Have you ever noticed what you reach for when you’re SO hungry you can’t think about anything else? Like when you don’t eat breakfast so by 10 a.m. that gooey donut at the office is impossible to resist. Or, in an effort to lose weight, you eat a salad at lunch but by the time 4 o’clock rolls around you’re starving so you grab the first thing you see and chow down uncontrollably on chips. Being prepared with a well stocked food supply is a key ingredient to eating clean and healthy consistently. Many people think its more expensive to eat fresh and healthy but there are ways to do it wihout spending more. For us that means storing as much fresh and local produce as we can for winter. We freeze many of our greens, green beans, beets, and some fruit. Our winter squash keeps well in the garage at 55 degrees stored not touching each other-all lined up in a row. For many freezing and canning questions check this site out…http://www.pickyourown.org Labor Day weekend we ventured to Greenbluff where we picked beautiful peaches for canning, freezing and pie making!! Jack was raised on a mini farm, growing much of their own food which included 200 peach trees. Needless to say, peaches are a family favorite.
Early on I was inspired by my sister in-law, Marta, who upon anticipating the arrival of guests, would turn out made from scratch, bubbly, fragrant fruit pies, fresh from her oven, and in the middle of winter! She has inspired me to do the same, putting anywhere from 15 to 25 peach and apple pies in our freezer every year that are oven ready. The benefit of creating our own pies is that we can control what we put in them, we can be creative, have homemade delicious dessert on hand for any occasion and we can choose healthy ingredients. We buy the fruit grown locally, that way it’s fresh and priced reasonably. Here is my simple recipe for peach pie. Although Marta’s crust recipe is hard to beat, I’ve tweaked it to be a bit more health. Where her original recipe uses unsalted butter, I use coconut oil and I substitute whole wheat pastry flour for some of the flour. Over the years we’ve developed a system of making multiple pies. In three hours we had 10 pies for the freezer and one for the oven! And here’s how we do it…. A few tips before you begin:
- Cover your kitchen table with newspaper for easy clean up and to protect it. Have all of your supplies and ingredients at the ready so once you start you won’t be interrupted by having to open a container or look for an ingredient.
- Have one person blanching and prepping the peaches and another rolling dough.
- Have all of the dough made before hand so it’s a seamless project
- 9 inch pie tins freeze well in gallon zip-locs
- Because I make 4 pies at a time, I mix the filling in 4 separate bowls because it keeps stirring to a minimum. I used to mix all 4 pie fillings in the same big bowl, but that resulted in too much juice at the bottom of the bowl. I’ve since found it more helpful to use 4 individual mixing bowls.
- You may want to experiment with different sweeteners. This is my recipe but any basic pie recipe would work.
- Play good background music
Let the fun begin!
To make 10 pies I make 2 1/2 crust recipes for 10 pies. I recommend making no more one batch at a time to maintain the quality flakey crust that’s desired for a yummy pie. Make all crust ahead and keep it covered with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. If you’ve refrigerated the dough, bring it to room temperature for an hour before rolling it out. The coconut oil gets too firm and unworkable when cold. It’s best when prepared the same day. Peach pie filling (makes 4 – 9 inch pies) 20 cups peeled and sliced ripe peaches 1 1/3 c. – 2 c. organic sucanat (dried sugar cane juice) depending on how sweet you like it 4 t. cinnamon 10 T. arrowroot powder or corn starch pinch of sea salt for each pie Putting it all together: One person has the task of blanching and slicing peaches. Prep 20 cups of peaches for the first batch of pies then repeat for the second batch. To make 10 pies total, prep 30 cups of peaches the second time around. Another person rolls out the bottom crusts. To roll out dough, lightly dampen your work surface and lay down a large sheet of seran wrap so it clings and doesn’t shift. Place a generous palm sized ball of dough on the center. Flatten lightly and shape into a circle as best you can without overworking the dough. Cover with another large sheet of seran.
Roll into a 14 inch circle (or so)- thin-but not see through. Remove top sheet of seran wrap and set aside. You will reuse these sheets repeatedly so take care not to wrinkle them. Lift the rolled dough by lifting the plastic wrap, placing your hand underneath and inverting the bottom crust onto the pie tin.
For making many pies. keep the wrap on the dough and stack all lined pie tins on top of one another while rolling out top crusts. You may want to put this stack in the fridge. Just make sure crusts are covered to prevent them from drying out.
Roll out 4 top crusts the same way but keep them rolled out in their seran sheets. Stack them and set them aside while you make the fillings. Divide the 20 cups of sliced peaches, 5 cups in each of 4 mixing bowls. Add the remaining ingredients to the peaches in each bowl. Stir to combine being careful not to over mix. Arrange the 4 lined pie tins on your table, poke dough with a fork 4 – 5 times around the bottom crust. Gently fill each pie. I like to make a “seal” by dipping my fingers in the juices of the filling and spread it around the dough on the edge of the pie tin.
Place the top crust on, sealng the edges with a little pressure. Hold the pie up off the table with one hand and with the other hand use a knife to trim the excess dough. Set the dough aside and cover, you will need it for the other pies. Apply a decorative edge, if desired.
Poke some slits in the top, cover with some of the seran wrap you set aside and place in a single layer on your freezer shelf. Repeat the above process for the next batch of pies, however many pies you want to make. Give pies a good 8 hours to freeze solid, then remove the plastic wrap and seal in zip loc gallon bags or with your Foodsaver Vaccum Sealer. Once they are frozen and sealed you can stack them on a shelf in your freezer.
When the occasion calls for pulling one out to bake…bake frozen in a 375 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours. You might want to cover the edges with thin strips of foil to keep them from getting overdone.
Now I’d call that a peach of a day –