I've written about my struggles with baking pastries and how I usually defer this type of baking to the experts. Since I usually leave the pastry baking to my wife, I've never baked a pie in my life, which is a damn shame considering how much I love pie. I'm the guy who rarely eats dessert at restaurants because I'm too cheap and I often consider the calories, but if I see pie on the menu, I suspend all rationale thought.
Monday I decided to confront my fears, expand my culinary repertoire, and attempt to bake a pie to celebrate National Pi Day. While pi and pie have very little in common, it's impossible to hear pi and not think of apple pie with a big dollop of ice cream.
Since I believe in taking baby steps, I used some of last summer's frozen peaches, I also used frozen pie dough and I baked little hand pies rather than a whole pie.
There are two things you need to know about hand pies: First, when you pull these cuties from the oven allow them to cool completely. Biting into a hot pie will place your taste buds on injured reserve for several weeks. I speak from experience. In fact, biting into a molten pie is such a severe form of torture that even Dick Cheney wouldn't condone its use.
Second, hand pie is not a sexual euphenism, so get your mind out of the gutter. Although I never want to hear my daughter utter the following: "After the game I gave Bubba a little hand pie."
I used frozen pie dough for my recipe, but feel free to make your own dough. Below is the recipe for the filling.
Ginger-Peach Hand Pies
Pie Filling Ingredients:
- 3 cups peeled and pitted ripe peaches cut into bite-size chunks.
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- pinch of nutmeg
- 2 tablespoon freshly chopped ginger
- Combine the peaches and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 4 minutes.
- In a separate small bowl, mix the orange juice, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Add to the peaches. Add ginger. Increase the heat and continue to cook, stirring, until thickened and clear, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and add nutmeg. Let cool.
- Note: I made tiny pies, but if you want to make just four large pies, this would much easier. Spooning the filling into little pies of dough proved to be quite difficult. Divide dough into four equal pieces and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Spoon cooled filling over half of the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the edge. Moisten the edge of the pastry with a finger, then fold the empty half over the filling. Press the edges together with a fork. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate while you make the remaining pies, putting each on the sheet as it is assembled. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Remove the sheet from the refrigerator and brush each pie with a little milk. sprinkle with granulated sugar, then poke the surface of each pie 2-3 times with a fork to make steam vents. Place the sheet on the center oven rack and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperate to 375 degrees and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. If necessary for even browning, rotate the sheet 180 degrees, so that the side that faced the back of the oven now faces forward, about 10 minutes before the pies are done.
- Transfer the pies to a wire rack and let cool before you enjoy them.