Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Just Peachy!

Home grown peaches...divine

Around the Harasick Homestead things are rather peachy - literally! Our little peach tree was loaded this year (I'm guessing 300+), and we have thoroughly enjoyed eating them out of hand, sharing them with friends, making multiple batches of jam, and especially eating Vanilla Peach Pies! I just picked the last peaches today. I wish they were on the tree year 'round instead of just a few short weeks - I'd never get sick of them.

Christmas gifts all put up!

Here's the recipe for the pie. It's so worth it!

Vanilla Peach Pie

4 lbs. ripe peaches, peeled, halved, pitted, each half cut into 6 wedges
(about 8 cups)
½ c. + 1 T. sugar
¼ c. brown sugar
¼ c. flour
¼ t. cardamom (or nutmeg)
1 scraped vanilla bean or 1 T. vanilla

unbaked double pie crust - see note below

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine peaches, ½ c. sugar, brown sugar, flour, cardamom, and vanilla in large bowl. Toss to blend well. Let stand 15 minutes.

Roll out first pie crust. Transfer to 9” pie dish. Spoon peach filling
Into crust, mounding slightly in center. Roll out second pie crust and place over filling; trim overhang to ¾” and crimp edges to seal. Cut 4 slits on top of pie. Brush crust lightly with half and half(or milk). Sprinkle with remaining 1 T. sugar.

Place pie on foil lined baking sheet. Bake 45 minutes. Cover crust edges with foil if it is browning too quickly. Continue baking until crust is golden and juices bubble thickly, about 30-40 min. longer. Cool 1/2 hour before serving. Great with vanilla ice cream!

Now, a bit about crust. Yes, I do make my own crust. I must say, I garner much praise from Rich over this crust! He always says the same thing - "you make a MEAN crust, Karen." After much experimentation, here is my favorite recipe
for a two-pie crust.

Pie Crust (double)

3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups Shortening (Crisco in the blue can), chilled
Ice water

Combine flour and salt in large bowl. With a pastry blender, work in the cold shortening until it looks like tiny peas. Stirring with a fork, slowly add the ice water, a couple tablespoons at a time, until the mixture BARELY sticks together. Gather dough up in a large ball and divide in two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. On a heavily floured board, with a heavily floured roller, roll out the smaller ball to about 12" diameter. Fold in half, then in half again, then transfer crust to deep dish pie plate - press into pan.

Add desired filling. Roll out the second crust to about 14" diameter, then transfer to top of filling. Crimp edges of top crust to bottom crust, sealing all the way around. (You can trim any extra dough if necessary.) For nicely browned crust with a sweet bite, brush with 1 beaten egg and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar.

Now, the key to getting the perfect crust is NOT TO HANDLE IT ANY MORE THAN NECESSARY. If you start kneading it it will lose its flakiness when baked. Successful pie crust is all in proper handling.

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