I am going to miss Jamie’s and our weekly forays to the farmer’s market.  Not that the season is ending but Jamie heads back to Houston this coming week so there goes my kitchen buddy for awhile. We found some luscious peaches at the market (its been a good summer for peaches) and coincidentally Smitten Kitchen  posted a recipe for peach pie.  As Jamie perused the recipe she said “Is it hard to make pie crust?”  Well, what kind a mom would I be if I didn’t lay a little pie crust wisdom on my kid before she heads back to college? Kind of like a lovely parting gift.
Though the Smitten Kitchen peach pie served as our inspiration we decided to make peach hand pies instead.  Fingers over forks is our mantra so hand pies are the perfect ending for our final summer happy hour gathering.  Luckily Smitten Kitchen also has a recipe for Bourbon Peach Hand Pies.
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We turned to a favorite pie crust recipe from Julia and Jaques Cooking at Home.  It’s a great recipe to teach pie crust 101 making.  It has a high proportion of butter so its yummy and flaky and it is easy to work with.
COLD, COLD, COLD.  Did I say to keep things cold? Butter and shortening.  I cut my butter and shortening or lard into pieces and put them back in the fridge while I measure out my flour.
LESS IS MORE, DONT OVER-PROCESS OR OVER WORK YOUR PIE CRUST.  Place your flour, sugar and salt in the food processor and pulse a couple times to mix.  Scatter your COLD butter and shortening or lard on top and PULSE mixture until the butter is approximately the size of peas.  At this point you can pour your flour mixture into a bowl or you can continue using your processor.
Add ICE COLD WATER to your flour mixture and pulse until it just begins to clump then STOP.  Do not over do it, especially if using the food processor or you end up with tough pie crust, yuck.
If you are not using the processor.  Sprinkle water on flour mixture and stir with a fork until mixture begins to clump and come together.
Reserve one tablespoon of water, if dough still seems dry or does not hold together add remaining one tablespoon water.
At this point for either method, gather dough into a disc on a sheet of plastic wrap.  Using the palm of your hand gently push a portion of the dough away from you.  This flattens out the butter lumps into sheaths and incorporates the butter and flour evenly. This creates a flaky, tender crust.  This is called fraisage ‘(yep, more French lingo) Repeat until you have pushed all of the dough.  Gather it into a ball, flatten into a disc and place it in the fridge to rest approximately 30 minutes.
How easy is that?!
As the dough chills start on your peaches.  We adapted Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for Bourbon Peach hand pies for the filling.  Instead of bourbon we used amaretto, added a bit of brown sugar, cinnamon and pinch of salt.  I think I would try peach schnapps if I had any. Although delicious the hand pies have less filling and would have benefitted from a flavor boost.  I think I would add a bit of peach jam to the fresh peaches to try to intensify the flavor next time.  We had quite a bit of filling left and Jamie BRILLIANTLY (shameless parent plug) grabbed some ramekins and made peach crisps with the extra.  YUM!
Back to the pie crust dough…
On a lightly floured board or surface, pat your dough into a rectangle.  Divide in half and roll each piece into a 7×11 rectangle, approximately 1/8 inch thick.  You may need to trim the edges to make a pretty rectangle.  Further divide the dough into 4 pieces 7x 2.75”.
Hint– Roll it out on parchment paper on a flat cookie sheet, makes it easy to transfer to the fridge.  Once you have cut it into four pieces chill for 30 minutes.  While it is chilling, roll out 2nd disc of dough.
Hint-Use a ruler and a pizza cutter to cut out your rectangles.
Or if you like use a 4.5” round cookie cutter for half moon shaped pies.
If at any time the dough gets too soft, throw it back in the fridge to chill.
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Peche a Trois’ (Peach Hand Pies, Crisp, Unadulterated)

Ingredients

    Peach Hand Pies
  • Pie or Galette Crust from Julia Childs
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 7 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon cold shortening or lard, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup ice cold water, reserve 1 tablespoon to finish dough
  • Filling
  • 2 pounds fresh peaches,
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar + 1 T light brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon bourbon or amaretto
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • One egg yolk beaten with 2 tablespoons water (for egg wash) or cream
  • Coarse sanding sugar, for decoration

Instructions

    See above for directions for making pie dough!
    Filling
  • Make the filling. Peel and dice peaches into 1/2 inch pieces. Add remaining ingredients, mix gently and set aside. If you wish, add 1-2 tablespoons peach preserves.
  • Remove chilled dough from fridge, let stand a couple of minutes until pliable. Spoon 1.5 tablespoons filling onto one half of each rectangle or circle of dough. Brush a little water on the edge and fold in half. Seal and crimp edge with a fork. Repeat with remaining dough. Transfer to fridge and chill for 30 minutes. We used cream on our pies and sprinkled some sugar on top, you could use an egg wash if you like.
  • You can make these hand pies bigger or smaller as you want. The key is to keep the dough’s thickness at approximately 1/8 inch.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove pies from fridge and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Cut a small slit in each pie and brush with wash. Sprinkle with sugar and place in oven to bake.
  • Bake approximately 20 minutes until edges are golden brown. Remove and let cool slightly before serving.
  • Peach Crisp
  • We had quite a bit of peach filling left so we made crisp using our apple crisp crumble topping recipe. So this is probably more crumble then you will need. Cut the recipe in half if you want. Fill lightly buttered ramekins with extra peach filling. Sprinkle crumble on top and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until crisp bubbles and top is golden brown.
  • Crumble topping
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal (not instant or quick cook)
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Mix topping ingredients with pastry blender or fingers until crumbly.
  • Add 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
  • And to complete our trio....
  • Fresh ripe peaches, sliced, leave them whole, your choice. Take a bite, let the juice drip down your chin, hand or both. Yum!
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Thanks for reading, comments welcomed!