Friday, September 14, 2012

Peach Pie

Oh yeah, I made that from scratch myself....and with my bare hands I might add. If you've had the chance to read Making Piece by Beth Howard or if you follow her blog, then you know that she always makes her pie crust by hand, never using a food processor for help. That, you might say, is what's so special about her pies.

I started reading Beth's book last Tuesday and was finished by Thursday afternoon. That's how good it was! I was seriously in tears within the first 30 pages of the book. Can you imagine practically living apart from your husband for several years because of his busy career, wanting nothing more than to spend time with him but realizing he was never going to slow down unless; you got it, ask for a divorce. You don't want this divorce and neither does your husband, but you're going through with it. Seven hours before he's to sign the papers, you find out that your husband has died. Gone. You don't get the chance to tell him you love him one more time, you don't want this divorce, you just want him to spend more time with you. That's part of Beth's story and how she ended up here in Iowa living in the American Gothic House and opened up the Pitchfork Pie Stand.

I absolutely loved, loved her story! I enjoy following her facebook page and keeping up with everything that's going on with her pie stand. I can't recommend this book enough, it's up at the top of my list of favorites and I'm excited to see what else Beth has in store for her readers.

Back to this pie, as soon as I finished this book, I found myself dying to make a pie. I think anyone that reads her story will feel the same way. I had peach pie in mind. I make pies a few times a year, mostly apple and pumpkin around Thanksgiving, but I've never tried making a homemade peach pie. There happened to be a recipe in the back of the book, so it was decided, I was making peach pie.

Beth talks about how she literally makes her pies by hand, mixing the dough with her bare hands. She doesn't use a food processor to make the crust or even a pastry blender. I always use my food processor when I make my crust, it's just so easy. But I was determined to use my hands this time. I was surprised by really how easy it is! It's messy, but very easy and I think I'll always make my pie crust this way from now on.

Using just a few ingredients: flour, pinch of salt, butter and shortening, it's very easy to make your own pie crust. I used my hands to massage it all together to form lumps.

Then using ice cold water, slowly add in small amounts and work into the dough with your hands. I ended up using about 1/2 cup. Divide your dough into 2 balls and you're ready to roll out your pie crust. I've always chilled my dough before using, but Beth says it's not necessary. It was great to have my dough made up, rolled out, and pie in the oven within 20 minutes or so.

We enjoyed a slice of this heavenly pie after dinner last night. It was wonderful! I hope you'll take the time to read Making Piece and make your own pie afterwards, handmade of course!

Peach Pie

For pie crust:
2 1/2 c flour (have extra on hand for rolling out dough)
1/2 c butter, cold
1/2 c vegetable shortening, such as Crisco
Pinch of salt
Ice water (I used about 1/2 c, only use enough to moisten dough)

Pie filling:
8 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced into pie crust
1 c sugar
2 tbsp flour
1/4 c tapioca
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 beaten egg
Additional cinnamon and sugar to sprinkle on top of crust before baking

To make pie dough: Add flour and salt to a large bowl, cut butter into cubes and add in bowl, along with shortening. Using your hands work all ingredients together until you get marble-sized lumps. Pour in ice water just a little at a time, you'll sort of fluff the flour mixture into the liquid. When dough feels moist and is able to hold together by doing a squeeze test, it's ready. Be careful not to overwork the dough! Divide dough into 2 balls. Form each ball into a disc. Sprinkle a good amount of flour onto your rolling surface to keep dough from sticking, roll flat and thin to fit your pie plate. Trim excess dough around the edges with scissors so that it's about 1 inch wider than the dish edge.

Fill the prepared pie plate with slice peaches. Sprinkle sugar, flour, tapioca and cinnamon over top of peaches. Add the top crust and brush with egg. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon and sugar if desired. Bake at 425 for 20 mins, just until crust is set. Then reduce temp to 350 and bake for another 40 mins, until peaches are done. Insert fork in middle of pie, if peaches don't cling to fork, then it's done.

Recipe adapted slightly from: Making Piece: a memoir of love, loss and pie

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