Thursday, July 30, 2015

Nothings Perfect Peachy Pie

Peach Pie: Striving For Balance Not Perfection

I had to make a little play on words with this post, because I am one of those perfectionist people. At least with most things. Its a lot of pressure trying to make things come out perfect all the time. I was recently reminded of my perfectionism working on a laborious project, trying to iron out every wrinkle, only to find a trail of wrinkles behind me, wanting it to be absolutely symmetrical. Snapping at my friends who were helping. 

Personal life scenarios also throw it in my face all the time. This past week has presented some serious ups and downs for me and also reminded me, life isn't perfect, no matter how hard we try and control the situation to make it that way. It's those imperfections that allow us the space to grow and learn, as hard as they might be sometimes. I am confronted with my perfectionism in the kitchen as well. Feeling disappointed when the texture, taste, color, presentation isn't exactly what I had envisioned. Of course, striving for greatness is a positive thing. It gives us reason to keep improving ourselves, our products, our relationships, etc. But we will never reach perfection. 

With the difficulties this week, have also come triumphs. I received news that I have been awarded a full scholarship to start a Yoga Teacher Training in October! Achieving balance, different than achieving perfection. This has been something I have wanted to do for ten years! The timing was never quite right, but I felt like now was the time, and success. I am trying to shift things in my life, career wise, as well as in other areas too, and I think this will be the perfect blazer at the start of the trail. 

I feel like I have been living on fruit this summer, at least fruit mixed in with other sumptuous yummies. What better time of the year than too spend most of your grocery budget on fresh fruit. Sometimes in Maine, getting good fresh fruit can be difficult and for years seemed near impossible. Since we are so far North and East, our fresh peaches and other stone fruits come much later in the season than other places across the country. But I have been quite impressed by those I could get at the supermarket. And not to mention, but the mangoes have been out of this world! Two fruits that make me very happy!


So with all that juicy peach eating, I am making a peach feed. Get ready for a lot of recipes featuring the fuzzy fellas. Peach salsa, Peach Caprese Salad, Salad with Honey, Goat Cheese and Fresh Peaches. Oh Yum! 


This peach pie recipe was from Two Peas and Their Pod. I made a few slight alterations and would probably add ginger to it next time. Especially considering Zsuleikah didn't like it anyway. I don't think she likes the texture of cooked peaches. With the extra crust we made her a little hand pie. I can include the directions to that below. Super easy, low sugar and aside from the buttery crust not so terrible for you. 



Ingredients 

Pie Crust
  • 2/12 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, cold
  • 1-2 tablespoons water, cold
  • 1 small egg, beaten, for the egg wash
  • Turbinado sugar, to sprinkle on top of the crust to give it that sparkly look
Filling
  • 8 cups sliced peaches, skin removed
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (this includes cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove, cardamom and lemon zest)
  • 3-4 tablespoons cornstarch, depending on how juicy your peaches are
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
I never have buttermilk on hand, and it seems silly to buy the large container that they sell in the store, when you never use that much. So here is a way to make buttermilk at home.   

Combine 1/2 cup of milk (I used 2%)  and 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice (you can also use white vinegar) Let stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. And voila! buttermilk. 


Step 1: Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Mix it well with a wire whisk. Add the cubed butter and toss with your fingertips to coat each cube in flour. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, mix the butter into the flour until it is nearly the consistency of very course cornmeal, it will be quite flakey. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes. 
Step 2:  Remove from freezer and add the buttermilk. Use a spoon and then your hands to stir the mixture until it comes together into a ball. If it is too dry, add the water a tablespoon at a time. Divide the dough in two. Place in ziplock bags or wrap in plastic wrap and flatten into disks.  Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
Step 3. While the dough is chilling, make the peach pie filling.  In a large bowl, combine peaches, sugar, spices, cornstarch, and vanilla extract. Gently stir until mixed well. 
Step 4. When ready to roll out, let the dough rest at room temperature for five minutes. At this time you should preheat your oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a rough 13 inch circle. Dough should be about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer dough to pie dish. Fill pie with peach filling. Repeat with the second disk of dough. You can cut the dough and make a lattice over the filling. I used small cookie cutters to make different shapes to lay over the filling, but the juiciness of the pie made them a little soggy. Or you can you can just lay the rolled out dough over the top and cut a few vents with a sharp knife. 
Step 5. Fold the edges of the top and bottom crusts together and use your index fingers and thumb to pinch into a pattern. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. 
Step 6. Bake in a 400 degrees oven for 45 minutes or until the pie is bubbly and the crust is golden brown. My fruit wasn't notice bubbly, but I believe this was due to the type of crust I put on top. Let the pie cool completely on a wire cooling rack before cutting. And of course, best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 
To make the hand pie. We rolled out the remaining dough. I spooned in some greek yogurt into the center on one side, sprinkled on a handful of blueberries, and a little sugar and folded over the dough. Then fold up the edges of the dough and press with your fingers or fork to seal. Lastly, cut some steam vents into the top. There was plenty of egg wash left to brush with the egg wash.