Thursday, June 21, 2012

Baked "Not Fried" Peach Pies


Monday night my parents and I were watching the Masterchef season 3 episode where the contestants had to make homemade apple pies. It happens to me every time I watch food shows; I start craving the foods that are being cooked on tv. This can be a bad thing when I am watching the cooking shows late at night. Haha!
The apple pies the contestants were making brought back memories of my mom’s fried apple pies. I would watch her crimp the edges of the pies with a fork then lightly pan fry them in a cast iron skillet. She finished the pies with a dusting of cinnamon and sugar which took them over-the-top. 
In the South, women grow up in the kitchen watching their moms and grandmothers cook. This holds true for my mom who learned how to make fried apple pies from her grandmother and for me, who learned how to make them from my mom. I wish I could have sampled my great grandmother's (my mom's mom) generously filled fresh apple pies but my memories only take me as far as picking the apples from her trees. I can only imagine the aroma of fresh apples and cinnamon simmering in a pan on her stove.

What could possibly be better than a fried apple pie? Peaches. I love peaches and when they are in season I can eat them any and every way, though there is one way that takes the peach, my not so fried peach pie. I know you are thinking there isn’t anything better than a fried pie and don’t tell me a baked one will be as good but it is.  My baked “not fried” peach pies are just as flaky and crunchy as fried pies. The secret is in the dough.

To follow up my success in using olive oil in making biscuits (check out one of my previous blog posts for the recipe), I decided to try using olive oil in my pie dough. Why bother using olive oil? It is a pantry staple. Gone are the days of not being able to whip up a home baked goods because you don't have butter in your refrigerator. Olive oil is reigning supreme in my kitchen. I conducted my baking test with the olive oil to determine if I could achieve the same flaky texture of a pie crust without butter. For testing purposes, I used California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Knowing the importance of using ice cold ingredients in pie dough, I contemplated what I would do with the olive oil. Should I freeze it into a solid? Should I chill it until ice cold? I decided ice cold so I placed the bottle of olive oil in the freezer for 5 minutes to chill. If kept longer in the freezer, it would have frozen into a solid. 

I worked the olive oil into the dry ingredients with a fork, just like I would with butter. It produced this crumbly texture.
                                           Then I added ice cold water to form the dough.
What I couldn't believe is how simple it was to make these homemade pies. There is something nostalgic about making baked goods from scratch. I don't think there is anything that could make these pies any better.....though a scoop of ice cream or dollop of whipped cream couldn't hurt, after all they are baked. haha!
My mom and I talked about all of the different types of pies we could have by changing the filling. Strawberry, blueberry, or blackberry pies would be great to add to my 4th of July menu.

Baked “Fried” Peach Pies
Pie crust:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. fine cane sugar
¼ cup cold extra virgin olive oil (place in freezer for about 5 minutes)
1/3 cup or more ice cold water

Peach filling:
3 Tbsp. butter
1/4 to 1/3 cup light brown sugar (depending on the sweetness of your peaches)
3 large peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder.
Add the sugar. Work in the olive with a fork until fine crumbs are produced (as shown above). Mix the water into the crumble mixture until it is absorbed, then knead lightly (I do this with just one hand, in the bowl) until the dough forms a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle the brown sugar in the pan. Once the sugar begins to melt, lay the peach slices in the pan. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the peaches. Cook the peaches for 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a bowl and set aside until to cool to room temperature.

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle a little flour over the dough. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough to about 1/8-inch thick sphere. Using a 4-inch round cookie cutter, cut small spheres. Form the scraps of dough together and roll out again. Repeat. Until about 10 spheres are made.
If dough is thick, pat out until a little thinner. Fill  one side of each sphere with some of the peaches. Fold the dough over and pinch closed. Using a fork, press around the edges of each pie to seal.

In a small bowl, combine the egg and 1 Tbsp. water.
Place the pies on the baking sheet. Brush each pie with a little of the egg wash. Bake for 20 minutes.
Immediately transfer the pies to a cooling rack.

Enjoy the pies warm!


11 comments:

  1. Could I still do this recipe with apples?

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  2. This looks so good ... Love that it's baked and not fried :)

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  3. Whitney, I love your blog! Thank you for sharing your recipes in such an easy way to follow. I know what I'll be baking next! :D

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  4. What lovely pies you have! I was inspired by the fifth episode also. I made an apple pie for my friend-gathering party's dessert.Soooo good! I will definitely try your recipe and thank you for sharing. They looks absolutely gorgeous <3

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  5. Perfect! I have apples in the ref which have been waiting for me. I'll use your dough recipe this time as I see some modifications from the recipe I always use...except for the oil. Can I use canola oil instead? I might have both apple and peach pies since I also have a can of peaches waiting. :) Thank you for this post!!!! "A must" for this weekend! Couldn't wait anymore.

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  6. I wish I saw this last night!! I picked fresh blueberries yesterday and made a cobbler with them (and for the sake of not wasting my bananas that were getting too ripe, chopped a few of those up and tossed them in). But this looks so good! I will have to go pick more blueberries and make blueberry pies for my 4th of July BBQ. Could you share your 4th of July menu with us? Thanks! Gia

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  7. @Eve canola oil I think would work fine. I would love to know how your apple pies turn out.

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  8. @Gia We had a 4th July get together at my grandfather's camp and everybody brought something. My dad made his favorite deviled eggs and my mom made coleslaw. My younger sister made homemade ice cream.

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  9. @Molly I am so glad to hear that you are enjoying my blog. I love cooking simply but with flair.

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  10. Dear Whitney, thank you very much for making pastry dough extra healthy. I'd never have thought of olive oil for apple or peach pie, but it tastes excellent indeed and it's so much better than butter when it comes to eating healthy.

    I follow your beautiful blog from France. It is so inspiring ! Thank you so much !

    Clare

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