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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Peach Pie

I was fortunate enough to receive a bunch of peaches from my friend Chris, who has adopted a peach tree, along with many of her friends, from the Masumoto Family Farm just south of Fresno. They have a progran where you can adopt one of their peach trees. This is a great program and the Masumoto's have an organic peach product that you will be hard pressed to find in a market near you. Harvesting the heirloom variety 'Elberta' peach, you get a soft ripe peach ready to eat as soon as it hits your hand. I got five of them and decided it was time to make a pie.

Here are the five very large peaches, peeled by using a quick blanch, no more than 20 seconds in hot water, then a plunge into ice water and immediate peeling. The skin just slips off. These were sectioned into slices and seasoned with 3 teaspoons of turninado sugar, a spalsh of cognac, 1/2 teaspoon each of fresh ground nutmeg and fresh ground cinnamon and a little mace and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. You need that small amount of salt. I also add 1 teaspoon or so of cornstarch to add some thickening to the peach juices.
A pie crust was made, using my families heirloom pie crust recipe. No kidding, it is an heirloom pie crust recipe. During World War 2, my uncles Roy's father was interned, like many Japanese, but, unlike many of his fellow Japanese, he had run a restaurant prior to the war. The chef assigned to the kitchen in the concentration camp Roy's father was assigned to was the pastry chef from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. He had no idea how to cook with war rations and cook for large numbers of people in a cafeteria setting. My uncles father was 'hired' to assist, in exchange, he learned pastry. After the war, Roy's father returned to Fresno and made great pies, running a lunch and pie counter for years. It was a marvel to watch him in his old age making pie crusts by feel, choosing how much lard, shortening or butter, and how much water, to add based on the feel of the flour. I killed all of his bonsai, but, I will keep that pie crust recipe alive!
The crust was brushed with an egg wash, purely ornamental. Then into a 385F oven for 40 minutes or until browned. It may have taken a little longer. This photo points out that I really need some coarser sugar for topping pies. The Turbinado sugar seems to make white blotches onto the pie crust.

Here is the inside showing the peaches. I went with slicing, as the larger slices, as opposed to smaller dices, is because these peaches are already ripe and soft. Although they are canning peaches, they will soften too much (for my palate) if diced or made too small. Anyways, great color and texture, which I hope you can imagine.

And the aroma was incredible, fresh spices and peaches makes for a heady mix. As for the small spreader, it is an odd thing, but, somehow my pie server has gone missing. Odd really.

Grandpa Sahara's Pie Crustnow, there is nothing fancy here, it is a pie crust after all.

9 cups flour
4.5 cups shortening
1/2 T salt
1.75 cups water, ice cold
3T+ sugar

1. You do not sift, you simply toss the flour, salt and sugar together with a whisk. Refrigerate.

2. Cut shortening into small cubes, or large cubes if you are good, I am not good, so small cubes. Refrigerate.

3. On a flat surface, bowl flour and add shortening in middle, cut or pinch shortening into flour quickly, do not let warm up. I use a pastry cutter, my sister uses her fingers, she is better than I am and her pies are better than mine. Dammit!

4. The flour/shortening mixture should resemble a fine meal with chunks of larger pieces. Sprinkle the cold water over the flour lightly, then toss together to pull dough together. Note, it will not look like dough, it will look like larger granular material.

5. Fraisage, which means, taking your palm and flaking the flour, by pushing the dough into large flakes of dough. I do this rather quickly by just pushing down into the dough with my palm, quickly and with a slight smearing action.

6. Assemble the flaked dough onto plastic wrap, this recipe makes six crusts, so you will need six sheets of plastic wrap. Consolidate and wrap tightly, chill for one hour.

7. Roll and makes pies.

I use a mix of coconut palm oil and butter, Grandpa Sahara used Crisco, His crusts were flakier, mine taste better and are more tender. And that is what I am sticking too.


  1. as usual bob, you have done good, now box up a slice and send it my way, you dont need the whole thing, it's not good for ya, im only trying to help ya out

  2. The pie server will probably come back after you finish the pie :-)

  3. Well, I better start eating faster, oh wait...