I know I just made a big fuss about how peaches are really best fresh, and I still stand by that claim. But I made a pretty awesome peach and ginger pie this weekend that I really need to tell you about (minus the slight burning around the edges. Um, just ignore that. Damn half oven).
I still had all those peaches left over from peach picking, and I knew that I wanted to try my hand at pie crust (aka pâte brisée) again. After all, with baking practice really does make perfect, and the more I work on my pâte brisée, the more I understand how it works and what I’m looking for.
I used a pie recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Pie and Pastry Bible, but I kicked it up with some fresh ginger. This ended up being a great move – the ginger helps cut through the sweetness of the cooked peaches, and the spiciness somehow helps the peaches retain some of their fresh peachy flavor. I also cut back on the sugar, relying instead on the natural sweetness of the fruit to shine through.
Now, you may see all these directions to refrigerate the pie crust, and think that it’s being overly fussy. But believe me – all that refrigeration is the secret to a perfect, flaky, pie crust. Allowing the dough to rest helps relax any gluten that forms when you handle the dough. It also keeps the butter cold, which results in a flakier crust. So learn to love your refrigerator. You’ll be rewarded with better, flakier, lovelier pie – and that’s certainly worth the fuss.
Peach and Ginger Pie
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, By Julia Child, and The Pie and Pastry Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum
Makes one 9 inch pie
For the pie crust
2 cup (10 oz) flour
6 oz (1 1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 oz (4 tbs) vegetable shortening, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
Scant 1/2 cup iced water (plus a few more droplets, if needed, for sprinkling)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar (plus more for sprinkling)
For the filling
2 3/4 pounds peaches (about 8 medium), peeled, pitted, and sliced into 16ths
2 tbs grated fresh ginger
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup + 2 tbs (3 oz) sugar
4 tsp cornstarch
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tbs of water (for egg wash)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar. Freeze the flour mixture, butter, shortening, and the processor blade for 1/2 hour before using. Fit the blade on the processor, and then add the flour mixture, butter, and shortening to the bowl. Pulse a couple of time, in five second bursts – until the butter and shortening are the size of small peas. Sprinkle 1/4 cup plus 2 tbs the water over the flour mixture and pulse until the dough just comes together. If necessary, add more water one teaspoon at a time. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, divide in half, flatten each half into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Remove one disk of the dough from the refrigerator and roll between lightly floured pieces of parchment paper until 1/8 inch thick. Place in a lightly greased 9 inch pie pan and gently press into the corners and sides of the pan with your fingers. Trim off excess dough, leaving a 1/2 inch overhang. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to three hours.
Place peaches in a large bowl and sprinkle on the ginger, lemon juice, sugar and salt. Toss to coat evenly, and let macerate for at least 30 minutes, up to 1 hour. Place peaches in a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl and drain off the excess liquid – the peaches will release about a cup of liquid. Transfer peaches to a clean bowl and toss with the cornstarch until all of the cornstarch disappears.
Pour the liquid into a small saucepan and boil over high heat until syrupy and lightly caramelized – it will reduce to about 1/3 of a cup. Pour the syrup over the peaches, tossing gently. Transfer mixture to the empty pie shell.
Remove the second disk of dough from the refrigerator and roll between lightly floured pieces of parchment paper until 1/8 inch thick (it should be slightly larger than the diameter of the pie). Freeze for 20-30 minutes.
Remove from freezer and, using a ruler and straight edge, slice the dough into 1 inch strips. Place strips over pie in a lattice pattern. Cut off lattice excess so that it is even with the edge of the pan. Fold over overhang from the bottom, to form a neat edge. Crimp edges with a fork, or your fingers. Lightly brush lattice and crust with egg wash and sprinkle with extra sugar. To help relax the pastry and help the pie hold its shape, refrigerate for at least 1 hour before baking.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake pie for 40-50 minutes, until the juices in the center of the pie bubble thickly. If the crust begins to over-brown, wrap the edge in foil. Let pie cool on a rack at least 3 hours before serving.