Peach Pie

This week’s pie post is dedicated to my sister Rebecca Kane who is getting married this weekend. I asked Bex (as I call her) what is her favorite kind of pie. “Peach or blueberry,” she responded over text message. So I went for the peach. This is a picture of us when we were much younger. I’m the older one.

My memories of peaches date back to New Years 2000. A group of friends and I decided we wanted to have nothing to do with New York City at the turn of the millennium so we decided to road trip down to Georgia where a friend had a house for us to party in. My first impressions of Georgia, or Atlanta as I drove into the city was that every street name had something to do with peaches. Peachtree road. Peach drive. Peach lane. I mean I guess if you live there you don’t get confused…”meet you on the corner of peach and peach?” And you would know exactly what they meant. I on the other hand found it rather confusing and odd. I mean show pride for the peach, but diversify your street names.

I found this week’s pie recipe a bit more challenging than last week’s. The graham cracker crust that I made last week I had made before. This was my first regular ole piecrust. I combined in my kitchen aid mixer (although I think a food processor could have been better) 1 ½ cups of all purpose flour, 1 tbsp of sugar, ½ teaspoon of salt, ¾ stick of butter, diced, 1/3 cup of shortening frozen and diced, and 3 ½ tbsp of ice water. The dough came out a bit moist; this could be because I forgot to add some of the flour and put it in at the end or because my shortening was not so frozen. I let the dough sit in the fridge for an hour, but it still was a bit tough to roll out. Instead, I sort of pressed it into the pie plate.

I bought 7 peaches at the local farmer’s market near where I work. They came from Wilklow Orchards. Yay, for locally grown. Then I realized I needed one more. So, the 8th came from Key Food. I peeled the peaches and cut into one-inch slices. I tossed the peaches with ¾ cup of sugar, 2 tbsp of quick-cookie tapioca, ¾ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ tsp cardamom, ¼ tsp nutmeg, and 1 ½ tsp lemon juice. Let it stand for about 20 minutes and tossed the peaches occasionally. I then poured the peaches into the pie crust.

For the topping I combined 3 tbsp of packed light brown sugar, ½ tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp salt, and 5 tbsp. melted unsalted butter. I crumbled the mixture on top of the pie. Baked the pie at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, then covered and am cooking for an hour at 350.

The pie cooks as I write and I can’t wait to share it with my sister and the rest of the folks I’ll see this week. Thanks so much to Ora and Molly for inviting me to post on Pie Time. B’tei Avon!

Pie Time: Key Lime Pie

Thanks Molly for having me as a guest pie blogger!

My first memory of key lime pie takes place in Key West, Florida. My 11- or 12-year-old self wondered about how the lime made it to Key West, Florida. In addition, I could not figure out what the difference was between a lime and a key lime. So in my journey of baking a key lime pie last week, I searched for the answers. A few googles later…the limes that we now call “key” are native to Malaysia. The limes came over with the Spanish to the now Florida Keys in 1500 and thus became known as “key limes.” The limes we typically find in the grocery store are Persian limes. In the 19th century a woman named “Aunt Sally” first made a Key Lime Pie, which is a funny coincidence cause I have an Aunt Sally. The pie was a big hit at the time because it required no milk, no refrigeration, and no ice, items not available in the Keys until the 1930s.

When looking for a good key lime pie recipe, remember it is not necessary to have key limes to make the pie. Unless you are living in the Florida Keys, in which case shame on you if you don’t use the local limes. There are several ways to make a key lime pie. I chose to go with a graham cracker crust, which is pretty simple to make. You can either crush up graham crackers or go with the pre-crushed. Whisk together 5 tablespoons of melted butter with 1½ cups of graham cracker crumbs. Press the crumbs into a pie plate and bake at 350 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes.

While the crust is baking, combine 2 14-ounce cans of condensed milk, 1 cup of lime juice, and 2 whole eggs.

Let the crust cool a bit and then pour in mixture. I found that I had leftover mixture for a 9-inch pie so I ended up quickly throwing together a little more crust and making a small heart-shaped key lime pie tart.

Now, for many this could be the end of your key lime pie baking journey. You could bake the pie for 15 minutes and then let it chill for a couple of hours and eat. I chose to make a meringue to put on top. If you want to go this route, beat together 2 egg whites and ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar (found in the spice section of your grocery store) until peaks form. Then blend in ¼ cup of sugar. Finally fold in about a teaspoon of lime zest. Spread on top of pie and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until meringue is golden brown. If you want to dig in right away, try to at least let it cool for about 45 minutes. If you have some more time let it chill in the refrigerator for several hours.

In sum, this is a great summertime desert. Refreshing. Light and tangy. For me, the best part of baking is sharing. I shared the little tart with my girlfriend. I then brought the pie over to a dinner gathering the following night. The rest of the pie then served as a thank you to Jose for painting my office last week.

One final note: if you love key lime pie and are not so into making it yourself and you are in the New York City area, I highly recommend Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies in Red Hook, Brooklyn. I like that Steve calls his place authentic…perhaps, Red Hook is the Key West of New York City. No matter what, Steve’s got good key lime pie. Enjoy and B’tei Avon (Hebrew for Bon Appetit!).