Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A tribute to fall and a top secret recipe

I love fall.  It is simply my favorite season... need I say why? Ok, ok, ill tell you.  There's something about the first crisp breeze that passes by you. A reminder that soon you wont be able to leave the house without your favorite sweater on. The air carries the scent of ripened fruit ready to be canned along with hay that has just been harvested. Its time to get the quilting frames out and make a freshly sewn warm blanky. It means that Sunday afternoons will soon be filled with long beautiful drives to see the changing colors of the trees, and looking forward to that huge slice of juicy peach pie.  Yes, these are just a few of the reasons that I. Love. Fall. :)

This brings me to the topic of comfort food.  Luckily, I was raised in a family with a Grandmother who happens to be an amazing chef, hidden in a tiny sweet grandmother body.  Now by Chef I do not mean she went to a prestigious culinary school, no, I mean this lady raised THREE hungry farm boys, that came home looking for good food every day.  Not to mention the string of dirt covered friends that followed into the house.  This lady had to learn how to cook.  She has always reminded me in my adult life, that if I had something good to eat in my kitchen, that's where people would gather.  That is where my children would bring their friends, and want to spend time.  Although my children are very young, I look so forward to having memories of our family surrounding the kitchen table with delicious recipes passed down from her.

I have found that every time I use one of her recipes, I think of her and it makes me so happy. Being a mother can be so consuming and take every last second of your time.  I am finding that this is the way that it should be, but I also love to find a few extra minutes for myself to do things that I love and that help ME grow.  When I am cooking, I lose my worry, my stress, and the weight of the day because my mind is so busy doing something so wonderful that nothing matters for a little while.

Now lets get down to business.  I want to share this recipe and share some of the tips that I have learned over the few times that I have made it. First of all, If you are new to cooking then listen up.  Don't pass this by because you don't think that you can do it. Everyone has to start somewhere, and guess what?  All of us have thrown a pie crust or two in the trash and shed a few tears over the first couple that didn't turn out just perfect.  I remember the first time I called my Grandma to tell her that my crust was stuck to the counter and too soft to put on the top of the pie.  She told me that she had thrown her fair share in the garbage, and suddenly I felt so much better. Next, take the time to let your ingredients rest.  By this I mean, try to always use room temperature eggs when you bake, and don't ever be in a huge rush to get this done.  If you are, something will almost always go wrong.  I can seriously, seriously tell you that there is truth into putting LOVE into your dishes.  Taking the time to baby them a little and not rush things, literally makes things blend together better and look so much more beautiful in the end. :) It's true.

2 1/2 cups Flour
1 cup Crisco shortening
1 teaspoon salt
Cut together with a fork or pastry cutter a little before adding
7-7 1/2 Tablespoons ice cold water (depending on how dry the air is)

Squish together with your hands and form into two balls. One will be about 3 quarters for the bottom of the dough and the other quarter for your top.
Toss a little flour on the counter and roll your bigger ball. Once it is about 1/4" thin, take a little flour and sprinkle it on the top. Take your rolling pin and roll the dough on to the rolling pin. Then hold it over your pie dish and unroll the dough. This is the best way I have found so that you don't tear your dough while transferring it.

Add filling inside the pie and then roll your quarter top ball. Add the dough the same way with your rolling pin. Take a butter knife and trim the edges. You can use a fork around the edge or make a fluted edge.

Peach Pie:
Depending on what size of pie dish you use, it will change the amount of peaches.
For a 10" pie dish : 4 cups sliced fresh peaches
For a 9-9.5 pie dish- 3- 31/2 cups sliced peaches
Note: Fresh peaches are always best, sometimes I use frozen but make sure that they are thawed before you bake the pie.
1/2 cup Heavy cream (the good stuff)
3/4 cup of sugar (if you are using the 4 cups) less for a smaller amount. Just play with it.
3 rounded tablespoons of Kraft minute tapioca
1 egg beaten (room temperature if possible) 
Mix this filling together and let it "rest" while you make your pie crust.
Make extra sure that you incorporate the egg well, the first time I made the pie, I didnt stir it well enough and I actually had scrambled egg at the top of the pie.  Awesome :(

Make sure and make two or three "vents" (small slices in the top dough)  if you do a full crust top, and brush a little egg wash or cream and sugar on top so that it browns nicely.

Bake at 375 for 1 hr or until golden brown on top and sides.  Serve warm, or let cool to room temp and put in the fridge to chill for a few hrs. (Cold is how I like it best, and it also holds together better when slicing)

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