It’s Independence Day weekend, which means the days are filled with the smell of barbecues and the loud pops of late night fireworks. And in this home(stead), that means pie.
Because what says freedom better than a fresh fruit pie? Nothing; the answer is nothing.
Okay, you’re right; I can think of a few other things.
But right now the 4th of July means hot, sticky summer – and this hot, sticky summer we are celebrating by devouring a tart but sweet peach and blackberry pie with a melt in your mouth crust.
Peach & Blackberry Pie
What you need:
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup shortening
- ½ cup cold butter
- ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon ice water
- 2 ½ cups peaches, fresh is preferable but I used peaches that we canned last summer
- 2 ½ cups blackberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Heavy cream
My favorite pie crust recipe comes from The Joy of Cooking. It’s simple, easy to make, and delicious.
Mix together your flour, sugar, and salt. Then, add in your fats, aka cold shortening and butter, which should be cut up into cubes.
Work the fats into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender. If you don’t have a pastry blender, you can use two knives (one in each hand) and cut across the bowl in opposite directions. While blending the fats and the dry ingredients be sure to scrape up any rogue flour at the bottom of the bowl so that the butter in incorporated thoroughly.
You know you’re finished mixing when there are a few pea-sized chunks of butter in your dough, but for the most part your dough has the consistency of crumbs. Those bigger chunks of butter and shortening will melt into the dough in the oven, which gives your crust a flaky texture. Mmm yum!
Drizzle the ice water over your dough and mix using a rubber spatula. If your dough forms a ball and sticks together you have enough water; if not, add another tablespoon of ice water.
Divide your dough in half (top crust and bottom crust), wrap tightly in plastic to refrigerate for 1 hour before using. The reasoning behind refrigerating the dough before using it is that it gives the fats a chance to firm up again. The colder the butter and shortening are the more likely they will stay cold and firm when you are working with your hands, which are quite warm, to form the dough into a pie plate. Ideally, the butter won’t melt until it is in the oven and surrounding a delicious fruit mixture – hence, the hour (at least) wait time.
Now you have an hour to do other fun, freedom-related things! After all, you have the freedom to:
Drink a cup of coffee at four in the afternoon;
Put your washed clothes out on the clothesline;
Make your own laundry detergent;
Change your baby’s diaper and outfit for the third time today because they are a drooling, teething, (adorable) mess;
Love on your husband as he tries to sneakily take pictures of you making pie crust;
Dance around the kitchen listening to Frank Sinatra.
At least, that’s what we did for an hour.
Once your dough has had time to chill out you can roll it and press it into pie plate. With the top layer, you can roll it out to place a full sheet on top of your fruit (remember to cut four lines as vents), or you can cut out fun designs and lattice. I opted for stars and stripes – it is 4th of July after all!
To fill the pie, toss your fruit in a large bowl. Mix in sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, almond extract, and salt. Fill your pie crust and top with lattice. Last step is to brush your top pie crust with a bit of cream and sprinkle on some sugar. Bake at 450 degrees for thirty minutes; then, place a cookie sheet under the pie dish and continue to bake for an additional thirty minutes at 350 degrees. Eat and enjoy!
And there you go, a taste of summer in pie form. Take this delicious pie with you to your next holiday gathering and you’re sure to be crowned Pie Queen of the Neighborhood.
May your holidays and your homes be full of love and pie this weekend.