Saturday, July 26, 2008

More pie

Sorry, I still haven't found my garden blogging muse. Please accept more pie blogging.

You may recall my peach and blueberry pie, but there was also a cherry pie, which was OK, given that it was made with sweet cherries instead of the coveted sour Montmorency cherries -- we just can't seem to find them around here. 

But being as it is the height of Texas freestone peach season, I'm trying to take full advantage of the ready availability of plump ripe local peaches. Peaches are, after all, the most delicious fruit. This is a fact that cannot be disputed*.

I went with straight peaches this time, mainly because blackberries are so damned expensive. However, I mixed it up a bit with a technique I've had good luck with in the past -- a grated top crust.

When you're done mixing up your crust, treat the bottom crust as normal, but take the dough for the top crust and pack it into a ball or hunk. Leave it in the refrigerator as long as you can so it sets up nice and firm. Then, when you've filled the bottom shell with filling, grate the cold dough just like cheese over the top of the pie.

Then bake it like normal. No worries about vent holes -- the juices will bubble up through it and around the edges. This time, about halfway through I sprinkled it liberally with vanilla sugar.

It came out like this:

I'm a little perturbed that it doesn't brown up better than that -- the lower-lying bits of crust are done, but look awfully pale. Maybe spraying it with butter would help or perhaps I need to fiddle with the temperature a bit more. Anyone have suggestions?

Oh, and in case you were skeptical of claims elsewhere -- lard really is the way to go. I've been doing a 3/4 lard to 1/4 butter lately and it comes out perfect.

* I will accept arguments on behalf of the pineapple and mango, but these will ultimately fail.

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Anonymous Topher said...

Take that, Marie Calendar! That ole ho ain't got nothing on Kelly.

July 26, 2008 3:08 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Thanks, dogg.

July 26, 2008 3:52 PM  
Blogger m said...

I've had same issues in the past, where the top crust doesn't brown, and sometimes I'll wrap the bottom crust edge in foil and keep baking so the top browns, but the bottom crust ring doesn't burn. also have noticed it seems to happen more with crusts that aren't all butter (I do the butter & crisco combo).

July 26, 2008 7:05 PM  
Anonymous Robin said...

What great-looking pies you make. Love the grated crust technique. Never seen or heard of it.
You might want to try spritzing the top w/ some egg glaze to get a nice golden color.

July 27, 2008 3:41 PM  
Blogger Matt & Carrie said...

Looks tasty, and I'd second the egg wash. Either that or a milk/sugar wash.

July 27, 2008 9:20 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Thanks for the suggestions everybody. On covered or lattice crusts, I usually do milk and sugar, but that seemed like it might be weird on this one. I'll give it a try next time.

This one turned out pretty good -- I used about 5 and a half cups of peaches, so it was solid dense fruit the whole way through. I can't say the vanilla sugar really did anything for me -- I think the peachiness was just too dominant. Also, I just noticed the skins -- they detracted a little bit, but not enough to make me go through the hassle of peeling peaches next time.

July 28, 2008 7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I made a blueberry crumble last night, and also had a problem with the crumble topping not browning properly. An idea hit me this morning, based on your crust-grating: why not grate the butter over the top, rather than dotting? The parts dotted with butter always get plenty brown so grating the butter could result in more even coverage and more browning.

Just a thought.


July 31, 2008 9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tried the butter-grating with the crumble worked like a charm.


July 31, 2008 12:29 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Well goddamn, LJ, that's some innovation! I'll certainly try it next time.

July 31, 2008 12:34 PM  
Blogger Lancashire rose said...

You are quite the baker. I always used lard for pastry. When we lived in Canada they had great lard called Tenderflake. The lard here is rather grey looking- or have you found some good lard. I always start my pies out at 425 until the top browns then reduce the temp. Try that. Usually egg wash is reserved for savory pies but that would also do the trick.

August 2, 2008 10:00 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

I've only ever used the cheap supermarket stuff so I should really try to find something nicer sometime.

There was an article in the NY Times a while back where the author tried all sorts of different fats that worked well. I think duck fat was one of the best.

We do have a nice jar of bacon drippings sitting here by the stove ...

August 4, 2008 8:09 AM  

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