Monday, July 26, 2010

Covered fruit pie

This, from Joy of Cooking: "We urge you not to judge your fruit pies against the picture-perfect specimens shown in magazine photographs. Under real home conditions, fruit pies often bubble over during baking, brown unevenly, stick to the pan, and yield somewhat runny slices. And no matter what you do, the undercrust always turns out slightly soft on the side facing the fruit. None of this should deter you. Fruit pies are simple, homey desserts, meant for eating, not display. And they are indeed delicious."

I'd never made a covered fruit pie -- at least not with homemade pastry dough.

I can take a challenge.

The result is very much as Joy of Cooking promises: it bubbled over during baking (which gave us the perfect opportunity to test our self-cleaning oven), it browned unevenly, the slices are somewhat runny, and it looks rustic rather than picture-perfect. But it does not stick to the pan! And, most importantly, it is beyond delicious.

Covered fruit pie pastry

What you need:
  • 250 g butter, frozen
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp very cold water (place cold tap water in the freezer for ~15 minutes)
What you do:
  • Mix dry ingredients in a food processor until well combined.
  • Cut frozen butter into 1/2 inch cubes, and scatter over the dry ingredients. Pulse in two-second bursts until butter lumps are the size of peas.
  • Pour the water evenly over the dough and pulse in five-second bursts until the dough begins to clump into small balls. You will notice a change in the food processor noise as this begins to happen.
  • Press dough with your hands until it coheres. Divide dough in half, form each half into a flat disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for at least an hour, or up to two days.

Covered fruit pie filling

What you need:
  • 5 cups fruit (I used peaches, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries)
  • heaping 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (not from a bottle)
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
What you do:
  • Peel, chop and mix together all the fruit. Do not mix in the other ingredients until required by the recipe.

Covered fruit pie recipe
  • Preheat the oven to 425 and place a rack in the bottom third of the oven. On the rack below, place a large cookie sheet to catch drips.
  • Working with one piece of dough at a time, pat out each go round and roll into a ~10 inch circle. Use as much flour is necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the counter.

  • Drape one dough round into a 9 inch glass pie dish. To lift dough from the counter, gently lay it over the rolling pin. Patch any holes with extra bits of dough. Be sure to leave enough overhang to seal the pie crusts together.

  • At this point, mix the filling ingredients together (except for the butter). Let sit for 10-15 minutes (no more). During this time, keep the pie crusts in the fridge.

  • Pour the filling into the pie crust base and dot with the butter. Then place the top crust over, seal the edges, and cut vents. Do this step quickly so that the crust does not become soggy.

  • Bake for 30 minutes at 425, and then reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for approximately 30 more minutes, until juices start coming out of the vents. Allow to cool partially before cutting.

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