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Author Notes: Star anise is a potent spice that can easily overpower any dish. I use it frequently when braising meats (such as hong shao rou – red braised pork belly) or making beef noodle soup. I learned about this spice from my mother. It’s a common spice used in Chinese cooking, and I think it adds a lot of complexity to a meat dish. I decided to use this flavor with my peach pie. However I had to be careful about the spice – it has to contribute a subtle flavor and not overpower the entire pie. I ended up grinding it up and incorporating it into the pie crust. It was perfect! The pie had a hint of star anise without overpowering the peach pie. Pie inspired by Four & Twenty Blackbird's paprika peach pie! —Betty
Star Anise Pie Crust
- 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed (2 sticks)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons sugar
- 3/4 cup ice cold water
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons ground star anise
- Prepare: Cube butter into 1cm pieces, and place it in a bowl in the freezer. I find that this allows the butter to get very cold before you work with it. Put the 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar into cold water, and place this into the freezer as well. Don’t worry about it freezing- you will use it before it can freeze. Using a coffee grinder or spice grinder, grind up 3-4 whole star anise pieces. Set aside.
- Combine flour, salt, sugar, and star anise.
- Take cold butter, and using a pastry cutter, fork, or fingers, work quickly and cut butter into dry ingredients. Pea size chunks will remain, and that’s completely fine.
- Take out cider vinegar / water mixture. Using tablespoons at a time, mix it into dry ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix or knead. Add the mixture gradually – you can always add more water, but you can’t take it out. The resulting dough should stick together but not be moist.
- Separate dough into two halves. Shape into disks and wrap with plastic wrap. Place in fridge. Let dough rest for at least 1 hour.
Whiskey Peach Blueberry Pie
- 6 peaches
- 1 cup blueberry (fresh or frozen, but I use fresh)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons corn starch
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons rye whiskey
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground star anise
- 1 egg, beaten
- Butter 9? pie dish. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough until it is about 2? larger than your pie dish. Place onto dish. Place in fridge until filling is ready.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cut an X onto the bottom of each peach. Have a large pot of ice cold water ready. Place peaches in for 30-60 seconds. Immediately place in ice water and let them cool. When cooled, you should be able to easily peel the skin off from the X.
- Cut peaches to 0.5-1 cm thick slices.
- Mix dry ingredients (sugar, brown sugar, corn starch, dry anise, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, salt, black pepper).
- Combine peach slices and blueberries with lemon juice. Add rye whiskey. Add dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Let stand for 10 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer filling onto prepared pie dish.
- Roll out other half of dough, and do a lattice or full crust (up to you), and crimp edges.
- Place in fridge for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425F.
- Brush pie with egg wash (1 egg lightly beaten with a splash of water) and sprinkle generously with demarara sugar.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until crust is light golden.
- Reduce heat to 375F, and bake for another 35-40 minutes, until filling is bubbly.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Picnic Recipe