Does looking at a certain set of photos evoke certain memories for you? For me, I can look at a photo and be transported right back to the moment it was taken. Whether it be a wedding photo, a quick iphone snap during christmas chaos, or a day spent making pie in a close friend's kitchen.
This pie in particular was my favourite sort of baking - I met Jill at the farmer's market, and we sniffed all the peaches, and bought a couple of punnets of blueberries. Once we were back at her place we proceeded to completely destroy the kitchen as we raced the light to make and shoot as many recipes as I could. There was loads of laughter and mess, as there always is. And there was this pie. A simple crust, packed full of summer fruit at it's peak. Beautifully rustic, and amazingly delicious. Good fruit doesn't need much more than something to hold it all in, and a little bit of sweetness to elevate the flavour just a touch more. The day finished with dinner with Jill and her family, which is always hilarious. There's something about being amongst a family at a meal time - it's one of the things I miss the most about living so far away from mine, and I honestly don't have enough words to express how grateful I am that Jill has taken us into her family. Also, the food is always delicious, the mess is always predictable, and it's always guaranteed to be a special day in the kitchen.
When you have good fruit, making a pie should be a formula rather than a recipe. Fruit + pastry + starch + sweetener. All of these factors can be adjusted depending on the fruit - adjust the starch if your fruit is particularly juicy, tone down on the sweetness if the fruit is particularly ripe and sweet. Taste as you go, and adjust to what feels right - once you have made a few pies, you get your eye in, so you can look at the filling and know whether you need to add something to help soak up the juice, or leave some of the liquid behind when you transfer to the dish so that the bottom doesn't go soggy. I have included a recipe here, but if you are using fresh fruit, feel free to adjust both the starch level and the sweetness depending on the sort of fruit you are working with - sour berries can change the amount of sugar you need by up to half a cup. I suggest sticking with this crust though - it's a winner, my absolute fave.
A few wee notes:
Pie dough is best prepared the night before - I find that it makes it much easier to work with.
I peeled my peaches by boiling a large pot of water, and preparing an ice bath. I then scored a cross in the bottom of each peach, placed them in the boiling water for 20 seconds, then transferred immediately to the ice bath. The skins should slide right off.
Feel free to add whatever lattice / top to this you want - we went with a simple 'fattice'. (Fat lattice)
Peach and Blueberry Pie
- Makes one 9" pie -
Pie crust recipe from four and twenty blackbirds
2 1/2 cups (310g) Flour
Pinch of Salt
2 tsp (8g) sugar
2 sticks (226g) cold butter, cut into cubes
1 cup (240ml) cold water
1 cup ice
1/4 cup (60ml) Apple cider vinegar
1.5kg (about 3 pounds) fresh peaches, peeled and cut into segments
285g (1 pint) fresh blueberries
3/4 cup (150g) raw sugar
4 Tbsp Arrowroot powder
1 tsp vanilla paste
pinch of salt
Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
- PROCESS -
Place flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.
Combine ice, water and cider vinegar in a bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about 8-10 tbsp) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Shape into two discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Rest in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably overnight.
FILLING AND ASSEMBLY
On a lightly floured surface, roll one disc into a circle slightly larger than your pie dish. You want it to be approximately 1/8 inch (3mm) in thickness. Line a 9" pie dish, leaving the extra dough overhanging. Trim the dough so there is about 1 inch overlapping the edge of your dish. Place in the fridge while you prepare the filling and lattice.
Roll out the second disc of dough into a rough rectangle approximately 1/8 inch thick. Use a pastry cutter to cut strips approximately 1 inch wide - these will be used for your lattice.
In a large bowl, toss together the peach segments, blueberries, sugar, arrowroot, vanilla paste, and salt. Taste and adjust the sugar if necessary, depending on the sweetness of your fruit. If the filling seems especially wet, adjust the amount of arrowroot. Transfer the filling to the pie dish, leaving any excess liquid behind.
Arrange the strips of pie dough on the top of the pie, weaving a simple lattice. Trim any overlapping pie dough and lattice strips so that they are flush with the edge of the pie dish. Carefully roll the edge of the pie dough back on itself slightly slightly, and crimp with your fingers.
Rest the pie in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. While the pie is resting in the fridge, preheat the oven to 425˚f/ 220˚c. Place a baking tray on the bottom rack of the oven.
Brush the pie with egg wash, and sprinkle liberally with raw sugar. Bake at 425˚f / 220˚c for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is set and beginning to go golden. Reduce the temperature 375˚f / 190˚c, and bake until the pastry is deeply golden and the filling is bubbling.
Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.