So one year of college down. Highlights include: driving various Subarus, surviving the (mild) Vermont winter, writing 26 papers (but who’s counting…), learning how to properly cut an avocado, getting poison ivy, and explaining the pronunciation of my name on nearly a daily basis. My friend taught me how to say ‘toothbrush’ in Dutch (“tandenborstel”), I overcame mono, and finally found the gym the week before Thanksgiving break. I mistook Grape Nuts for granola, fell off my awkwardly tall bed, and realized my roommate was on the cross-country ski team instead of the downhill ski team after about a month and a half of living with her. I spread the magic of North Carolinian Cheerwine to a select group of lucky people on my hall, grabbed a great piece of butt of the lead singer from Guster as he crowd surfed, and realized I never want to take Mandarin.
All in all, it was a great first year. Though yesterday when I walked through the back gate with an assortment of backpacks, tote bags, and a handful of accumulated sombreros to the welcoming scent of dog poop and my dad’s basil plants, I was glad to be home. I enjoyed my first hours at home sleeping and in silence; exam week gifted me with a combo cough and cold that robbed me of my voice. But no worries; my parents and brothers had lots of talking-at-me to do, so I could sit, listen, and shake my head no to their queries about any imaginary boyfriend.
One of my classes this semester was an introduction to creative writing course, and I wrote a quasi-autobiographical “fiction” piece about a southern girl’s disastrous experience baking a peach cobbler. Ever since, I’ve been craving some sort of peachy treat, so I decided to ring in the summer with a Peach-Blueberry Pie. I loosely based this dish off of Joy the Baker’s recipe, using my go-to crust from Willow Bird Baking. I tweaked a few things here and there, and this is what I came up with…
Peach Blueberry Pie
Source: Adapted from Joy the Baker; crust from Willow Bird Baking
Yield: 1 large pie
Ingredients: Crust: 2 cups flour, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 cup cold shortening, 1/2 cup cold butter (chopped), 4-5 tablespoons ice cold water; Filling: about 3 lbs ripe peaches (approx 6 peaches), 1 cup+ blueberries (I used 1 carton), ½ cup granulated sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, ½ tsp ground nutmeg, 1/8 tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp ground coriander, 3 tablespoons all purpose flour, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 2 tsp fresh lemon juice, 1 egg, beaten, for egg wash, 2 tablespoons sugar and ½ tsp ground cinnamon for topping before baking.
1. Make 2 crusts: Pulse 2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt together in a food processor to combine. Add cubes of ¼ cup shortening and pulse until the mixture has the texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds. Add in ½ cup of butter cubed and pulse until butter pieces are no larger than small peas, about 10 pulses. Add 4 tablespoons water and pulse on low. If dough remains crumbly and doesn’t come together, add another tablespoon of water. Add as little as is required to enable the dough to be rolled into a ball. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes (if you’re in a hurry, chill in the freezer for about 10 minutes). Roll disk of dough out to around ¼ inch thick.
2. To make the filling, wash and slice the peaches. In a medium bowl, combine peach slices and blueberries.
3. In a different small bowl, whisk together sugar, spices, flour, and cornstarch.
4. Pour the sugar mixture over the fruit, and gently toss together with a wooden spoon.
5. Stir in the lemon juice. Place bowl of fruit in the fridge to rest while you roll the crust out.
6. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and place a baking sheet on the lower rack, just below where you’re going to place the pie. This will catch any pie drippings without making a mess of your oven.
7. Remove one of the pie dough disks from the fridge. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into about a 13-inch round. Gently lift the 13-inch round from the floured surface and center in the 9-inch baking dish. Place in the fridge while you roll out the top crust.
8. Roll out the top crust just as you did the bottom crust, moving the dough across the floured surface every once in a while, and creating a roughly 13-inch circle.
9. Remove the bottom crust and fruit filling from the fridge. Gently pour the fruit filling into the pie dish.
10. Carefully remove the top crust from the work surface and drape over the fruit in the pie dish. With a small knife, trim the crust, leaving about 3/4-inch overhang. With your fingers press the top and bottom crusts together and fold under. Use a fork or your fingers to crimp the edges of the dough. Cut five small slits in the top of the crust so the juices and steam can vent.
11. Brush lightly with beaten egg and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.
12. Place pie in the oven and bake at 400º F for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 375º and bake for 45 to 55 more minutes. Remove from the oven when crust is browned and golden, and the juices are bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 2 hours before serving. Place covered in the fridge to store. Pie lasts up to 3 or 4 days.