Lattice Peach Pie

If you don't read The Wednesday Chef, well, you're missing out.  I haven't made many of the recipes she posts, but I enjoy her personality so much, and that she writes about what she feeds her son Hugo (he's only about a year old now).  I really love children, especially infants and toddlers, so I live a little vicariously through her posts about Hugo.  I also recently read her book My Berlin Kitchen, which makes her blog even more of a joy to read.  I feel like I know her a little better, y'know?  The book is basically a memoir with relevant, and delicious-sounding, recipes at the end of each chapter.  But it's even better than that, because her life is actually a fairy tale, with a happily-ever-after and everything... And recipes!  That's the best-sounding fairy tale I've ever heard of.  Anyway, even if you just read my blog to check up on me and you're not exactly a lover of cooking, I think you would still like the book.  It's cute and heart-warming.

After I finished that and House of Leaves I tried to get into The Omnivore's Dilemma.  I'm struggling to stay interested, which is odd, because that should totally jive with me, right?  I was expecting it to be more about food I think, and less about what's wrong with 'murican business and government.  I'm also weary of the central claim that there's a national eating disorder - i.e. an overwhelming obsession in America with healthy eating fads, due to the lack of a strong culinary culture that would guide our food choices.  This is certainly true to some extent - my impression, though, is that it's a bit of an overstatement.  I mean, there are plenty of intelligent people who take all of the hullaballoo that's stirred up by new health trends with a grain of salt, and plenty more people who just don't really care about the trends and just eat how they want to.  But this is also after only reading the introduction to and the first chapter of the book, so I should probably get through more of the content before I knock it.  At this point, I'd just make the counter argument that while this country may not have a strong, cohesive culinary culture like Italy, France, or Japan that guides the answer to the question what's for dinner, individuals and families develop personal, consistent food cultures that shape their daily food choices.  And these can be just as resistant to the stormy weather of popular opinion and trendy diets as national food cultures.

Enough talk, now for pie.  Frankie (whom you've seen here before, when he helped me make cookies during Christmas last year), made this with me.  He's my dough-mixer and lattice-weaver extraordinaire.  I almost couldn't believe my ears when, after topping the pie with the dough lattice mostly by himself, he turned to me and proclaimed wow, baking is fun.  You should've seen the smile on my face, oh my.  It was great.

Peach Pie
crust adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon regular granulated sugar
1 1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
2 sticks really cold butter, cut into cubes
~1/2 c ice water
~1 tablespoon Muscovado sugar
1 egg, beaten
~3 1/2 pounds peaches (6-8 peaches), cleaned and cut into thin slices
1/3 c brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
~3 tablespoons corn starch
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt.  Toss the butter cubes in the flour to coat.  Then, using your fingers or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until the butter is lima bean size, and the mixture resembles the texture of sand.  Make a well in the center of the mixture, and pour in 1/4 c of the ice water and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.  Begin incorporating the liquid into the dry mixture, adding water as needed for the dough to form a smooth ball.  Divide the dough in half, pat each half into a disk, and wrap with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In another medium bowl, prepare the filling.  I didn't bother peeling my peaches, since I'm lazy and I like the skin anyway, but if you prefer then you can peel them.  I sliced mine pretty thinly, into sixteenths, but if you want larger pieces feel free, you'll just have to be aware of the adjustment in cooking time.  Place all of your peach slices in the bowl, then toss gently with the 1/8 teaspoon salt, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of corn starch.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Roll out one disk of dough into a 1/4 inch thick circle, using lots of flour to prevent sticking to the rolling pin or surface you're rolling on.  Turn the dough evenly and often to make sure it's not stuck.  Transfer gently to a standard pie tin, then trim away the dough that hangs over the side.  Sprinkle the dough on the bottom of the pie tin with the remaining 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, then pour over the peach filling.  Roll out the other dough disk to the same 1/4 inch thickness, making it more of a square shape, since you're going to trim it into a square anyway.  Once trimmed, cut the dough into 12 even strips.  Lay 6 strips, evenly spaced, over the filling.  To create the lattice, pull back every other strip (so you'll have 3 strips folded over and 3 laid out straight).  Lay another strip, perpendicular to the others you've already placed over the pie, over the 3 strips that are laid out straight.  Fold the other 3 strips back over, so it's covered by 3 strips and covering the 3 others.  Repeat with the next dough strip, this time pulling back the other 3 alternating strips.

Does that make sense?  If it doesn't just leave me a comment here and I'll edit the description.  It probably would've helped if I'd taken pictures of the steps.  But  I'm sure you'll get the hang of it - just keep interweaving the strips like this until you've used them up.  Trim away the excess dough hanging over the side, and then using a fork or your fingers, seal the lattice strips to the bottom crust.  Brush the lattice with the egg, then sprinkle with Muscovado sugar.  Bake for ~15 minutes until the lattice has begun to brown, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees F and back for another ~30 minutes.  Once the filling is bubbling hot and thick, and the crust is cooked through, remove from the oven and let cool completely.  You don't want to cut into it and create a soupy hot mess, do ya?  Once cooled, cut into slices and serve with a drizzle of cream.

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