Easy as Pie: Strawberry, Mango, and Peach Pie
May 26, 2011 § 1 Comment
I get the feeling that whoever popularized the phrase, “easy as pie” either was only talking about the second half of the pie making process wherein peeled fruit, sugar, and a bit of butter can easily be haphazardly tossed into a pie shell, covered with a pie crust that magically appeared from the piecrust-making fairies, and thrown into the oven at 350F or 375F for around an hour, or that person was using the phrase as a marketing ploy for pre-made pie crusts, in which case, he was a genius and a liar. Or maybe he was just talking about key lime pies where all anyone needs to do to create the crust is pulverize ginger snaps and mix with melted butter. Either way, hand-making the pie crust is not “easy as pie”, even with a stand mixer and a food processor. The rolling out the dough process makes me nervous. The usage of lard and butter frightens me—where do I even get lard these days? I’ve read in so many food blogs that a good rule of thumb is that only when you feel like dying do you know you’re making a good pie crust; that tidbit of knowledge causes me to quiver in a corner of my kitchen with my rolled up pre-made pie dough as weapon.
While I like making my cakes, cupcakes, and cheesecakes from scratch, I have absolutely no qualms with having a little help from the supermarket when it comes to fruit pies. The fruits are pre-cut and frozen; the pie crust has the perfect zig-zag edge and frozen; and the pie dough is ready to be rolled out and cut into strips then covered with an egg wash. I’m cheating, I know. And it kind of makes me feel like a rebel. Ooh. I like that.
In my defense, this way actually brings truth to “easy as pie”. And it doesn’t make me cry and want to die just to get a decent pie.
Since we’re visiting Wayne’s parents this Memorial Day weekend, I wanted to bake them something. I know his parents love my peach pie, but I decided to go throw in some additional summery fruits, strawberries and mango– I’m convinced ripe mango is nature’s creamy jell-o–, along with the peaches since this weekend marks the beginning of summer. I used this peach recipe as a guideline for measurements, but I didn’t follow it very strictly and threw in substitutions based on my mood. Here’s the recipe I ended up with by the time I put the pie in the oven:
1 lb of fruit (thawed, please)
1/3 cup of all-purpose flour (I threw in a little more to help prevent the pie from being runny from the extra water in the frozen fruit)
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 tbsp of cinnamon (Okay, I’m just lying here about the measurement. I shook the bottle until I liked the pattern that came out. I’ll say around 8 shakes? Maybe 10?)
1/4 cup (I guesstimated here, might have been less) of butter that has been set out on the counter for 20 minutes
1 deep-dish pie crust (probably in pie tin)
1 pre-made rolled pie dough
1. Set oven at 350F.
2. Cut the butter in to small pieces. Pour in the sugar and flour. Sprinkle the cinnamon. Mix with two forks until crumbly.
3. Line the bottom of the pie with half of the fruit. Cover the fruit with half of the butter-flour-sugar-cinnamon mixture. Then line the rest of the fruit on to the pie and cover with the butter-flour-sugar-cinnamon mixture.
4. Roll out the pie dough and cut into strips about an inch to an inch and a half (I was bad at eye-balling it; the strips came out diagonal after a while).
5. Weave the stripes on top of the pie in a criss-cross fashion to create a lattice top.
6. Break the egg into a small bowl and mix it with a pastry brush to prepare the egg wash. Brush the egg wash onto the lattice top.
7. Bake the pie for an hour, or until crust is golden.
8. After the hour is done, turn off the oven and leave the pie in the oven for an hour, or overnight. This will help the juices in the pie thicken and prevent runny-ness.