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
unsalted butter, cold and cubed (2 sticks)
ice cold water
apple cider vinegar
ground star anise
Whiskey Peach Blueberry Pie
blueberry (fresh or frozen, but I use fresh)
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
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.