Last week, I was in middle of biting into a maple-syrup-soaked pancake, when I realized that I had not planned a dessert for the evening. A few friends were coming over that Sunday, and I was barely prepared to cook that day. Our usual Sunday supper consists of homemade popcorn and smoothies, because I like to spend one day in seven ignoring the stove and kitchen sink.
I love having guests over, partly, because it’s an excuse to bake a fancy dessert. I rarely make dessert for my family or if I do, I try to make it a little more healthy than the original recipe. Typically, I substitute a little whole wheat for white and replace the sugar with honey or rapadura. However, guests deserve to eat a truly decadent dessert carefully made with white sugar, white flour.
Usually I’ll spend a few days planning the dessert and ensuring that I have all the ingredients on hand. This time, I had an almost barren cupboard and no plan. Opening up the refrigerator, I spied five peaches in my fruit drawer and a Ziplock bag full of blueberries from my mother’s bush. I did not have enough of one fruit to fill a full pie or slump or cobbler, so I decided to mix the two. Fortunately, peach and blueberries are a classic combination of fruits.
Pie, cobbler, or pound cake? I asked my husband. I didn’t need to ask. Although he insists on having cake on his birthday, for tradition’s sake, he loves pie. He looks for excuses to eat pie — even considering pie second to trail mix as the perfect hiking food.
Once we settled on blueberry-peach pie, I started researching recipes. Although I found a few good ones, I decided to deviate from them and make my own.
My favorite pie crust is from Epicurious by Rose Levy Beranbaun. (Yes, the same woman who wrote the Cake Bible and Heavenly Cakes. I love her carefully crafted and scientific recipes.) I find this crust easy to manipulate and delicious. It is entirely butter-based, which means no hydrogenated oils, and yet it’s flaky and light like the Crisco-based crusts.
Rose’s double pie dough makes the perfect amount of crust for a double crusted pie, her lattice crust recipe came a little short. Next time I will increase the amount of dough by 1/4 of the original amount.
Most of this recipe is based off of a Cook’s Illustrated The New Best Recipe pie. I highly recommend that cookbook for inexperienced chefs who want to cook fabulous meals. The foolproof recipes are accompanied with detailed information, ingredient recommendations and great explanations. This book is usually my first resource when cooking a special meal.
My pie experiment resulted in a lovely dessert with glimpses of the contrasting orange peaches and blueberries between strips of crisp dough. Here’s the recipe:
Peach Blueberry Pie
- 1 and 1/4 recipe pie dough for a lattice crust
- 5 medium peaches, peeled and sliced (See here for help peeling.)
- 2 cups of blueberries
- 1 tablespoon lemon
- 1 cup sugar (or rapadura)
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 4 tablespoons Minute tapioca, processed in a food process for a minute
- Preheat over to 500 degrees.
- Roll 1/3 of the prepared crust into a rectangle, approximately 11 by 15 inches. Cut into 1-inch strips with a knife, pizza cutter, or pastry cutter. Freeze strips on a baking sheet, while preceding with the rest of the recipe.
- Roll 2/3 of the pie crust into a 12-inch circle between two floured sheets of wax paper. Carefully place on the bottom of the pie plate and refrigerate.
- Mix peeled peaches, blueberries, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, salt and tapioca in a large bowl. Pour into prepared crust.
- Remove strips from freezer, let warm slightly if necessary, and weave into a lattice. Here are some great directions for making a lattice crust. Hers turned out much prettier than mine!
- Lower oven temperature to 425 and bake for 25-30 minutes. Turn pie and lower temperature to 375. Bake for an additional 25-30 minutes. Cool for a couple of hours before serving.