Thursday, April 10, 2014

Addy's Peach Pie

The secrets of making a good pie crust will be revealed!

I know I've kind of fallen off the face of the earth around here over the last week or so. You can blame a certain Marvel movie for that - and if you haven't seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier yet, what are you doing? Go see it! - because this is the first time one of my genuine favorite characters of all time has had a more central role in the film, and not been entirely unrecognizable. You go, Bucky! Now if only DC would give me the Nightwing movie I've been waiting for my whole life.

Anyway, last Friday was not only the premiere of my new favorite movie, but also my grandfather's 80th birthday! I've mentioned before that he is quite the fan of pie, and since his birthday and Addy's are relatively close together (Addy's was on the 9th), I decided I couldn't pass up this opportunity to give piemaking another shot!

Even if I was more than a little intimidated by the process.

Pie has given me some difficulty before. You may remember the apple pie I made a couple months ago had a pretty dissatisfying crust, so I was a little on the fence about my ability to make a good pie at all. Addy has a cherry pie for her birthday in Happy Birthday, Addy! but since I just recently made a cherry cobbler, I decided to go for peaches instead. I also happen to like peach pie better than cherry anyway, so maybe there was some other motivation at work here.

Apparently, the trick to making a good pie crust is using cold shortening, not just ice cold water. I left mine in the fridge for a while before making the crust, and tried not to handle it too much when I was mixing everything together. I did break down and start using my hands eventually, but just for a little bit to make sure the dough ball had formed a little better. I have to admit, I did really notice the difference in terms of how flaky this dough seemed compared to the one I made for the apple pie, which felt more like a normal cookie dough in terms of consistency.

I divided the dough into two balls, flattened them slightly (a trick I learned from Food Network), wrapped them and put them in the fridge for a while. You can get away with leaving them in for at least half an hour, but it's definitely okay to sit for a while longer if you want to make your dough well in advance. Just don't, you know, forget about it and then try to make pie with it months later, I can't guarantee that won't end in a trip to the hospital.

For the filling, I used a combination of canned and frozen peaches. The frozen ones I left out in a colander over a bowl to thaw for a while, and once they were less rock solid (some microwaving helped once I got impatient), I tried to drain off the rest of the liquid and mixed in the canned peaches.

Then came sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and some flour to help act as a binding agent. This definitely looked a little thicker than the filling I made for my apple pie, but that might also have been because I added slightly more than the recommended amount of flour because I panicked that the filling would once again be too watery and rip the bottom of the pie crust apart.

The rest of this pie's assembly goes pretty much the same way as any pie's does, although this time I tried to get more creative with the vents.

... In that they are holes this time instead of just slashes, but hey, it's going to take me a while before I can really get super fancy with this stuff. It's only my second pie.

Another tip I learned from Food Network: stick a cookie sheet in the oven while it's heating up and put the pie on top of it once you're ready to bake it. The hot pan underneath will help cook the bottom of the pie crust so it doesn't get soggy and gross on you.

I'm really happy to report that it actually worked! The pie came out looking and smelling great. Some of the juices bubbled up over the side, but I still think the end result looks pretty, if a little... in need of some Claritin? Or a Kleenex?

It got tucked away in a basket, and off we went!

I don't know what it was about this experience that was so much less stressful than my first attempt at pie making. Maybe the fact that I expected it to be a disaster helped keep me calmer about my own expectations, or maybe I just put too much faith in various Food Network stars to never lead me wrong when it comes to exploring the kitchen. In either case, the pie was pretty tasty, and I think it was a hit with my taste testers, too.

If nothing else, this was a great learning experience and has made pies something I'm much more willing to attempt in the future. Hopefully, some of these techniques will help you out in your own cooking endeavors!

And here's hoping this success is a good sign of things to come!


  1. That looks great! Way better pie making than I can do and happy birthday to your Grandpa!

    Wasn't The Winter Soldier AMAZING!? I loved it!

    1. It was incredible! I've maybe seen it six times, I may have a problem.

  2. Pie crusts are a PAIN. But as the Pie Person in my family, I offer you the tip to keep some ice water beside you and to touch your fingers in it every so often. I use my hands for better control, but only break my shortening/butter pieces down into about peasize when I'm mixing it all together and then keep my hands cold and go as quickly as possible. You did a gorgeous job and happy birthday to your grandpa!

    1. Thanks for the tip, that sounds super useful! I'll be sure to try it out next time I make a pie. c:

  3. Yes, cold shortening is a must! Use ice water if you need to mend torn pie crust. And I find that using a glass pie pan works better than a shiny aluminum one when it comes to making sure that the bottom crust is browned. Before you know it, you're going to be a pie making pro!

    1. Awesome, thank you! I guess I'll need to invest in a glass pie pan. c: