Sunday, July 20, 2014

Coconut Almond Topped Peach Pie

The window of time for the best peaches seems to be pretty small in Texas.  Intending to get fresh fruit for the pie, I was disappointed only to find a sad selection of small hard peaches at the grocers.  Not the tender juicy ones I had in mind.  However, I came across had a note in a pie recipe book stating that sometimes the frozen ones are better because they are flash frozen at the peak of freshness.  So I went ahead and got frozen peaches.

When it comes to fruit pies, the fruit should be the most prominent thing you taste.  Some pies have just too much filling so you are tasting the syrupy type base more than the fruit.  As you can see in the picture, the syrup base keeps the peaches clinging together as opposed to floating in the base.

The crunchy topping is a great alternative to using pie crust.  It not only imparts a nice texture, it adds a little bit more flavor to the dessert.  Let's not forget that it is much easier to make than a pastry crust top for the pie!

Coconut Almond Topped Peach Pie
adapted from Pie by Ken Haedrich

Ingredients/Pie Crust
1/4 cup cold butter (cut into 1/4 inch pieces)
1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening (cut into pieces)
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp sugar

Ingredients/ Filling
1 1/2 tbs fresh lemon juice
zest from 1 lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup plus 3 tbs sugar
2 tbs cornstarch
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2- 1lb bags of frozen peaches, thawed in a large bowl

Ingredients/Pie Topping
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup sweetened coconut
6 tbs or 3/4 cup cold butter (cut into 1/4 inch pieces)
1 tbs milk
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup flour

For the pie crust, sift together the flour and salt.  Stir in the sugar.  Pour mixture into a food processor.  Add the butter cubes and pulse several times to cut into the dry ingredients.  Scrape the bowl and fluff with a fork.  Do the same with the pieces of shortening.  Drizzle 2 tbs of water over mixture and pulse until blended.  Fluff and then sprinkle additional 2 tbs of water over dough and pulse again. Empty dough into bowl and test texture. Mixture should clump together in your hand.  If still too dry, knead in a teaspoon of water.

Then sprinkle flour on a flat surface and empty bowl of dough on top of flour.  Knead the dough a few times and form into a 3/4" thick disk.  Wrap disk in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least and hour or overnight.

Once chilling time is complete, roll disk out on a floured surface to form a 13" circle.  Then invert into a 9 1/2 inch deep dish pie pan.  Make sure dough is covering all of the interior of the pie pan, so there are no bubbles of air.  Using your fingers or the tines of a fork, sculpt the extra dough hanging over the edge of the pie pan to make the upper edge of the crust.

Place pie tin in the freezer for 15 minutes.

The filling starts with tossing the lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/3 cup sugar and peaches together in a medium size bowl.  Set aside for 10 minutes for peaches to release more juice.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and the remaining 3 tbs of sugar.  Add to the peach mixture, stirring to make sure everything is evenly distributed.  Then mix the nutmeg and vanilla extract into the fruit filling.  Pour filling into the chilled pie crust and smooth the top.  Place in oven to bake for about 35 minutes.

While pie is baking, make the topping.  Fill food processor with coconut, almonds, flour , sugar and salt.  Press the pulse button about 6 times, running each pulse session about 5 seconds.  Then drop in butter cubes and run food processor until the mixture turns into crumbs.  Lastly, pour in milk and process until consistency is uniform.  Pour the crumb mixture in a bowl and test to see if the crumbs will clump together in your hand.  Put in refrigerator until pie has been removed from the oven.

Once pie is removed from oven, reduce temperature to 375 degrees.  Take crumb topping and dump into center of pie and smooth.  Then lightly pat down so crumbs form a solid coating over the peaches.

Cover a baking sheet with foil and place on the bottom rack of the oven.  Then place pie on the rack above.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until filling is thick and bubbly.

Remove and let cool for at least an hour prior to cutting and serving.

Tips and Notes:
1. The recipe states, partially frozen peaches instead of thawed.  To insure even baking of the crust as well as the filling, I thawed out the peaches completely before mixing to make filling.

2.  When it comes to making the dough, you can use other processing methods such as by hand and by using a mixer.

3. To make sure the bottom crust fully bakes, the freezer time should not exceed 15 minutes.

4.  While the recipe states dump the crumbs into the center of the pie and spread, I sprinkled them on top, this helps make the topping even. Also, not that the crumb mixture does seem like a lot, but the volume insures a crumbly top coat instead of the crumbs melting into the peach filling.
                                        **LAST YEAR: Pecan Tassies**