A Pocketful of Peaches
Like many a baker, gadgets are my Achilles heel. And I've noticed that all the cooking stores are getting better and better at pumping out cute little tools and machines that illuminate previously-unknown voids in your kitchen inventory. My saving graces are that I don't have a kitchen the size of Martha Stewart's, nor do I have her budget either.
Still, it's always fun to browse my neighborhood stores, if only to get baking inspiration. While I might not purchase the newest giant Oreo-shaped cake pan, I might go home with a hankering to make whoopie pies or cream-filled sandwich cookies. Sometimes, though, they pitch to the perfect sweet spot, and you find yourself walking home with another spatula in your absolute favorite shade of pink, or some Star Wars-shaped cookie cutters, or perhaps this mini lattice pie mold from Williams-Sonoma.
The little mold is fairly clever in design: The outside of the mold works like a cookie cutter so you can cut out the shapes for your pies; then you place one of the pieces of cut-out dough on the inside of the mold, spoon in some filling, place another piece of dough on top, and close the mold to crimp the edges together. Obviously, this is not a true lattice top per se, but it's a pretty replication. And the fact that there are peaches everywhere right now, and I was struck with an intense desire to make some peach pie right away.
If you don't mind accumulating baking gadgets (despite all attempts at a thorough cleaning-out when I moved, my baking collection remain an eclectic, ever-morphing warren of the long-coveted, the impulse-purchased, and accidentally-acquired), this little guy is less than $10 and does its job fairly well. I wouldn't say it renders pie-making hassle free: you still need to make the pie dough and filling, and then assemble the pies. For those pie purists who've honed their pie strategies within an inch of their carefully-floured counter, this might seem a little silly. But I rather enjoyed making little individual pies, flaky-crisp pockets of rosy peaches dotted with cinnamon and nutmeg. The way these pocket-pies are shaped too, almost remind me of muffin tops in form and function: there's almost a constant perfect crust-to-filling ratio, with no soggy parts.
The pie crust recipe below is adapted from the box the cutter came in, although your favorite pie crust recipe will do just fine. I threw some ginger in the recipe to give a prickle of heat that played nicely with the gloriously sweet, juicy peach filling. (P.S., if you aren't in the market for a cutter, you can always cut out shapes with your favorite cookie cutters - remember it should be big enough to contain a generous dollop of filling - and crimp the edges together with a fork.)
P.P.S. I am slowly getting around to thank-you notes and replies to everyone who sent wedding well-wishes. I'm trying to get to everyone as soon as I can - thanks for your patience!
Mini Lattice Peach Pies
Makes about four 5" round pies
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ginger
1 tablespoon sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
about 3-4 tablespoons ice water
1 egg, beaten with a a teaspoon water, for egg wash
Sugar for sprinkling
Combine flour, salt, ginger, and sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times until combined.
Add butter and pulse just a few times until pea-sized crumbs form. It should still be crumbly.
Add water a tablespoon at a time and pulse just a couple times. Dough should hold together when you squeeze it but should not be sticky. Add more water if necessary, a teaspoon at a time.
Turn out dough onto plastic wrap, form into a disk, and wrap tightly. Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
3 ripe peaches, peeled
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons minute tapioca
Halve and pit the peaches. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
Toss peach pieces in a medium bowl with lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and tapioca.
To make the pies: Take out dough and let stand at room temperature for a few minutes.
Roll out dough to 1/8" thick on a floured surface. Use cutter to cut out shapes for tops and bottoms.
Place a bottom disk of dough on the cutter mold. Brush the edges with a little egg wash.
Spoon in a few tablespoons of the filling. Top with another disk of dough.
Press mold down to crimp edges together, or use a fork to press the edges together.
Transfer the pie to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat.
Repeat with remaining disks of dough.
Freeze pies for 30 minutes before baking.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush the tops of the pies with some egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 20 to 24 minutes, until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling.
Cool baking sheet with pies on a wire rack for 10 minutes before serving.