experiments in cooking

This past Saturday, I made the first pie I’ve ever made on my own in my entire life–a peach-raspberry pie made with fresh fruit from Martin’s Hillside Orchard just north of Lincoln.

I have to confess right up front that I used a storebought pie crust. I’ve been a little dough-shy since my last run-in with making a shortbread crust. I do know the mistake I made with that crust–adding sugar to sweeten it, which resulted in making it sticky and unmanageable. But even knowing what went wrong, I’m not yet ready to try another crust, so storebought it is, until I work up a little pluck. I am determined to try a crust again this fall. Just not yet.

I used a Joy of Cooking recipe for the pie; I use Joy of Cooking  recipes when they aren’t too complicated, because they do offer a lot of details around the fundamentals of cooking that I don’t find in recipes elsewhere.

The best tip I got on preparing the topping was to drop the peaches in boiling water for approximately one minute so that the skin would peel off easily. It worked like a dream. For the rest of my life, I will never peel peaches without boiling them first.

Last week, with baking pies on my mind, I did a fair bit of research online about the best temperature at which to bake a pie. Most recipes seem to call for baking the pie at 350 or 375 for at least an hour. Some recipes call for baking the pie at a higher temperature for 20-30 minutes and then lowering it to 350. This recipe was one of the latter, directing me to bake the pie at 425 for 30 minutes and then at 350 for 25-35 minutes more. In this case, I found that after lowering the temperature to 350, the pie was done in just 15 additional minutes, for a total baking time of 45 minutes.

In the process of making the pie, I discovered that I don’t own a 9-inch glass pie pan. I had to settle for a 10-inch pan, which did, as I had worried it would, result in juice from the filling bubbling up and over the crust which just wasn’t quite big enough for the pan. Fortunately, I had placed the pie on a baking sheet for the last half of the baking, and the baking sheet caught all the overflow. I faced quite a bit of work afterward getting peach-raspberry jelly off the baking sheet and pie pan, but better baked-on pie filling on those dishes than on the bottom of my stove.

I did make one mistake that I will not make again: adding too much lemon as a result of misreading the recipe. In fact, I tripled the amount of lemon juice. Which is probably why the finished pie was a little on the tart side–very tasty, but tart.

My next pie to try: apple pie. But first I want a fancy rotary apple peeler to avoid the nightmare of peeling apples by hand, something that I don’t think I’ve ever done. Currently I am waiting on a gift card for Bed, Bath & Beyond to arrive so I can get one.

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Comments on: "My First Pie – Peach Raspberry Pie" (12)

  1. I still have stuff on the bottom of my oven that I cannot get off. Just for the record I have a rotary apple corer peeler and if your apples aren’t perfectly round they can be a big hassle, plus you end up wasting a lot of apples. I have been known to fight with mine for a half an hour before getting any consistent results. Probably could have pealed them by hand in that time!

    • I really did want to try the rotary peeler, and it’s only $20 … but thanks for the caution, because I guess I was thinking of it as the savior of apple peeling! Probably I need to learn a good method for peeling one by hand too. My grandmother can peel an apple in one long strip, but she lives in Arizona so I can’t learn from her. 🙂 Sarah

    • Heidi, Drew at http://cooklikeyourgrandmother.com agrees with you about the rotary peeler. He says: “You might have one of these apple corer and slicer tools somewhere in your kitchen. Mine is packed up somewhere down in the basement. I hate it. It only works of the apple is completely symmetrical, it takes a lot of pressure to cut, and cleaning it is a chore.” So now I’m not sure I want to use my gift card on one. But I don’t have the right kind of peeler to do it by hand either, so maybe I should get one of those, and a 9-inch pie pan, using the gift card. Sarah

  2. My parents swear by their rotary apple peelers… yes, multiple. Their favorite is the adjustable one with all metal parts that has a two-point clamp to the working surface… they also say to avoid the ones with plastic parts as those break easily.

  3. Grandma N. used to be able to peel an apple by hand in one strip too. Not sure I would ask her to do that now though? LOL. I have 2 of those peeler/slicers. Not as efficient as you would think. I have one I like better than the other. In fact the one I like the best we bought at the hardware store. The one I despise, I bought from one of those at home parties my friend was hosting. Why do you think our grandmas have this talent and we don’t. Is it just a lost art? I really want to learn how to peel an apple like that, it would just come in so handy!

    • Oh, our amazing grandmothers! I wonder if there will be anything our own grandchildren admire about our kitchen skills … I sure hope so!

  4. So impressed with the pie baking!

    I’ve done apple pies with help from mom, but not on my own yet (other than the rustic kind that’s pretty much just folding some crust around some sliced apples). I’ve used a corer/slicer whenever I’ve worked with apples, though and loved it. I’ll be watching your experiences!

  5. i agree, Sarah. the ONLY way to peel peaches is with a quick blanch. i buy in bulk and blanch, then cut them up and freeze them in ziplocs in 2 cup portions. they stay really nice that way for pies and cobblers.

    • Kodie, that’s blanching? At last, I understand! I’ve always felt afraid to try any recipe that called for “blanching.” I was tricked into trying because Joy of Cooking just called it “dropping the peaches in boiled water for one minute.” Anyway, your idea of blanching and freezing is a great one. Thanks for the tip.

  6. I peel apples with a veggie peeler and then use one of those 12-slice apple corer/cutters and that really does work like a champ. Even Alton Brown from Food Network recommends it. I can’t peel it like Grandma, but the veggie peeler is much more efficient than my crappy knife skills. Also, I think that making crust from scratch is overrated!

    • Well, I bought a peeler/corer this week, so I’m going to try it out, probably this weekend. I plan to make an apple pandowdy, provided we can get to our favorite orchard tomorrow morning to pick apples.

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