Jessie’s Cookie Pie Crust
3¼ cups + 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
3 sticks room temperature, unsalted butter (1½ cups or 12 ounces)
3 Tablespoons sugar
1½ Tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder; set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating just to combine. Scrape down the bowl then gradually add the dry ingredients on low speed. Scrape down the bowl again, add the sour cream and the vanilla, mixing just until the mixture comes together. Turn dough out onto a well greased half sheet pan and with flour-dusted fingers, pat the dough evenly to line the pan. Chill while preparing the filling.
Peach and Blueberry filling
The quantities are a little improvisational here. If you are using good-sized freestone peaches, about 6 or 7 should do the trick, teamed with 2 pints of blueberries. (I tend to err on the side of excess.) Gently wash the peaches. You will need to blanch the peaches in boiling water, just briefly, to soften them and make the skins easy to remove. Once you have removed the skins, (work over a bowl so you can save the juices that are dripping all over your fingers and also save the skins) halve the peaches. The pits should now be easy to remove (that’s why they’re called ‘free-stone’) and then slice each half into four or five thick wedges. Set these in a shallow bowl and give them a little squeeze of lemon or orange juice to keep them from turning color. Set them aside to cool down a bit. You don’t want to put hot peaches on a cold crust. Rinse and stem the blueberries, then lay them out on a kitchen towel to absorb the moisture.
Jessie used to cook the skins, the peach pits, and the reserved peach juices together with 2 Tablespoons of sugar and about 1/4 cup of water until the skins broke down a bit and the liquid reduced. Then she removed the pits and strained the mixture, ending up with a peach flavored sugar syrup. To the syrup she would add ¼ teaspoon of almond extract. I also like to add a little orange or lemon zest. In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 Tablespoons of finely ground tapioca, ¼ cup granulated sugar and 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar. You can add a sprinkle of cinnamon, if you like. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Take your half sheet pan out of the fridge, sprinkle the tapioca/sugar mixture evenly over the chilled dough. Now place the fruit on top; you can alternate rows of peaches with rows of berries, or cover one half completely with peach slices and the other half with blueberries. When the pan is completely covered with fruit, drizzle the peach syrup over the top. It won’t cover the entire tray, but as it bakes, the juices from the fruit will bubble up and join the syrup. It takes about 40 to 45 minutes to bake. Keep an eye on things, you want the fruit to be tender, the berries to pop, as you would in a pie. Neither the crust nor the pie is overly sweet, so teaming this with ice cream and/or whipped cream is in perfectly good taste.
(adapted from Bernard Clayton’s Complete Book of Pastry)
Flaky Crust (makes enough dough for approx. ten to twelve 6” pastries)
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
12 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
5 Tablespoons cold non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
4-5 Tablespoons ice cold water
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add the cold butter and shortening, mixing just until you have moist crumbs. Turn this mixture into a large bowl. Add the cold water one tablespoon at a time, using your hands to gently combine the water with the crumbs. Do not overmix- the dough should just barely hold together. Turn the dough onto plastic wrap, divide in half, wrap each disc in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour before rolling out.
Using one disc of dough at a time, remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on parchment paper to no more than 1/8” thick. Cut out 6” squares and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with the other disc, chill pastry while you prepare your filling. Preheat your oven to 400.
Fresh Peach filling
2 lbs. of peaches, peeled, halved, pitted and sliced into thick wedges
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon Bourbon Vanilla extract
½ teaspoon orange zest
1 egg combined with 1 Tablespoon heavy cream for egg wash
additional sugar for sprinkling
In a large bowl, place sliced peaches. Combine cornstarch, cinnamon, brown sugar, extract and orange zest. Whisk once or twice to combine. (Once the peaches combine with the sugar mixture, they will release quite a bit of juice.)
Gently toss the sugar mixture over the peaches, turning to coat. Place about 3 Tablespoons of filling in the center of each pastry square. Working quickly, brush the edges of the squares with the eggwash and seal the edges of the pastry with a fork or your fingers. Use the tines of a fork to poke a few holes in each pastry to let the steam escape. Brush the folded pastries with egg wash, sprinkle with additional sugar and refrigerate on parchment lined baking sheets for 10 minutes before baking. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes until golden.
Crust (yields generous 2 lbs. of dough)
(adapted from the Silver Palate Good Times Nut Cookies with a tweak from Eating Well, November 2008)
10 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
5 oz. granulated sugar
12 oz. all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
good pinch of salt
4 oz. ground hazelnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon lemon zest
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugar until combined. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, pinch of salt and ground hazelnuts. Whisk once or twice to combine the dry ingredients. With the mixer on low add the egg to the butter/sugar mixture, scrape down the bowl once or twice and then add the dry ingredients in three additions. Scrape down the bowl, add the lemon zest and vanilla extract, mix just until combined. Turn out the dough onto lightly floured parchment paper, divide it in half and wrap each half in plastic. Refrigerate several hours or overnight before rolling out. I use approximately 10 oz. of dough for the bottom crust and 10 oz. of dough for the top when I bake this cherry pie in an 8” cast iron skillet. (This also makes tasty cookies- roll and cut as you would sugar cookie dough.)
Fresh Cherry Pie filling
(This is not an overly sweet pie, making it ideal for breakfast. You can gussy it up for dessert by serving it with Frangelico whipped cream. Or put the whipped cream in your morning coffee, teamed with the pie.)
4 cups pitted sweet cherries
½ cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon orange juice
½ teaspoon orange zest
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
egg wash made with one egg yolk beaten with one Tablespoon of cream or milk
1 Tablespoon sanding sugar (or Sugar in the Raw) for sprinkling on top
In a small bowl combine sugars, cornstarch and cinnamon. Whisk to combine. In a large bowl, toss the sugar mixture over the cherries, then add the orange juice, zest and almond extract. Let this mixture sit for a bit while you roll out the top and bottom crusts. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees (because the dough is more cookie than crust, you need the 375 degree temperature.) Pour cherry filling into 8” cast iron skillet lined with hazelnut crust. Top with lattice strips or cut-outs. Brush with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, cover the edges with strips of aluminum foil and bake at 375 for approximately 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes, until filling bubbles.
Frangelico Whipped Cream
½ cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon Frangelico liqueur
Beat the cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Stir in the Frangelico.