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Monday, October 10, 2011

How Peachy

Ah, peaches. I've been in love with them more than any other fruit ever since I first read James and the Giant Peach. I would lie on my bed and imagine eating my way through a giant peach just like James. As an adult, I pretty much have the same fantasy.

It's actually a great season for peaches right now, as they've all been picked in late summer and are coming into their own now. Of course, they are not as good in the grocery store as they would be in late August on the side of the road in the Okanagan, but we make do with what we have.

When I really love an ingredient, I like to make something sweet and something savory with it. Let's start with the savory:

Peach Tomato Salad

2 peaches, chopped into cubes
10-15 cherry tomatoes, quarters
5 large basil leaves, ripped
good glug extra virgin olive oil
small glug champagne vinegar

Mix all together and let marinate for 15 minutes. Serve.

This is a great side, goes great with a big beefy sandwich or something.

 

And now, for the sweet:

Ginger Peach Pie

FYI, you know my all-purpose crust that I used to use for fruit pies? I've replaced it with this flakier, tastier version that browns beautifully:

Crust:

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small chunks
3 tbsp cold vegetable shortening
1 egg
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Combine flour and salt. Rub in butter and shortening until mealy pieces are formed. Add egg and lemon juice, and moisten until mixture holds together with ice cold water. Divide in half and set aside. Now. Here is where most cookbooks will tell you that you should stick it in the fridge. I disagree. I find it much easier to use if I just knead it a few times, roll it out and lay it in the pie plate. Try a few versions and see what works best for you, you could find that leaving it in the fridge for 5 mins makes it less cracky, but I find room temp with the slight chill of the butter and shortening works well. If the dough gets too cold, it will split, and that is just beyond bullshit to try and roll out.

Roll out and place in bottom of pie pan. Set aside.

Filling:

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp peeled, minced fresh ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar (this should vary depending on how ripe and sweet your peaches are. Bite into one and sweeten to taste from there)
1/4 instant tapioca
6-7 large, ripe peaches

Combine lemon juice, ginger, cinnamon, sugar and tapioca in a large bowl. Cut peaches into chunks and add last. Mix thoroughly and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375. Pour filling into the pie pan and roll out the second ball of dough to make the lattice crust. I like to use a serrated pastry wheel make the edges all pretty, but a knife works just as well. Place lattice on pie, first one direction, then crossways, OR you can go super deluxe and weave your lattice. A great tutorial on how to do this can be found here. I personally love doing this as it looks so much harder than it actually is and makes people think you are really talented.

Crimp edges down around the perimeter of the pie pan and wash lattice crust top and edges with egg white. Generously sprinkle sugar on top of the egg, place in the oven and cook for 40-60 minutes, until golden brown and your house smells ridiculous.

I've made this particular pie three times now. Pie porn, y'all:




At first I thought tapioca was a shit thickening agent and fuck it, I was going back to use cornstarch. But it actually works like a hot damn. I would use it in pies you really want to have a thick consistency, like apple. If you don't mind it a little runnier, stick to cornstarch.

Remember this one-hit-wonder? It was a huge hit in the early '90s, here in North America. Proves we have a penchant for inane lyrics. I give you, "Peaches":



Just in case you believe everything you hear in the form of lyrics, moving to the country is no guarantee that you will eat a lot of peaches. I lived in the country for 10 years. No peaches. Not once, ever. What kind of shit is that?

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  6. Wow what stunning and creative work! I really must try and get to this today ... I'd love to see it in person and eat all this teasty stuff!

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