Pie is one of those things that I’ve always been afraid to make. Is that just me? Maybe it’s because I like to EAT pie so much so I’m afraid of making a subpar pie. And then I’d have to eat that less than great pie. Is that a thing that other people worry about? Is that just me? Don’t tell me if it is. I’ve always thought it was just easier to eat someone else’s pie.
I’m here to tell you that I’ve swallowed my pie-related fears and I’ve been practicing. I’ve made a few, but this is by far the best. It’s like the fading last few days of summer baked into a pie pan inside of a flaky, buttery crust. It showcases the stone fruits that I love about this part of the year in the best way. It’s not too sweet, but just right. Goldilocks would be all about this pie.
The thing about making pie crust is that you have to be patient. You can’t make the dough cool down any faster. You can’t rush rolling it out or pressing it into the pan. It takes concentration and solitude the first few times. It demands deep breaths and a little bit of love. So put on your cutest apron and most comfortable shoes and let’s get down to business!
For the crust:
adapted from Joy the Baker and Mastering the Art of French Cooking
2 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks) very cold and cut into cubes
6 and 1/2 tablespoons ice cold water
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (makes the crust flaky, trust it)
Start by cutting the butter into cubes. I’ve found that nicer butter is better. Isn’t that such a pain? It’s more expensive, but if you want your pie to wow people, it helps. I get Kerrygold butter from Trader Joe’s (it’s about $2.50 for the equivalent of 2 sticks). Then, combine the water with the apple cider vinegar and put both into the refrigerator. Okay, now combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk gently. Check to be sure that your butter cubes are very cold. Like I said before, don’t rush it. When it’s ready, quickly incorporate the butter into the flour mixture using your fingers or a pastry cutter. Work on it until the largest pieces of butter are no larger than peas. Make a well in the center and pour in the water/vinegar mixture (should be very cold). Using a fork, incorporate the wet into the dry. When the flour isn’t loose anymore, turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. It should be very shaggy and wet, that’s okay! Divide the dough in half and gently knead each ball until it’s cohesive and smooth. Flatten each ball and wrap them in plastic wrap. Put both balls into the refrigerator for one hour. A whole hour, yes. Don’t be impatient.
adapted from Joy the Baker
4 large or 3 medium sized peaches, ripe and flavorful, sliced
5 or 6 plums, ripe and flavorful, sliced
3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (or 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 egg, beaten, for the top of the pie
extra cinnamon and sugar for topping
Chop all the peaches and plums. I generally like thinner slices rather than big chunky pieces, but that’s just me. You choose. Cut them up, however you please. Then, toss them with everything else. Put them in the refrigerator to hang out together while you wait for the pie crust to be done chilling. You could wash dishes while you wait. Or you could be like me and drink a beer and watch 30 Rock for a few minutes. Thank you, Netflix!
When your hour is up, take out a 9″ pie pan, and butter the bottom and sides. Then, take one of your dough discs out of the refrigerator and put it onto a well-floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin (or a straight glass), roll the dough disc out as round as possible. I’m still working on the round part, so don’t stress if you’re not so great at that. Just get it into the pan with the edges hanging over. No matter how much. Once the bottom layer is in the pan, gently pour the fruit mixture into the center of the pan.
Next, take the second disc of dough out of the fridge and roll that one out exactly the same way. Carefully place it on top of the pie filling. Trim the edges of both layers of crust, then use a fork or your fingers to crimp the two layers together. Make it pretty! Last, cut several lines in the top of the pie to allow it to vent while it cooks, then gently brush a beaten egg on the top. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar.
Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 for 40-50 minutes. Your time might be a little different, but it’s done when the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Let it sit for 2 hours or so before eating. You really just want it to be warm. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream.
This pie should make you feel accomplished and competent. You just made a pie! From scratch! With flour and fruit and a rolling pin! Savor those last few warm days of the year with this pie–it’s so worth the work.