Friday, August 11, 2023

Southern Take On Peach-Blackberry Pie

Maybe it's just my perception, but I often think of pecans, brown sugar and bourbon as being key components to turn a dessert in the direction of the American South. Pie is also a favorite southern dessert, often a fruit pie. That was one of my Dad's favorite things to eat, although Sweetie also loves his cream pies.

This year has not been the best one for local peaches in the market. We had a lot of rain in the spring when the trees are usually blooming and setting fruit, so the crop is smaller. We had an unusually cool spring and early summer, too. As a result, local peaches are later and they seem smaller, too. Peaches that are shipped in have been uniformly rock hard.  You can put those rock hard peaches in brown paper bags and some will ripen, but some just get brown in the center near the pit by the time that the outer fruit is ripe. They also don't have as much flavor and tang as fresh, tree-ripened local peaches.

Fortunately I finally found some ripe white peaches at a local store, so I bought enough to make 4 cups of slices. I picked a pint of blackberries from the vines down the hill. That was enough fruit to make this wonderful pie! It is one of the best pies I've ever made...and it smells great, too.  Don't be put off by my instructions to use clean hands a lot...for this pie it makes things much easier. The fruit gets piled pretty high, so putting the topping on with your cupped palm works well.

Along with the two kinds of fruit, there is, of course, a pie shell, unbaked, plus a very Southern crumb topping that has melted butter, flour, brown sugar, bourbon, and pecans. Sweetie said that the crumb topping was what made this pie exceptional. It's a slight variation on one in a King Arthur Baking recipe. I didn't cover the topping with foil until some of the pecans had started to get pretty brown, so do keep an eye on that topping and cover it with heavy foil before I did!  So is this the best topping ever for a pie? Make it yourself and see what you think!

Peach and Blackberry Pie with Pecan-Bourbon Crumb Topping
a variation on Fast Summer Berry Pie by King Arthur Baking

Makes one 9-inch pie

1 prepared single-crust pie dough (I used 1/2 package Pillsbury ReadyCrust)
1 cup all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons bourbon
1/4 cup chopped or broken pecans
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh blackberries in a bowl
4 cups ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Position oven rack on the lowest level. If possible, place a baking stone or baking steel on the lowest rack.

Fit the pie dough circle in a regular-depth 9-inch diameter pie plate, metal if possible. Tuck under the edges to sit on top of the pie plate edge, then use your thumb and forefinger of opposite hands to flute the edge. Chill the pie shell until ready to fill.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar and salt. Add the bourbon to the melted butter, then pour the mixture into the flour mixture. Stir until crumbs form, then use your clean fingers to make sure that it is uniformly mixed. stir in the pecans. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, dry breadcrumbs, and salt. Add the blackberries and stir to coat lightly. Use clean fingers to gently remove coated berries back to their original container. Add peaches to the cornstarch mixture and gently toss to coat as well as possible with remaining mixture.

Scoop half the coated blackberries into the bottom of the prepared pie pan. Scoop about half the coated peaches on top, then scatter some more of the blackberries over the peaches, more peaches, more blackberries, more peaches until all the fruit is in the pie pan.

Use clean fingers to break up the clumps of topping a bit, then take palmfuls and use the crumbs to top the piled up fruit, covering the fruit with the crumb mixture.

Place the pie on a cookie sheet or pizza pan and place into the preheated oven onto the steel or stone or oven rack (if using glass, ceramic, or stoneware pie pan, do not use baking stone or steel...put directly on the oven rack to avoid breaking the pan). Bake at 25 degrees F for 15 minutes, being careful to cover the topping with heavy duty foil if it starts to over-brown. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F. and bake, covered with foil, for an additional 45 - 50 minutes, or until the filling near the edges of the pie is bubbling. The crust should be at least golden brown and the topping will likely be browned.

Remove from the oven and cool before slicing and serving.

No comments :

Post a Comment