I like the process of pie. You don’t just decide to whip one up with an extra half hour like a batch of cookies. Pies are more deliberate than that. They can be finicky and a bit technical but also equally rewarding; I still do a little happy dance every time I make a really good one.
This particular pie holds a very special place in my heart because it’s my family’s go-to “summer pie” and one of the very first things my dad taught me to bake. At first I just watched him make it while I ate all of the trimmings of uncooked dough (kind of gross, I know). When I was old enough to take a more hands on approach, my dad used it as an excuse to teach me fractions. I felt betrayed so I quit the pie making business. Eventually I came back around, begrudgingly learned a little math, and got back to work. The rest is history.
What I’ve learned over the years is that the key to making good pie is knowing how to treat your ingredients and knowing what to look out for. And all it takes to get it right is practice. You get a feel for dough–knowing when it’s too warm to work with, knowing when it’s too dry, etc.–by making lots of mistakes. I feel like I’ve made all of them. I really don’t care to admit how many Thanksgivings I’ve gone to cut into the Pecan Pie and the center is just pure goo. That’s when you go in the corner, shed a quiet tear, and come back strong knowing that, next year, you’re not taking any chances. Cornstarch for days.
So you live and you learn. And you keep making pie.
Peach & Blueberry Pie
I use Ina Garten’s Perfect Pie Crust though I usually end up adding another few tablespoons of water because I prefer a wetter dough.
Peach & Blueberry Pie
- 4 pounds peaches
- 1 half-pint blueberries
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cold butter, diced small
- egg + 2 tablespoons sugar for egg wash
Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 425°. Divide dough in half and place one half, wrapped, back in fridge. Roll out dough to fit pie plate and trim excess off edges, leaving about 1 inch of overhang. Place back in fridge.
In a large bowl, peel peaches and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Add blueberries, lemon juice, salt, cinnamon, sugar, and butter. Let sit while finishing crust.
Take the unused half of dough from the fridge and roll out in a circle. Using a knife or pastry wheel, cut even strips down the length of the dough. How many you choose to use and the width of the strips depends on how you want your lattice to look. I used 10 strips in total (5 across each way) at about a 1 inch width. Making a lattice isn’t very difficult but it requires practice. There’s lot of great tutorials on the internet and you can always practice your lattice skills using twine before you start the pie. I think the key to an easy lattice is having a pliable dough (hence the extra few tablespoons of water I use in the crust).
When you’re ready to assemble your pie, pour fruit mixture into the cold shell. Use a brush (or just your finger) to put a little water around the perimeter of the crust. Assemble your lattice across the top. Trim lattice ends so that you have an even overhang all around the crust. Crimp the edges of the pie by placing your thumb and forefinger of one hand on the crust and pressing the forefinger of your other hand in between the other two fingers (again, the internet is probably more helpful than words).
Place whole pie in freezer for 20 minutes. Take out and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes, then place pie on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and lower oven temperature to 350°. Bake for about another hour. You want the center of the pie to boil (bubble). If crust is becoming too dark, place a sheet of aluminum foil over the top.
Take pie out and let pie cool to room temperature (read: many hours). Cutting into it too soon may result in a runny pie. Serve with vanilla ice cream.