Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Dad's Favorite: Blueberry and Peach Pie

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know my relationship with homemade pie crusts is somewhat tumultuous. Well, a couple of weeks ago, I was visiting my family in North Carolina and decided, the morning before the family reunion we were supposed to attend, that I would take my dad’s favorite pie, whose recipe is listed below, to the reunion and also make an extra one for him.

Keep in mind, this was a hectic morning. We were staying at my brother’s house and between his family, our family, and my parents, there were 7 kids, 6 frazzled adults, and one dog rushing around the house, not quite the peaceful atmosphere for my pie-making that I’ve recommended in previous blogs.

So in the midst of this mayhem, I was trying to do a half decent job of mixing and rolling out the pie dough. Mind you, my dad was sitting at the island the whole time I was doing this, mentally evaluating my every move. Then the following very short but very charged interchange took place:

“What are you trying to do?” Dad asked. I immediately didn't like where this is going. He’d been sitting there the whole time. I was making the pie for him. Surely he knew what I was doing.

I pressed the dough in my hands into a tighter ball, and through clenched teeth, replied, “I’m making pie crusts.”

Dad paused, got a clever little smirk on his face and replied, “Do you need your mom to show you how to do it.”

Enter the stink eye. In case you aren’t familiar with this term, supposedly it has Hawaiian origins (which is appropriate since my dad is from Hawaii) and it is defined as a facial expression of distrust or dislike. Well, folks, at that moment I delivered the fiercest, most piercing stink eye ever recorded across that island towards my dad, and whispered, through now bared teeth,


I admit, the crusts weren’t pretty. There were some gnarly edges that needed a little patching, and the final crimping around the rim had a bit of a rugged look. But it tasted good enough for my dad to eat a whole pie himself, so I guess I did alright. And my relationship with my dad is still intact so I think I’d consider the whole episode a success, though it did get a little hairy there for about thirty seconds
Honestly, though, this recipe is divine. But you must, must, must use fresh, in-season blueberries and peaches. We once tried to recreate this pie in the late summer when the only peaches and blueberries that were available got trucked in from California, and it just didn’t work. I mean, it was good, but it wasn’t phenomenal like this pie has the potential to be. So now’s the time to make it, when blueberries and peaches are bursting on the scene at every farmer’s market and roadside stand out there!

Blueberry and Peach Pie

1 ½ c. water
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. fresh blueberries
2 lbs. peaches, peeled and sliced
1, 9-inch deep dish pie crust, unbaked

½ c. flour
½ c. brown sugar
¼ tsp. cinnamon
1 c. oatmeal
½ stick butter, cut in pieces

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put blueberries and peaches in a large heatproof mixing bowl. In a saucepan, put your brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt. Give this dry mixture a good stir in your pot so that the cornstarch gets evenly distributed and doesn't clump when you add the water. Then add the water and stir. Turn the heat on high and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes till mixture gets nice and thick. Pour the syrup over the blueberries and peaches in the mixing bowl. Toss together and cool.

Pour fruit mixture into the unbaked pie crust. In a mixing bowl, put all the topping ingredients together, working the butter into the dry ingredients till it has a crumbly texture. Spread crumbs over top of fruit in the pie shell. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until nice and golden brown. Cool pie for at least 10 minutes before cutting.

Note: I highly recommend putting a cookie sheet on the rack underneath the baking pie, otherwise it will probably bubble over and leave a nasty little mess on the bottom of your oven. I always give my mom a hard time when she bakes in my oven and forgets this little courtesy. And then last month, as I was baking this pie in my sister-in-law's oven, I committed the same offense. Thankfully, Suzanne was much more gracious with me than I was with my mother. Sorry, Mom; I promise to be kinder in the future when your apple pie leaves a pile of burning syrup in the bottom of my oven and causes my entire kitchen to fill with acrid smoke and sets off the fire alarm, sending my two youngest children into a nervous frenzy of crying everytime I use the oven for the next month. Okay, I guess I'm a work in progress, but I'm getting there; aren't we all.

Hope you have a great weekend and cook something yummy that will satisfy the hearts and tummies of those you love! See you Monday!!

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