Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Pieday

I’d say I’m hardly a piefessional. I’ve made plenty of tarts with press in dough, a few graham cracker crusted cream pies, a handful of savory meat or bean pies, one or two holiday pies like pumpkin and pecan, and even a frozen peanut butter pie…but when it comes to classic fruit pies, I’m a novice. And by novice, I mean, I think this was my first.

Now, I bake a mean fruit dessert—for crisps, crumbles, tarts, and fruity cakes I’m your girl. But for some reason, fruit pie has never been on my radar. Until now. When I saw a latticed stone fruit pie in the latest Bon Appetit, my heart melted a little, and I knew it was time. Pie-time. I also bought a pastry mat recently, giving me even more incentive to roll out a couple dough rounds.

I don’t know if it was my unintentional tweaks on the recipe, if I was just lucky that day, or if the Pie-Gods were there to convince me of my true pie-calling, but my first traditional fruit pie—lattice crust and all—was pretty damn awesome. I’m not saying it was the best pie ever made, but it was definitely not the pie of a rookie. It looked beautiful, golden and shiny, with little bits of pink and orange fruit filling peeping through the lattice. And it tasted even better. The crust was flaky and buttery, and also solid enough to hold up to the fruit. And the filling was sweet, fruity, and just a little tart—summer at its finest. I read the recipe wrong and accidently discarded the extra juices from the fruit, but I think that was the key to a less-soupy filling and not-soggy crust. Oh, I also accidentally added more sugar to the dough than called for…another big win.

Served with homemade lemon ice cream, this pie screamed summer, for all to hear. And then, just for me, it whispered “you ARE a piefessional.” And just like that, I started mapping out my next fruit pie.   

Stone Fruit Pie

3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/3 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
¾ cup ice water

In food processor, blend flour, butter, shortening, sugar, and salt until butter resembles tiny peas, 25-35 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl. Slowly add ice water, stirring with a fork, until dough has both clumpy-wet and sandy-dry in places, adding more water if necessary. Press plastic wrap over surface of dough. Chill at least 1 hour.

Divide in half, and flatten each half into a disk. On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 disk into a 13"-14" round. Roll over rolling pin and transfer to the pie dish. Pick up the edges to allow dough to slump inside the dish. Trim overhang. Roll out second dough disk (this will be the lattice top) on a lightly floured surface to a 14" round. Transfer round to a baking sheet. Cover and chill both crusts for 1 hour.

2 pounds nectarines
1 pound peaches, peeled
1 pound plums
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Juice and zest of one small lemon
1 large egg, beaten to blend

Preheat oven to 400°.

Halve, pit, and cut fruit into 1/2" thick slices. Place all fruit in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup sugar and toss to coat. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour, tossing occasionally.

Add half of the cornstarch, mix well, then thoroughly strain off all the juices. Add remaining cornstarch, nutmeg, and lemon, and gently toss until incorporated.

Pour fruit mixture into unbaked pie crust in dish. Using a pizza cutter (or a sharp knife), cut top dough round into 3/4"-wide strips. Weave strips over filling, forming a lattice crust. Trim strips 1/2" shorter than dough overhang. Fold overhang over strips and crimp edges.

Brush beaten egg over crust edges and lattice. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. sugar over top. Set pie on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Bake until crust is golden brown and juices bubble, about 35-40 minutes longer.

Cool on a wire rack, and serve (preferably to friends and family), with ice cream (preferably homemade).

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