Peach Pie

Peach PieY’all, I have never wanted Peach Pie in my life—cooked stone fruit has never been a favorite of mine. But after making Blackberry Pie in Maine and coming home to ripe peaches in the markets, I just had to make one. What can I say? I love to make pie.

Peach PieBaking with peaches isn’t quite as simple as just slicing up ripe fruit and crimping some pie dough. For one thing, if you find perfectly ripe, fragrant peaches, please just eat them as-is. There is very little more delicious. Plus, perfectly ripe peaches might make for an overly juicy pie.

For pie, you’ll need peaches that are just barely ripe. You certainly don’t want them to be overly soft, and they shouldn’t have any dark spots. They should have a little give if you squeeze them lightly, and they should be a little fragrant. Good pie peaches can be difficult to find—I recommend buying some that aren’t quite ready for eating and keeping them in a paper bag for a day or two, just until they are a little soft. This recipe only requires about eight peaches, but I usually buy a few extra since they are so delicate and temperamental.

Peach PieNow, let’s talk about pie. First things first—make yourself some pie dough. I’m partial to this whole wheat version right now. Put your dough in the fridge to chill and then peel all those peaches.

Peach PiePeach PieAgain, peaches are fussy. Peeling them isn’t as simple as breaking out a vegetable peeler or a paring knife—both of those will remove a ton of fruit along with the skin. The best way to peel peaches is to blanch and shock them. If you’ve never heard those terms, they basically mean boiling briefly and then plunging them into ice water to stop the cooking immediately.

Peach PieTo do this, start by cutting an “x” into the bottom of each peach. This will loosen the skin a bit and make it easier to remove.

Peach PieBoil each one for about 30 seconds before plunging it into ice water.

Peach PieOnce you can handle the fruit, use your fingers to start peeling at the “x.”

Peach PieThen slice them up! Aren’t they beautiful?

Peach PieAfter the peaches are peeled and sliced, this pie is a breeze. Toss the fruit with dark brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, and just hint of cinnamon and nutmeg. Peaches don’t need much to be delicious.

Let the filling sit for a few minutes to release any excess juice before transferring it into the bottom crust. Drape more crust over the top, then crimp and vent it before giving it a brush of egg wash and a good sprinkle of sugar. Bake your pie for about 45 minutes and let it cool to room temperature before slicing it up and serving it a la mode. I found Gifford’s Maine Wild Blueberry Ice Cream at Fairway the day after we returned from vacation 💙💙💙

Peach PieYeah, I take back everything I’ve ever said about not liking cooked stone fruit. This is a Peach Pie worth craving.Peach Pie

Peach Pie
makes one 9-inch standard pie

2 1/2-3 pounds whole fresh yellow peaches (about 8 medium peaches)
1 recipe Whole Wheat Pie Dough, or other good crust
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
3-4 tablespoons cornstarch, depending on juiciness of peaches

Egg Wash:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water

For Serving:
ice cream

Peel the peaches. Fill a 4-6 quart pot with water and bring it to a rolling boil. Fill a medium-large mixing bowl with ice water. Use a paring knife to cut a small “x” into the bottom of each peach. Blanch peach individually in boiling water for 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to remove it from the pot and plunge it into the ice water for 15-30 seconds, or until they can be handled. Remove the peach from the water and continue with all remaining fruit. Starting at the “x,” use your fingers to peel peaches. Once all peaches are peeled, pit and slice them. 

Preheat oven to 375F. On a floured surface, roll out one disc of pie dough to a 12-inch diameter and fit it in the pan. Trim the edges to 1/2-inch of overhang. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

In a large mixing bowl, combine peach slices, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cornstarch. Let sit 10 minutes to release some liquid. Transfer filling to prepared crust, leaving behind any excess liquid (there may be a lot). Refrigerate while you roll out the top crust.

On a floured surface, roll the remaining disc of pie dough to a 12-inch diameter. Lay it over the peach filling. Trim the overhang to 1/2-inch and crimp the edges. Use a small, thin knife to cut vents in the top crust.

Make the egg wash. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together egg and water. Use a pastry brush to brush the entire exposed crust with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 45-50 minutes, tenting with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly.

Let pie cool completely on a rack. Slice and serve with ice cream, if desired.

Pie will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Blackberry Pie

Blackberry PieI hope you have a place like Swans Island.

Blackberry PieI don’t necessarily mean an island off the coast of Maine with one store and a population of 300 (but I highly recommend it). I mean a place that you find endlessly enchanting. For my parents, it’s Santa Fe. For my older sister, it’s Isla Mujeres, Mexico. For me, it’s this little island four miles out to sea. I just can’t get enough.

Blackberry PieThe appeal of this place isn’t the broad spectrum of activities—in fact, it’s the opposite that keeps me counting the days between trips. Whereas in New York I am constantly bombarded with people and noise and tasks that must be dealt with right-this-second, on Swans Island, a car passes the house once every ten minutes, the only consistent sound is that of a bell on a lobster boat floating a mile away, and there is literally nothing I have to do. As Swans Island has limited phone and internet access too, this is a place where it really is possible to get away from it all.

Blackberry PieBlackberry PieFaced with a lack of activities, each of my friends and I have found ways to pass the time. Almost all of the things we do together (hiking, beaching, cooking, etc.) take place in the afternoons, so we each have to find a way to while away the mornings. Adam has been tearing through a book, VJ has put together 2.5 puzzles, and I have been wandering the sides of the road with a saucepan in hand, foraging for berries.

Blackberry PieThe last time I was here, I found mostly blueberries and raspberries—Blue-Razz Pie was the result. This time, the vast majority of the berries have been blackberries, so Blackberry Pie it is.

Blackberry PieBlackberry PieBlackberry PieThis pie, y’all. It’s made with my Whole Wheat Pie Dough and a super simple blackberry filling. Just fold some sugar, cinnamon, lime, and cornstarch into a few cups of fresh blackberries and it’s good to go. Now you can concentrate on the top crust.

Blackberry PieWhile you may top your pie however you like, may I suggest a lattice? They’re very easy and I love all the pockets of blackberry filling that peek through. Start by laying a few strips of dough parallel across the top of the filling. I cut my strips in different widths because I think it’s cute.

Blackberry PiePeel back a couple of the strips of dough and lay one perpendicularly across the filling. Then place all the strips back in their original positions.

Blackberry PiePull up the strips you didn’t move the first time and lay another strip across. Keep doing this until you don’t have any room left.

Blackberry PieBlackberry PieBlackberry PieCrimp the crust, brush it with egg wash, and give it a good sprinkle of sugar.Blackberry PieBlackberry Pie

Bake until beautiful and serve a la mode.Blackberry PieBlackberry Pie

Share with friends and definitely go back for seconds. It’s vacation, after all.Blackberry PieBlackberry Pie

Blackberry Pie
makes one 9-inch standard pie

1 recipe Whole Wheat Pie Dough or other good crust
4 cups fresh blackberries
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3-4 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
juice of 1/2 lime

Egg Wash:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
sugar, for sprinkling

On a floured surface, roll out one disc of pie dough to a 12-inch diameter and fit it in the pan. Trim the edges to 1/2-inch of overhang. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

In a large mixing bowl, combine blackberries, sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, salt, and lime. Fold with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until everything is evenly coated. Transfer filling to prepared crust, discarding any excess liquid. Refrigerate.

On a floured surface, roll out the other disc of pie dough to a 12-inch diameter. If you’d like a lattice crust, slice the rolled dough into strips (see photos above for instructions). If you want a full top crust, lay the rolled-out dough on top of the filling and cut a few vents. Trim the edges to 1/2-inch of overhang, and crimp the top and bottom crust edges together. Refrigerate.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Make the egg wash. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together egg and water. Use a pastry brush to brush the entire exposed crust with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 45-50 minutes, tenting with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly.

Let pie cool completely on a rack. Slice and serve with ice cream, if desired.

Pie will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Strawberry Rhubarb Galette

Strawberry Rhubarb GaletteMy mother is not a baker. If the main ingredients in a recipe are flour, sugar, and butter, she’ll pass or politely ask someone else to make it. That’s why I found it so funny when Shari’s Berries asked me to pass along this Mother’s Day post featuring baking advice from the mothers of popular food bloggers, including Sally of Sally’s Baking Addiction and Michelle from Brown Eyed Baker. Their mothers impart some great advice–my favorite is “Don’t be afraid to mess up!” from Yossi Arefi’s mom. That’s great advice for life in general.

Strawberry Rhubarb GaletteWhen I first got into baking, my mom was left scratching her head. She’s a great cook, but baking just frustrates her. How I grew up to be a baker, I don’t know. It’s probably some sort of cosmic middle child joke.

I have seen my mother bake exactly one thing: a classic cherry-pineapple dump cake. Except that my mother, ever a lady, would never serve something called “dump cake.” Instead she takes a tip from her mother, tops it with vanilla ice cream, and calls it “Simply Delicious.” That’s what it is, after all. I guess my mom’s lone piece of baking advice–besides “don’t”–would be that if you don’t like the name of your dessert, change it.

Strawberry Rhubarb GaletteStrawberry Rhubarb GaletteStrawberry Rhubarb GaletteNo, my mother is not a baker. But when all is said and done, my mom and I, we’re not so different. For one, we’re both caretakers by nature. We express love in acts of service which, incidentally, is also the form in which we receive love. If you mention to my mom that you are struggling with something, she’ll be right there with you, trying to figure it out. If she perceives that you are overwhelmed, she’ll send you flowers or a goofy card. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t occasionally neglect her own needs and make herself crazy because she’s trying to help someone else–that’s something that her mother did before she did and a habit of mine as well. 

Just know that if my mom does you a favor or sends you a gift or calls at 11pm on a Wednesday just because she wants to say hello, it’s because she really values you. And if I make you a pie and put it on the internet for a holiday we can’t even celebrate together, know that it’s because I really value you.

Strawberry Rhubarb GaletteStrawberry Rhubarb GaletteStrawberry Rhubarb GaletteStrawberry Rhubarb GaletteAnother way my mother and I are alike? We both prefer fruit desserts over chocolate.* When I started planning what I’d make for my Mother’s Day post, I really thought about what my mom would like to eat. Strawberry rhubarb pie quickly came to mind, with a whole wheat crust, because my mom will take extra nutrition anywhere she can get it, even in dessert.

*Know that my little sister is rolling her eyes as she reads this.

Strawberry Rhubarb GaletteInstead of making pie, something that my mom would literally never attempt, I went for a simple, rustic Strawberry Rhubarb Galette. Free-form pies are definitely my mom’s style. There’s no crimping or anything–just lay the rolled dough on a baking sheet, pile the filling in the middle, and gather it all together with your hands. Bake it for 45 minutes and let it cool before serving.

My mom, a self-proclaimed vanilla person, would insist on a scoop of vanilla ice cream to go with her slice of this sweet-tart classic dessert. I would too. My mom and I–we’re more alike than we are different.Strawberry Rhubarb GaletteStrawberry Rhubarb Galette

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I love you waaaaay more than chocolate. XOXO

Strawberry Rhubarb Galette
makes 1 galette, 8 servings

2 cups fresh strawberries, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 16 ounces)
1 cup fresh rhubarb, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1-2 stalks)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
1/2 recipe Whole Wheat Pie Dough, or other good crust
milk, for brushing
1 tablespoon coarse sugar, for sprinkling (I used turbinado)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
vanilla ice cream, for serving, if desired

Arrange oven racks in the upper and lower positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Combine strawberries and rhubarb in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, ginger, nutmeg, salt, cornstarch, and lime juice. Stir together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon and let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Roll pie dough out until it is 1/8-inch thick. Trim scraggly edges, if desired. Transfer to prepared pan. Use a slotted spoon to remove strawberry rhubarb filling from the bowl, leaving behind excess liquid. Mound filling in the middle of the dough, leaving at least 2 inches of excess on all sides. Fold dough over the sides of the filling, to contain it. Brush exposed crust with milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Dot exposed filling with butter.

Bake galette on the upper rack for 25 minutes. Tent galette with aluminum foil and move to the lower rack. Bake for 20-25 more minutes. Crust will firm up as the galette cools.

Let galette cool completely in the pan on a rack. Remove to a cutting board. Slice and serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Pie will keep covered at room temperature for three days, or in the refrigerator for up to four.

Whole Wheat Pie Dough

Whole Wheat Pie DoughI have a lot of feelings about pie crust. Namely, that it should be easy, homemade, have defined flaky layers, and be insanely delicious. No hard, crunchy, cardboard-flavored crusts for me, thanks.

Whole Wheat Pie DoughWhole Wheat Pie DoughNow, I have a pie crust that is all these things and more. Yes, my Cream Cheese Pie Dough is perfection, as far as I’m concerned. And what’s not to love? The dough is simple to make and never, ever tears during rolling. It goes well with sweet and savory applications. It has so many layers that I have had friends comment that it’s akin to having a pie wrapped in croissant dough. And it really is delicious.

I could go on and on about that crust all day. Really, I could. But as much as I love it, sometimes I just need a change.

Whole Wheat Pie DoughWhole Wheat Pie DoughEnter this Whole Wheat Pie Dough. It has all the ease, flakiness, and versatility of my beloved Cream Cheese Pie Dough, but with a rich whole wheat flavor. It might sound a little odd, the idea of a pie made with a whole grain crust, but trust me when I say that it’s shockingly good. The combination of sweet, jammy fruit and nubbly wheat crust–let’s just say it’s the dessert you never knew you wanted.

If you don’t believe me, just wait–I have a Strawberry Rhubarb Galette coming your way tomorrow 😊🍓Whole Wheat Pie Dough

Whole Wheat Pie Dough
makes two 9-inch pie crusts

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes
2/3-3/4 cup buttermilk, very cold

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add cold butter, and use a handheld pastry blender to cut it into the dry ingredients until the smallest pieces are the size of large peas. Pour in 1/2 cup cold buttermilk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until clumps form. Add more buttermilk by the tablespoon, as necessary. Put your hands* in the bowl to knead the mixture until it comes together. Form the dough into two discs, and wrap them individually in plastic wrap. Chill for one hour, or up to two days.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Take one disc of dough out of the refrigerator, unwrap it, and place it on the surface. Press the dough with the rolling pin. Roll it in one direction 3-4 times, and then turn it 90 degrees. Roll in one direction 3-4 times. Repeat rolling and turning until dough is at least 12 inches in diameter, dusting with more flour as necessary to prevent sticking.

Fold dough in quarters, and place in a pie plate with the scraggly edges hanging over the outside of the pan. Unfold the dough to fill the pan. Trim the excess to 1/2 inch. Fill crust with filling and chill for at least 15 minutes. From here, there are two options.

For a single crust pie, crimp the edges, and brush them with additional buttermilk. and bake at 375F for 45 minutes to one hour, covering the crust with foil halfway through. Let cool at least three hours.

For a double crust pie, roll out the top crust the same way that you did the bottom crust. Cut into strips for a lattice,* or leave whole to cover the whole pie. Trim the excess to 1/2 inch. Crimp the edges, then chill for 15 minutes. Brush the crust with additional buttermilk. Cut vents if the top crust is whole. Bake at 375F for 45 minutes to one hour. Let cool for at least three hours.

Notes:

If your hands are warm, run them under cold water for thirty seconds (and then dry them) before kneading.

Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut Cream PieHappy Pi(e) Day! Oh yes, it’s that one glorious day where we celebrate math (Pi = 3.14) and everyone’s favorite dessert.

When I started thinking about what pie I would celebrate with, it was 65 degrees and sunny outside. Coconut Cream Pie sounded ideal for those conditions. Today, it’s snowing. Coconut Cream Pie still sounds ideal.

Coconut Cream PieThere are many coconut cream pie recipes on the internet, and while I’m sure they are delicious, I am not necessarily interested in making a pie out of boxed pudding mix and cream cheese. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for anything that gets you in the kitchen to make a pie, but when I want Coconut Cream Pie, I skip the pudding mix and reach straight for my second-edition copy of Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book. The book may be held together with tape and prayer, but it is a treasure. Not only does it give the reader a look into how Americans used to eat (so. much. gelatin.), it also contains tons of fantastic old-fashioned desserts that are rarely made from scratch these days.

Coconut Cream PieThis Coconut Cream Pie tastes every bit as good as the pies my grandma used to make. It starts by blitzing a graham cracker crust together in a food processor. Press that into a pie plate and bake it for ten minutes, just to set. Then turn off your oven–that’s all the baking this pie requires.

The filling comes together on the stovetop. Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt, and milk over medium-high until the mixture thickens and boils for one minute. Slowly whisk 1/3 of the mixture into a few egg yolks (so you don’t have scrambled eggs in your pie–gross). Add the mixture back to the pot and let boil for two more minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in vanilla and coconut extracts, followed by two tablespoons of butter. Fold in some sweetened shredded coconut and scrape the filling into the crust. Cover it with plastic wrap and chill for a few hours. This will be agony.Coconut Cream Pie

Once the filling is set, top it with some whipped cream and toasted coconut. Slice up your pie and prepare to fall in love with it. The crumbly, crunchy graham cracker crust. The creamy, coconut-studded filling. The light, sweet layer of whipped cream. What’s not to love?!

Coconut Cream PieLooking for more old-fashioned pies? Check out this Chocolate Cream Pie and this Lemon Meringue Pie!

Coconut Cream Pie
adapted from Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book
makes one 9-inch standard pie

Crust:
9 sheets graham crackers
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon coconut extract (optional, but recommended)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Topping:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2-3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
toasted coconut, for topping (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Make the crust. Place graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and process until no large pieces remain. Add light brown sugar, melted butter, and salt. Process until the mixture resembles wet sand, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch standard pie plate and use clean hands to press the mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake crust for 10 minutes. Cool it on a rack while you prepare the filling.

In a medium-large saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Place the pan over medium-high heat. Whisking constantly, pour the milk into the dry ingredients. Continue to whisk until the mixture boils for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low.

Whisk egg yolks with a fork. Remove 1/3 of the warm pudding mixture from the pot. Whisking constantly, slowly pour milk mixture into the egg yolks until completely combined. Add egg yolk mixture to the pot and turn heat back up to medium-high. Continue to whisk until mixture boils for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in vanilla and coconut extracts and butter. Fold in coconut. Pour filling into prepared crust. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and chill for at least four hours or overnight.

Make the whipped cream. In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla. Use an electric mixer to whip cream until stiff peaks form. Top pie with whipped cream. Top with toasted coconut, if desired.

Pie will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.