Thinking about old food service jobs.
I have worked around my share of stressed out bakers. They smoke a lot, drink a ton, and are terrible at fidelity. They also make great fucking pie. They put chocolate on everything, sugar, salt, and bacon in everything. You’ll be sweating butter by the time you’re done eating. Crazy fucking delicious. Want to see a show? Watch a stressed out baker make a pie. Screw up the crust, make the filling too watery, or let the meringue set for too long, and stuff like that will send a baker from 0 to 100 in two seconds. I once watched a pastry chef and a line cook almost go to blows over a brownie recipe. I’m still dreaming of the fruit tarts from a now long defunct eatery in the MPD (Meatpacking District for you non-NYC folk). They made the best baked goods. The owner and head pastry chef had long left and the place was a dysfunctional mess. In the last months the place was opened, they had one pastry chef apprentice who had to make everything, for both the kitchen and the retail bakery next door. It was a hot mess. I didn’t envy her job. She would come into work all nice and fresh faced, and then she would emerge from the basement hours later all sweaty and flushed like she’d just done two rounds with Holly HolmJ. I sure do miss the food, not so much the life (or the people!).
I felt nostalgic for those tarts, but on a lazy Sunday, I decided to make a pie instead. I had a ton of frozen and canned peaches in the kitchen, the result of a failed plan to make my own ice cream this summer. At some point, I realized that I’ve never had peach pie. It never appealed to me, and I’m saying this as someone who’s eaten some goofy-ass pies. Goat cheese-sea salt-caramel, blue cheese-pear-ginger, bacon-fig- chocolate, fig-balsamic-rosemary. These are pretty safe, though, I once had an oyster and beer pot pie that was a vile as you’d imagine it would be. Me? I like stuff as simple as they can get.
I didn’t do much with this pie. No crumble toppings, no silly sea-salt caramel drizzles, no cinnamon-sugar crusts. Basically, no bullshit. Peach pie is pretty good, but it has nada over blueberry pie. I don’t like my pies too sweet, which is why this recipe has very little sugar, but you can had more if you like. You can also use frozen peaches for this recipe, but make sure that they’re fully thawed first.
Gluten Free Peach Pie
Gluten-Free Pie Crust
½ c. brown rice flour*
½ c. spelt flour*
2 T. potato starch
¼ t. xantham gum
½ t. fine sea salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
5-7 T. ice water
*You may substitute your own gluten free flour mix for this recipe.
2-15 oz. cans sliced peaches in natural juice (if you use peaches in heavy syrup, make sure to rinse them off first)
¼ t. ground nutmeg
½ t. ground cinnamon
1/8 t. ground allspice
6 T. cornstarch
3 T. lemon juice
½ c. dark brown sugar
A 9-inch pie pan
For the crust: In a large bowl, add flour, salt, and cold butter. Using a pastry cutter, cut butter into the flour until pieces are pea-sized.
Mix ice water, one tablespoon at a time, into flour mixture.
Using your hands knead water into the flour mixture until the dough is soft and is held together, not crumbly or sticky (For crumbly dough, add more water, for sticky dough, add flour one tablespoon at a time.).
Turn the dough onto a floured surface. Cut in half. Roll each piece into a smooth ball.
Wrap dough balls with waxed paper and refrigerate for thirty (30) minutes up to one (1) hour.
Remove dough ball from the fridge and let sit on the counter for ten minutes before rolling.
On a floured surface and using a rolling pin, roll the dough from the center and then outwards, about twice the width of the pie pan. Do not press down on the dough, but, roll the dough firmly and lightly.
Coat pan with butter or non-stick spray and a light coat of flour. Gently place one piece of dough into the pan, working the dough into the corners. Do the same with the second piece of dough until the pan is completely covered.
Place dough in the refrigerator for 25-30 minutes.
For filling: In a medium bowl, add peaches, spices, sugar. Combine all until well mix. Stir in cornstarch. Set aside.
After chilling the pie dough, remove it from the refrigerator. Drain liquid from the pie filling (You can set the filling aside and use it as a topping).
Fill the pie with filling, arranging the peaches so that every corner is covered.
Bake 400°F for 40-45 minutes until the crust is a golden brown.
Let cool before serving.
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