RECIPE: Peach Berry Pie


Warmer days means our farmers' markets are starting, and we will soon be knee deep in fresh fruits and produce. This time of year, my husband gets really excited about the prospect of a pie. I get very inspired by all the farmstand fruit-and my father's homegrown peaches. This was a pie I concocted for pie-day, using my father's peaches from last season (that I froze to preserve), fresh strawberries and some dried berries in my pantry. It's a great balance of sweet and tart.

Peach Berry Pie

Ingredients:

Pie Crust:
use store-bought crust OR
make my favorite 2 crust butter recipe


14 tablespoons of cold butter, cubed 
2 1/4 + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
1/4 teaspoon of salt 
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder 
ice water up to 7 1/2 tablespoons 

1 tablespoon of cider vinegar 


Filling:
2 cups of strawberries hulled and chopped 
1 tablespoon of orange juice 
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla 
1/2 teaspoon of salt 
2 tablespoons of kirsch or other cherry flavored liquor 
1/3rd cup of dried mixed berries 
1/3 rd a cup +2 tablespoons of sugar 
2 tablespoons of butter 
1/4 cup of cornstarch 
2 to 3 cups of sliced, peeled yellow peaches 

Directions

If making the crust from scratch, 
In a food processor, pulse the dry ingredients. Add the cubed butter and pulse, only until small peas form.

Add the liquid, and only add as much as you need until the mixture can be held together by pressing with your fingers with pulsing a little bit.

Divide the mixture in half evenly and mounded onto plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap and your fingers form each mound into a flat round disc. Wrap completely with the plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for an hour. At this point, you can freeze the dough for up to 3 months. The dough can be held in the refrigerator for up to a week. After chilling, roll out the dough between lightly floured plastic wrap. Take the first disc out and let it sit out at room temperature for about 10 minutes until the dough is workable. In between two floured sheets of plastic wrap, roll out your dough to about 2 inches past the diameter of your pie pan. Once this is the right size, peel top plastic wrap, and flip over carefully into your pan. Peel the plastic wrap off the top and press gently into the pie pan. Trim overhang so that there's an even amount around the edge. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for one hour but not more than three. Next, roll out the second disc in the same manner. But this rolled out dough you're going to slip gently onto a flat baking sheet keeping it flat. Chill this dough for the same amount of time.

If using store-bought crust,
Unroll the dough and lay into the pie dish, trimming any overhang. Wrap the crust with plastic wrap and chill while you prep the filling. If you want, you can unroll and stretch, and flatten top crust as well, and place on a baking sheet. Wrap this crust as well and chill.

Prep the filling:
In a large bowl mix the strawberries with sugar, vanilla, salt, kirsch, dried berries, and peaches. Let macerate for about an hour. After an hour, strain the fruit and reserve the juice, and place the fruit in another bowl. Toss the strained fruit with the cornstarch and set aside. Pour the juice into a pan and boil to reduce it down until there is 1/4 left and it's syrupy and bubbly. Stir in the butter, and pour this reduced juice back in with the fruit. and then pour into the chilled pie shell. 

Assembly of pie:

Place a baking sheet lined with tin foil on the bottom-most rack of the oven. Preheat oven to 425˚ and heat the sheet for at least 20 minutes before placing the pie in the oven.

To your bottom crust, use some water on your finger to wet the edges of the pie shell. On the bottom shell, once you wet the edges, make sure the pie edges have softened a little at room temperature so that you can work with it, and pull them up from the sides so you can make a seam one you place the top crust. Set aside.

Pull out the flat top piece of dough. Peel off the plastic wrap and create your decorative embellishments while it's still flat and cold, understanding roughly where the center is.
Once you're done prepping the pie top, flip it over onto the waiting, filled pie shell by using the bottom plastic wrap (that is now on top) to help maneuver and center the pie top. Using your finger, find your pie edges over your top crust, pressing it gently. Cut the overhang evenly. Fold top edges into and over the bottom edges to seal the pie. Then crimp the sides with your forefinger and thumb. Sprinkle with granulated sugar on top. Place on the well heated baking sheet. At about the 30 minute mark check your pie and cover the edges with the pie shield or a foil ring to protect the edges while the center cooks. Overall the pie will take about 40 to 50 minutes to cook. You're looking for bubbly, syrupy fruit in all areas of the pie, especially the center. 

Let it sit and cool for three hours before serving.

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