BDB Peach Pie

BDB Peach Pie

Author Notes: As part of the Recipe Off-Roading series, I took Amanda Hesser's Peach Tart and got stuck in the mud. My biggest hurdle was that I was given this project to work on in Mid-Spring -- not a decent peach to be found for another two or three months, so I had to improvise. Then the improv wouldn't stop. And I ended up changing a lot: the crust, the fillings, the toppings.

In the end, while it's not Amanda's tart recipe, it's still stupid delicious. So here's the Back to the Drawing Board Peach Pie.
Jonathan Patrick

Serves: 8
Prep time: 1 hrs
Cook time: 40 min

Ingredients

For Stella Parks' No-Stress, Super-Flaky Pie Crust, with a twist

  • 8 ounces all-purpose flour, I used Gold Medal bleached flour (plus more for dusting)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 8 ounces very cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch (1.3cm) cubes. I used Land o Lakes Extra Creamy Butter, European Style Salted. ( I could go on a tangent about this amazing ingredient, which just has a higher milk fat content)
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) very cold water (you might not use all, or you might need more)
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (This would be optional, almond extract can be super strong, but I think this works well)
  • 2 ounces almond paste

The peach filling.

  • 3 15.2 Oz cans of peaches. In water, unsweetened (naturally or artificially)
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I was fortunate that I had toasted sugar. Remember that blind-bake experiment? Yeah, well at least there was some good out of that)
In This Recipe

Directions

For Stella Parks' No-Stress, Super-Flaky Pie Crust, with a twist

  1. (Note: this recipe makes two doughs. That means you can either make something else, or you can half the recipe). As Stella Parks suggests, your first step is to get everything together. Get your butter cubed, stick it in the fridge. Get your water measured, stick it in the fridge. Get your flour measured, add the salt, stick it in the fridge (yes, even the flour). Get your mixing bowl out. Get your whisk. Get your tart pan (I used a 9" pie pan, because of #tinykitchen). Your spatula (I used a fork), your rolling pin, your bench scraper, your new Rebecca Black CD, and clear the decks.
  2. Whisk the flour to incorporate your added salt well. Add the butter to the flour mixture. Working with little precision, squeeze the cubes, but only slightly. Aim for the thickness of a pea, about a quarter inch or so. The butter will crumble if it's good and cold, and that's great. But just work from one side of the bowl to the other squeezing each cube of butter. Give it a good toss and inspection. I also like to take a few handfuls of this mixture and just squeeze that too. Experienced shortcrust makers will feel this is wrong. It's pie crust, you're supposed to feel like you're doing something wrong.
  3. Smell the almond extract; remind yourself how powerful the odor is. Now, carefully measure and add the almond extract.
  4. Add about half of the water. Stir that in loosely, aiming for homogeneity. Note dry areas and either mix them into the wetter areas or add more water. I err on the side of caution with this step; if you over-hydrate the dough, you'll have a harder time later. Stop mixing well before it incorporates.
  5. Dump the unincorporated mixture on to your counter. Grab a handful of the dough and drag it on your counter, smearing it away from you. Scrap that off, set it aside. Do that to the entire dough. If you need a demonstration, you can youtube it: it's apparently called "frisage," which is great for incorporating the dough, without overworking it.
  6. Roll out the entire crust (even if you didn't half the recipe). Now we're going to fake laminate it. Cut your dough into squares, about the size of your palm. Now stack the squares. You'll have a pie crust in a cube (3.14^3). If you didn't half the recipe, cut this into two pieces. Wrap one up for safekeeping. Generously dust your work surface with flour and roll out your dough to the appropriate size, accounting for the sides of your dish. While rolling, I like to rotate the dough frequently, this will allow you to check for sticking, and to form a more even geometry. Now transfer to your dish (Either by folding it up and transferring, wrapping it around your rolling pin and unrolling, picking it up). I tried this recipe with and without a blind bake. I found that it was unnecessary.
  7. Using the same floured work surface, roll out the almond paste into a ring about the size of your tart (pie pan). Place it on top of the crust.
  8. Stick your pie dish in the freezer or fridge. Where ever you can find the room, really.

The peach filling.

  1. Drain the canned peaches very well. I used a strainer and added more flour and corn starch to manage the liquid, it wasn't enough. The canned peaches, while, after 40 minutes of baking, the difference in flavor wasn't too upsetting, the biggest issue was the moisture. Be sure to do what you can to remove that moisture.
  2. Add the flour and corn starch directly to the peaches. Mix that well.
  3. In a separate bowl. Add the remaining flour, sugar, almond extract (thinking of how strong it is) and the butter. Once again, pinch the butter. Form a sort of pebbly topping.
  4. Now we can assemble. Add the peaches to the pie pan. You're more than welcome to make them all facing the same direction, or to just make it "rustic" by dumping them in there.
  5. Top with the sugar mixture.
  6. Put the pie back into the fridge/freezer. Now you can preheat your oven to 425F (218C). Once that's ready, bake for 40 minutes. But check it after 20, because your crust can easily burn, so you'll want to wrap the edges with foil to keep that from happening. If that happens, take a sheet of foil and wrap the entire pie with foil. Cut an X in the foil, and peel back the center. The edges of the pie should be covered, with the center exposed.
  7. Eat this warm. With vanilla ice cream. Trying to save the dessert for tomorrow will only result in disappointment.

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