Monday, July 30, 2012

Kitchen Win: Preacher Peach Pie and then some

When I was younger I can recall fondly eating the most amazing peach pie in the world. It was almost more like a cobbler in a pie crust than a pie. It was sweet and almost cakey and so very addictively good. I hate peaches and I loved this pie.

The recipe for this glorious pie belonged to our pastors wife and she refused to give it to anyone. It was her amazing pie that she used to impress all of her friends and the people at the church. My mother would beg her for the recipe and she always smiled and shook her head no. Then my mother started making a church cookbook for a fundraiser and convinced the pastors wife that her pie recipe had to be in there. Thus was the secret of Preacher Peach Pie shared with the world.

Lately I have been seeing a lot of peach recipes floating around. It is that time of year I suppose, though I normally don't notice peach season since I don't like peaches. All the pictures of pretty peach pies only  made me think of this pie of my youth. I just had to have it. I texted my mom and had the recipe in my possession in a matter of minutes.

I went straight to the store from work, got all the ingredients, went home and started baking. I had to have this pie. Right away. The husbeast thought I had lost it since he knows I hate peaches, but he was placated by the fact that my baking spree meant he could order Wingstop for dinner, and later there would be fresh peach pie.

Let me tell you, it was as amazing as I had remembered from my youth. It was not too sweet, and the peaches were not too peachy, and there was that gooey almost cake like texture to it. I was so happy. I ate pie for breakfast for the next two days.

The baking wasn't out of my system yet though. I wanted to make more pies. You see as I discussed the pie with my mother she was lamenting never having tried the recipe with another type of fruit. She had always thought apples or berries would do just as well as peaches. I started thinking about it, and suddenly I had to know. It just so happened that I had a party to go to Saturday night, so I decided bringing pies would be only too appropriate.

Now internet, here is where you pretend these three pretty pie crusts are actually handmade. Here is where you imagine me making the simple pie dough, and then rolling it out on my counter and getting flour everywhere. Here is where I neatly fold it in quarters and then lay it in the waiting pie tins. I take my time delicately crimping the edges and removing any excess dough. They come out smooth and lovely with just the smallest hints of butter still in the crust which assures they will be flaky and buttery.

In reality I bought frozen crusts. Look I don't have the time to make my own pie dough. I also don't have a suitable space to roll it out. As you can see in the picture my kitchen counters are tiled. The entire kitchen is like that. No place to get a smooth roll on. Besides I have been told by people who are known for there pies that a premade crust is not completely sacrilegious.

 At this point I started in with the fruit. The peach recipe calls for 6 to 8 peaches peeled and sliced. Yea so I discovered that either the recipe originally called for a deep dish crust or the peaches they were using were tiny because I had enough peach for two pies and a snack for the husbest with 8 small peaches. I was actually just glad I didn't have to peel and slice more peaches for the second pie, that was a pain.

I chose strawberries and cherries for my other two pies. I forgot to take pictures of the cherries in their shell for some weird reason, but the strawberries look lovely. Also I admit I used frozen cherries instead of fresh. First of all the fresh cherries looked suspect. Second of all I don't own a cherry pitter and really didn't have the time nor inclination to hand pit enough cherries for a pie. The strawberries are fresh though and organic local grown. That has to make up for frozen cherries and store bought crusts right?

So here is where this pie is different from most pies I assume. The filling. I mean yes there is fruit, but there has to be something that gives it that almost cobbler like texture. You take 1 stick of butter, 1 cup of sugar, 1 egg, 1tsp of vanilla, and 1/3 cup of flour and mix it all together. You should get a batter that is thick and reminiscent of cookie dough.  You take this and spread it evenly over the top of the pie.

I think in retrospect I may have put too much fruit in my shells. I like a lot of fruit though, so I guess it all depends on what you like. As it is though, spreading the batter over the fruit can prove to be difficult. The fruit on the top sticks to the batter and not the fruit on the bottom and wants to slide around. It is an exercise in patience, and you have to get your hands dirty.

After that is done you place the pies in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Put a cookie sheet under the pie or you will have a huge mess on your hands. As that batter melts down into the pie, getting between the fruit, some will drip off the edges. After 20 minutes turn the temp down to 300 for 40 minutes. In the last 5 minutes you should watch to make sure the top doesn't get too brown. My oven runs cool so I actually had to turn it back up to 325 for the last ten minutes to get it brown at all.

In the end I was left with three perfect pies. They looked pretty and smelled amazing. It was really all I could do to keep from sampling before the party. The husbeast had to be placated with a slice of the pie from the day before and promises of more pie later that night. The call of the pie is hard to resist.

The pie was a huge hit at the party. I had several people profess their love for me and insist on hugging me for having created something so divine. The cherry pie was the biggest hit, and was completely gone before I knew it. The other two pies did well, though there was still half of each left when I headed home from the party. How they looked at the end of the night I am not certain. 

So there you have my pie saga. I share with you this amazing pie recipe, unlike the stingy pastors wife, so that you too may enjoy it as much as I do. Go forth and bake!

Preacher Peach Pie

Pie Crust - Store bought or homemade
4-6 peaches (or any fruit really)
1 stick of butter
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
1 egg
1/3 cup of flour

Clean peel and slice peaches and arrange them in pie crust. 
Combine butter, sugar, egg, flour, and vanilla in separate bowl. Spread batter over fruit in pie. 
Place in oven at 350 for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 and bake an additional 40 minutes. Watch for last 5 minutes or so to make sure top does not get too brown. If your oven runs cold turn heat back up slowly during last ten minutes to achieve golden brown.
Allow pie to rest and cool for at least ten minutes before serving. Goes excellent with vanilla ice cream.

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