I had a huge craving for a peach pie today. I had a vision, as usually happens with desserts, of a pie heavy in cinnamon, juicy fresh peaches, fresh flaky pie crust. Mmmm.
I bought the peaches and got to work late in the afternoon. I’d been having one of those days where my creativity was flowing. I got a few blog entries completed, watched a documentary on the power of one’s intuition (InnSaei – it’s pretty good), finished 2 charcoal drawings which I then framed and hung in my powder room, and hung new curtains. I’d also done several of the more mundane tasks – laundry, dishes, tidying up – which nevertheless are satisfying. One of those crazy productive days, you know?
Any how, I continued on the momentum of the day and started peeling my peaches, only to realize with dismay that they were bad! Peach after peach I cut open to to see the beginnings of rot. So disappointing! I managed to salvage about 2 peaches worth, but that was certainly not enough for the pie of my dreams. So the question now was – pie or no pie? I muttered under my breath, “I’ll be damned if I don’t get my pie”. I began to forage my fridge and my pantry, looking for whatever I could use to make this happen. I grabbed a pint of strawberries from the fridge, and on second thought reached for my beloved fig jam. I had leftover walnut topping from my favorite multigrain pumpkin muffins that just happened to be the perfect amount. 45 minutes later, my pie emerged, smelling and looking amazing.
There’s something really special about taking a risk and having it pay off. Any time you experiment, you run the risk of failure, which happens to me all the time. However, that shouldn’t stop you from exploring the world around you, from stepping out of your logical left-brained world that you’ve created for yourself. (That’s InnSaei talking – maybe I enjoyed the film more than I thought I did!)
You might be wondering if the fig jam is worth purchasing. The answer is YES, everyone needs to own fig jam! It is a more recent discovery of mine and I am obsessed. It is amazing on a cheese plate (think manchego, fig jam, procuitto!) and it adds an amazing depth to this pie. There’s lots of brands out there (I have this one). Opt for one that says “fig spread”.
You can really sub any berries and nuts in this pie (hence the name). Get creative and have fun with it! If using more juicy berries, I would increase the corn starch a little bit to ensure your pie sticks together.
Nuts & Berries PiePrint Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, (3 chilled and cubed)
- 1/4 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp vegetable shortening, chilled
- 1/4 cup ice water + vodka (half and half as best you can)
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 2 peaches (about 2 pounds total)
- 1 pint strawberries
- ¼ cup fig spread/ jam
- ¼ cup corn starch
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar,
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1/3 cup walnuts, processed to chunky pieces
Prepare the pie crust. Mix the 1 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 tsp salt together in a large bowl. Add 3 tbsp frozen and cubed butter and 1/4 + 1 1/2 tbsp chilled shortening. Cut fat into flour (I used my food processor) until it resembles a course meal (with pea sized chunks of fat). Drizzle the water in slowly, processing a little after each addition. Do not over process.
Transfer the pie dough to a floured work surface. The dough should come together easily. Knead the dough briefly until the fully incorporated. Form it into a ball and flatten. Roll out the crust.
Peel the peaches, Cut the flesh from the peach in sections, and then slice the sections into equal sized slices. Place slices in a large bowl. Remove tops from strawberries. Slice strawberries into ¼ inch thick slices, and add to the same bowl. Add sugar, jam, cinnamon, lemon zest, lemon juice (about 2 tbsp), and cornstarch. Mix well to combine.
Make the walnut crumb topping. Melt the remaining 2 tsp butter. Combine with Melt the remain 2 tsp butter. Combine with 1/4 tsp baking soda, 2 tbsp sugar, 1/4 cup flour, and walnuts. This should form a crumbly mixture.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease the pie pan. Roll out the pie crust in a 9in round. Fit into pan. Add in fruit filling in a level layer. Evenly distribute walnut topping over the pie. Place foil over the edges of the pie to prevent the crust from burning. Place in oven for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, remove the foil and allow the pie to cook for another 25 - 30 minutes or until gold brown and bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool.