie cutter cut out 5 circles from your rolled out pastry. Take one circle and place it on the floured counter and take the second and place it onto the first circle so that half the circle is overlapping. Keep overlapping the three remaining circles until you have a straight line. Then using your rolling pin, press down in the centre of the overlapped circles to create a divot and stick the circles together. Again, see picture ;).
Now starting on the left side of the first circle, fold it over and start rolling it up. I use my thumb and forefinger to roll and pinch the centre as I go. You don’t want to put pressure on the outsides, or you won’t end up with pretty petals. Once you’ve pinched and rolled the dough circles up, cut it in half and you should have two pastry roses. I repeated this process with a smaller circle cutter as well, I also punched out some leaves.
Now let’s get that pretty pie out of the fridge and spruced up for the oven. I start by taking one egg and a tablespoon of water and making an egg wash. Generously brush the entire pie with an egg wash. This will make it turn a lovely golden brown and help your pastry decoration easily adhere.
Once you’ve placed all your decorations, I give them a little egg wash also. Place the pie on a large tray to catch any possible drips or spills, even more important if you know your pie is probably too full. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, turn down to 350 and continue to bake for about 50 – 65 minutes. If it is getting too dark on top but not cooked through use a piece of aluminum foil to tent the top of the pie. This is another reason I like a glass pie plate, when you are learning to make pie, you can peak through the bottom to see if the pastry is cooked.
Once your pie is bubbling away but no longer looks watery and the pastry is a golden brown its time to come out of the oven and let your pie cool down. I think the pie needs a good 3 hours to cool down and set back up. If the pie plate still feels quite warm, it hasn’t cooled enough to have set up.
Once the pie has had its time to cool down, it is time to slice it up and eat. A nice scoop of vanilla ice cream is this pie’s best friend. Other than me of course 😉
Peach Pie Filling
6 cups peaches peeled and sliced
1-2 cups reserved peach juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter
- Peel and slice your peaches until you have 6 cups of sliced peaches.
- Place peaches into a colander then set it on top of a large bowl to let peaches drain for about an hour (two if you don’t have juicy peaches). You don’t want to leave all the liquid in the peaches or else the pie will be soupy, but we aren’t going to waste all that juice either.
- Once the peaches have drained, set them to the side and use the juice to make a thick peach syrup.
- Start by placing the peach juice, sugar, and cinnamon into a large saucepan over medium high heat, reserve 1/4 cup of your juice to make a slurry.
- While you are waiting for the mixture to reach a gentle boil, place the 3 tablespoons of cornstarch into the 1/4 of reserved peach juice. Whisk to combine until there are no lumps, just a nice smooth liquid.
- Once the peach juice has reached a gentle boil, add in your cornstarch slurry and whisk constantly as the mixture cooks.
- The mixture needs to cook about 10 – 15 minutes until reduced in volume and noticeably thicker. It is going to go from small fast bubbles to slow large bubbles, this means it has thickened up enough and is ready to come off the heat.
- Once you remove it from the heat whisk in the 2 tablespoons of butter until it is melted and evenly combined.
- Place the peaches into a large bowl and pour in the peach syrup mixture, using a spatula fold the peaches into the syrup until well coated and evenly mixed.
- Place the peach pie filling into the fridge to cool down, about 1 hour. This is a good time to make your pasty.
5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup cold butter
1 3/4 cups Tenderflake (lard)
1 tablespoon distilled vinegar
3/4 cups ice cold water
1 tablespoon water
- In a large bowl place flour, salt, and sugar then whisk to evenly combine.
- Using a box grater, grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture. Gently rub the butter into the flour with your hands. Just until it is evenly coated.
- Using two knives, or a pastry blender if you have one, and cut the lard into the flour until it creates coarse crumbs. About the size of a pea, do not over mix this it shouldn’t look completely uniform.
- In a small bowl add the egg, vinegar, and ice water and whisk to combine.
- Slowly pour small amounts of the egg mixture into the flour mixture, about 1/4 cup at a time. Use a spatula to gently fold the flour and egg mixture together, add more of the liquid (as necessary) to make the dough come together into a shaggy ball.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in fridge for one hour, up to one week. Keep leftover dough in the freezer for a few months.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees and get you pie plate ready (I use glass so no need to grease)
- Take 1/3 of prepared pie dough and shape it into a disc. On a well floured surface roll out the disc into a circle large enough for the pie plate (8 – 9 inch) and about 1/4″ thickness.
- Using your rolling pin, or whatever works for you, gently transfer your dough to the pie plate. Using your fingers gently press the dough into the bottom of the pie plate and up the sides, turning the pie plate and pressing around the edges.
- Take the peach pie filling from the fridge and pour it into your pie until the filling is even with the rim of the pan. Place in fridge to keep cool while working on lattice top and flowers.
- Roll out another 1/3 of the dough to cut strips of pastry to make your lattice top (see pictures above). They can be uniform, braid smaller strips together, even doing just a full top crust with vents works well with this filling.
- Once you have made your lattice top using a pastry cutter, remove the excess dough from just outside the edge of the pie plate.
- Using your thumb and ring finger (or whatever works for you) pinch the top pastry pieces into the bottom pastry to flute the edge and seal in the filling. If you don’t want to do this, a floured fork or spoon will also work just make sure the pastry on the top and bottom connect.
- Make the egg wash by whisking together the egg and water, using a pastry brush generously coat the top of the pie with egg wash.
- If you are doing and flowers or decorations now is the time, the egg wash will make sure they easily adhere. Then give the decorations a quick egg wash.
- Place the pie in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to 350 and bake for another 50 – 65 minutes, or until it is golden brown and bubbling. The filling will be hot and bubbling but it shouldn’t look watery. If it does, put it back in the oven.
- If the pastry on top is browning too quickly, grab a piece of aluminum foil and make a tent by folding it in half and place gently over the top of the pie. I usually tent my pies for the last 20 minutes of baking time.
- Once the pie is fully cooked and golden brown remove form the oven to a wire cooling rack until set up. This will take about 3 hours, the pie plate should no longer feel hot.
- Slice and serve with vanilla ice cream.
Note: This pastry recipe makes enough for two full pies, I usually make one and freeze the rest of the dough in a plastic bag until the next time I need a friend…I mean pie.