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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

More Summer Birthday Pies

It's been just about a year since I wrote about pies I had made for one of my grandsons. His cousin turned nine yesterday, and she also requested pie for her birthday. This time it was blueberry, a favorite of many in the family, and perfectly timed with an Aldi special of 99 cents per pint.

Peaches were also on special this week, and their sweetness brought back memories of the days when we had two peach trees in our Arizona backyard. Out came another recipe, and soon we had the two pies needed to fill up our family.

Fillings:
You may notice some very real similarities here, and that is no mistake. This basic format works well with all other berries and nectarines too. The apple stretches what is usually for me more expensive fruit along with reducing the sugar a bit, but it could be eliminated.

I often use frozen fruit juice concentrates in my cooking. Right now, oranges are very expensive, but I like the hint of this fruit in peach pies. Just open the can, spoon out the amount used in the recipe, and cover the container tightly before returning to the freezer.

Note the instruction to use a large bowl for the glaze--it is amazing how much these boil up and over, so be sure to allow enough room in your bowl to avoid messy clean ups.

Pie Crusts:
I had enough pie crust in the freezer for one pie shell but I didn't get around to starting another batch soon enough for the old standard recipe to chill. In one of those great Google moments, my random "pat in the pan pie crust" search turned up dozens of recipes with exactly that title. So the peach pie got the experimental crust and the blueberry pie had the time-tested shell--and the votes were about even for which was preferred. The old standby is flakier, while the non-rolled version is more crumbly, but that seemed to appeal to some in the group. I probably won't abandon the old recipe (from a 1960s Farm Journal cookbook) but it is nice to know the other makes a very presentable presentation when time is short. I included that recipe back on August 20, 2009, so you can scroll down to the earlier entry for full details. Here is my adaptation of the newer recipe:

Pat in the Pan Pie Crust

1 3/4 c flour
2 t sugar
1/2 t salt
1/3 c vegetable oil
3 T milk

Stir the dry ingredients together in a 9 inch pie pan. Mix the oil and milk together and pour over the dry mixture. Using a fork and then your fingers, combine the ingredients until well mixed. As you mix, begin to pat the dough into shape, pressing up the sides of the pan and then fluting the edges. Prick the shell in several places with a fork. If used for a pie shell, bake at 425 degrees 12 to 15 minutes.

Peach Pie Deluxe

Glaze
1 or 2 very finely chopped peaches (about 1 to 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 c finely chopped apple
1/2 c water
3/4 c sugar
2 T cornstarch
2 T orange juice concentrate
1 t almond extract

Filling
3 to 4 thinly sliced OR chopped peaches

9 inch baked pie shell

1. Combine peaches, apple, and water in a large glass bowl and cook in the microwave until peaches are very soft, about 3 to 4 minutes depending on ripeness of peaches. Using a fork, mash the mixture to smoothness. (You may also put in your processor or blender if a very smooth glaze is desired.)
2. Combine the cornstarch and sugar and stir into the cooked peaches. Return to microwave and cook at medium low power until the mixture is thick and clear, one to three minutes.
3. Stir in the orange juice concentrate and almond extract and set aside to cool slightly.
4. Spread the peaches over the baked crust and cover with the glaze. Chill for at least an hour.

Classic Blueberry Pie

Glaze
1 c blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 c finely chopped apple
1 c water
3/4 c sugar
3 T cornstarch
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
2 T lemon juice

Filling
2 to 3 c blueberries, fresh or frozen
9 inch baked pie shell

1. Prepare the glaze by combining the cup of blueberries, apple, and water in a large glass bowl. Microwave for about 3 to 4 minutes until the fruit is very soft. Mash with a fork or process in a blender to smooth out the mixture.
2. Combine the sugar and cornstarch, making sure it is well mixed before adding to the blueberry apple mixture. Return to the microwave and heat on medium low three to four minutes until the mixture is thick and glossy. Stir in the lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg and allow to cool slightly.
3. Spread the remaining berries evenly over the pie shell.
4. Pour the glaze over the berries and use a fork to lightly stir the glaze into the berries. Chill.

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