It started with a tasteless peach.
Then a thought, hmm, I could turn this into a peach crumble, spoken out loud.
Followed by the Husband’s suggestion, why not make a pie instead?
Whiny inner voice: But I’ve never made a pie before!
Determined inner voice: Well you could just give it a try!!
Whiny inner voice: (whimper) ok…
And so thanks to my fiercer inner voice, I made a peach-apricot pie, with some beautiful fruit that we picked up at the farmers market. The farmers market in late spring/summer is a fantastic place to be. So full of colour, cherries here, peaches and nectarines there, zucchini, purple cauliflower, rainbow chard, so many things just call out to me. When I see all these colours and possibilities, I feel braver and more willing to buy a vegetable that I’ve never cooked before. And thanks to the magic of the Internet, it is easy to figure out. Like Swiss chard, definitely not something found in Singapore, which I first cooked a couple of weeks ago. Random leafy ‘Asian’ vegetables, some of which are found only in giant bags at the Asian supermarkets, so I would never pick them up, but the ones at the farmers market, though more expensive, I can just grab a small bundle and try. And it’s a great experience for the kids. My kids are used to supermarket shopping but there is something about being in the open air, all the different stalls, that lively atmosphere with music and cooked food, although we are out in the parking lot of a mall. They love to wander around trying all the fruit samples. Farmers market Sunday is something they always look forward to.
But I am getting off track, and now we return to pie. Because, if you, like me, hear the word pie, and your thoughts turn to all those possibilities, cherry pie, blueberry pie, lemon meringue pie, strawberry pie, well, I know you are just thinking, get on with the pie already!
So let’s first talk about pies here in my city. There are supermarkets, there is Whole Foods, there is Trader Joe’s, which carry pies, decent pies, affordable pies, quite tasty pie and there is the Niles Pie Co, which does a pretty good peach pie, but it is also very pricey. And of course there are chicken pot pies, but I would like to know, is a beef pie not an American thing? My uncle lives in Australia and everytime he visited Singapore (this is ages ago, when I was a kid and he lived in Darwin), he would bring over a bag of frozen beef pies. So I grew up adoring them (and him for being the Beef Pie Man). Then when I lived for a year in Brighton, England, I discovered the pork pie. Man that was quite something. And I had so very many excellent pies in England, steak and Guiness pie was an especial favourite. (I also had so very many Cornish pasties because they were cheap and filling, a poor grad student’s saviour).
I spent quite a while reading recipes. Many of them called for shortening, which I didn’t have, and I wasn’t planning on running out to the store for just one ingredient.
So after a while, I turned to Smitten Kitchen, and her recipe called for butter. No shortening. Just butter. Ding ding ding!
315 grams all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 sticks (225 grams) unsalted butter, very cold
1/2 cup water, very cold
About 3 1/2 pounds peaches (approximately 6 large, 7 medium or 8 small) – I used about 6 small peaches and if I’m not wrong 5 small apricots and 1 random nectarine. But I also suspect that my pie tin is a big larger than usual, and the filling wasn’t quite enough. I would add in more apricots and peaches next time.
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, from about half a regular lemon
1/4 cup granulated sugar (she says use 1/3 cup for a sweeter pie but I think 1/4 cup for each sugar was perfect)
1/4 cup light brown sugar (ditto)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Few gratings of fresh nutmeg (didn’t have nutmeg, but added a few dashes of all-spice and ground ginger instead)
1/8 teaspoon table salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Please note: pie dough needs to be made ahead of time as it needs to chill in the fridge for at least an hour (I gave it two), so you could do the pie dough the day before. Another important thing to note, especially if you, like me, have never made a pie before… the pie needs to cool for a few hours after you take it out of the oven. So don’t expect to be eating pie immediately!
Also, this was my first time doing lattice on a pie (you know, because it was my first pie). And the best way to figure out how to do it is to look it up on Youtube, because it’s far easier to see it than to read about it.
I also ended up with quite a bit of dough leftover and cutout some bunnies, topped them with sprinkles and chocolate rice and called them cookies.
What is your favourite pie flavour?? I would love to know if you’ve got a good recipe!
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