Peach & Plum End of Summer Pie

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.

For the pie filling:

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.




Raspberry Peach Potstickers with a Balsamic Reduction

You know about potstickers with your Chinese takeout. Maybe they’re pork ones, or veggie ones. But have you ever had dessert potstickers? These peach raspberry potstickers might be the best thing I’ve ever thought of. Wonton wrappers belong in dessert. You might not know it right now, but it’s true.

You’ll need peaches and raspberries, obviously. I only used a half of a peach and a handful of raspberries. Each potsticker doesn’t require much filling. You’ll also need wonton wrappers, honey, lemon zest, sugar, and water.

Wonton wrappers are in a weird place in the grocery store… usually with the bagged lettuce. I think it’s because they have to be cold but not frozen and they aren’t dairy things. Anyway, be prepared to search. Just a heads up. Let’s talk folding technique.

There are a TON of ways to fold these things, so really, just do your thing. If you want to do it this way, you’ll want to put a blob in one corner, but not too close to the edges. Using a pastry brush, put some water on the edges of the half of the wonton wrapper with the filling, then fold it over. Last, bring up the two corners and stick them together with another drop of water.

See! They make the cutest little pockets.

Here’s the recipe:

half of a peach, peeled and diced

a handful of raspberries

1 T to 1/4 cup of sugar (depending on how sweet your fruit is)

1 T honey

zest of half a lemon

Put everything in a bowl and squish it. Really well. Then, put the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer. Try to squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Now that the mixture isn’t so wet, put in back in a bowl and start making your little pockets. When you’re done, heat 2 teaspoons of  coconut oil in a skillet until it’s shiny. Drop the potstickers in the oil and put a lid on them. Leave them alone for 4-5 minutes. Take them off the heat and use a spatula to scrape them off the bottom of the pan. If they stick, don’t worry–they’re potstickers! Just try to get them out in one piece.

For the balsamic reduction:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 T honey

2 t sugar (or brown sugar)

In a small pot, bring the vinegar to a boil. Then, pour in the sugar and honey and let it simmer until about 3/4 of the liquid has evaporated. Take it off the heat and let it cool. When it’s done, it’ll be a little thinner than syrup.

Serve potstickers warm and drizzle the balsamic reduction over the top. If you don’t want to cook all the potstickers at once, they freeze really well. Just spread them out on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer until they’re solid, then throw them in a bag. Just defrost them before you throw them in a pan. If you made your potstickers like mine, they look really neat in rows.