Everyone loves pie. The mom.me team loves pie, but we sometimes struggle with baking the perfect pie, and resort to the store-bought variety. That was, until, we received a copy of Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour & Butter by Kate Lebo. Now that we're pupils in her school of pie, we've been cooking up delicious fruit and nut pies every night of the week. Her no-nonsense approaching to teaching, her poetic language, and swoon-worthy fillings make this a delightful and delicious read.
Need to bake a pie two or three days before anyone can enjoy it? Make a peach pot pie. Peaches are notoriously, deliriously juicy.
RECIPE: Peach Pot Pie
Yields 1 pie
½ recipe any double-crust pie dough (for a single crust, recipe follows)
5 large or 6 medium ripe peaches or nectarines (about 2 pounds)
½ cup floral-tasting honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Juice of ½ medium lemon (about 1½ tablespoons)
5 to 6 tablespoons flour (depending on how juicy the peaches are)
2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Egg white wash (1 egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water)
Demerara sugar, for
Make the dough and refrigerate it for at least an hour, or overnight.
If the peaches are very fuzzy, skin them before slicing. The easiest way
is to dip them in boiling water for 10 seconds and then shock them in an ice
bath. The peels will shred from the fruit with just a little rubbing. If the
peaches have toothsome skins, leave them on. Slice them ¼ inch thick and put
them in a medium bowl. Add the honey, salt, nutmeg, and lemon juice. Taste and
adjust the flavors as needed. Gently stir in the flour and set the filling
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Using a slotted spoon, put the peaches in a cast-iron pan. Pour in the
juice, stopping about a ½ inch below the rim. Dot the filling with the butter.
Roll out the top crust and drape it over the filling. Trim it and crimp
or flute the edges.
Cut generous steam vents, brush the crust with the egg white wash, and
sprinkle it with the demerara sugar.
Bake the pie in the middle of the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until
the crust looks dry, blistered, and blond. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees F.
Bake for another 35 to 45 minutes more, rotating the pie front to back about
halfway through to ensure even baking, until the crust is deeply golden and the
juices are thickened and bubble slowly through the vents.
Cool the pie completely before serving, at least a few hours. Store
leftovers on the kitchen counter loosely wrapped in a towel for up to 3 days.
Note: Peach potpie can be
very messy while baking because the crust doesn’t contain the juices as firmly
as a double-crust would. Compensate by baking the pie on a rimmed baking sheet
to catch drips.
RECIPE: All-Butter Pie Crust
Yields 1 double crust
2½ cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) well-chilled unsalted butter
Fill a spouted liquid measuring cup with about 1½ cups of water, plop in
some ice cubes, and place it in the freezer while you prepare the next steps of
the recipe. The idea is to have more water than you need for the recipe (which
will probably use ½ cup or less) at a very cold temperature, not to actually
freeze the water or use all 1½ cups in the dough.
In a large bowl, mix
the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut ½ -tablespoon to 1-tablespoon pieces of butter
and drop them into the flour. Toss the fat with the flour to evenly distribute
Position your hands palms up, fingers loosely curled. Scoop up flour and
fat and rub it between your thumb and fingers, letting it fall back into the
bowl after rubbing. Do this, reaching into the bottom and around the sides to
incorporate all the flour into the fat, until the mixture is slightly yellow,
slightly damp. It should be chunky—mostly pea-size with some almond- and
cherry-size pieces. The smaller bits should resemble coarse cornmeal.
Take the water out of the freezer. Pour it in a steady thin stream
around the bowl for about 5 seconds. Toss to distribute the moisture. You’ll
probably need to pour a little more water on and toss again. As you toss and
the dough gets close to perfection, it will become a bit shaggy and slightly
tacky to the touch. Press a small bit of the mixture together and toss it
gently in the air. If it breaks apart when you catch it, add more water, toss
to distribute the moisture, and test again. If the dough ball keeps its shape,
it’s done. (When all is said and done, you’ll have added about 1/3 to ½ cup
With firm, brief
pressure, gather the dough in 2 roughly equal balls (if one is larger, use that
for the bottom crust). Quickly form the dough into thick disks using your palms
and thumbs. Wrap the disks individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an
hour to 3 days before rolling.