Putting Pie By

From SimplyRecipes. YMMV, but not much.

Remember that huge windstorm some years ago? We lost power for six days and kept both the gas fireplace and the wood-burning going all day long just to maintain an indoor temperature of 54F. It was fuh-reezing--unless you were a frozen pie. Yes, it was just warm enough for everything in the freezer to thaw, including the six frozen fruit pies I'd made in the summer. All this time later, the thought of those pies can still bring a grrrr to my lips. Why didn't I take the pies to our friends' freezer in Seattle? Why, why, why? I would've had to pay them with a pie, but I still would've have had five left. Believe me, when I see all those "3 Days, 3 Ways" emergency-preparedness ads, I think of how, next time around, I will protect my frozen pies.

I bring all this up because, at long last, it is pie-making time. Time to spend half a day in hard labor in order to reap benefits clear through to next summer. Our family's favorites are blueberry and peach. And good thing, because they freeze beautifully and you can even convince yourself that they make healthy breakfast foods. Blueberry pies are the absolute easiest, but peach is a favorite close-second, and now that the freestone peaches are in, it's time.

What you'll need:

  • Decide which flavor of pie you mean to tackle.
  • several 9" pie pans
  • a half-flat of blueberries  --OR--
  • a box of peaches (ask our peach farmers if there are deals on a whole box. Or, better yet, if they have bruises and rejects they're willing to sell at a discount. Your pie won't know the difference. FREESTONE!)

The Crust. (This recipe appears in the Bellevue Farmers Market Cookbook, where it was a contribution of longtime First Presbyterian Church of Bellevue choir member Joyce Blomquist. We make no other pie crust in our home since we had Joyce's.)

Joyce's "Never-Fail" Pie Crust
(Makes 4 single crusts or 2 2-crust pies. For a half-flat of blueberries, you may want to double this recipe. If you're making both blueberry and peach, you make want to quadruple it! Don't worry about ending up with too many crusts. I freeze extra lumps of it, roll them out when wanted, and--voila!--cobbler topping!)
3 c. flour
1 tsp salt
1-1/4 c shortening (I have successfully substituted lard)

Cut the above ingredients together until the shortening is evenly distributed and in "pebbles."

1 egg
1 Tbsp vinegar
5 Tbsp water
Add to flour-shortening mixture, 2 Tbsp at a time.

Divide dough into four portions, approximately 7 ozs per crust. Roll out when needed.

For the blueberry pie filling, I use the recipe from The New Good Housekeeping Cookbook (this recipe is per pie):
2 pts blueberries (about 5 cups)
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 to 2/3 cup flour (use the larger amount if you intend to freeze the pie)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh grated lemon peel
1/8 tsp salt

For the peach pie filling, use the recipe from the BFM cookbook or Good Housekeeping (recipe is per pie):
8 medium-size peaches (about 2 lbs). Score a shallow X on the bottom of each peach. Heat a large pot of water to boiling. Dunk the peaches in for about 15 seconds each, until you see the skin loosen up or peel back. Remove from water and slip skins off when cool enough to handle. (That's the pain in the neck with peach pie!) Slice thickly.
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 - 2/3 c flour (use larger amount if you intend to freeze the pie)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated fresh lemon peel

To finish either pie:
Combine in a bowl. Put the bottom crust in the pie pan, dump in the filling, cover with top crust. Pinch edges to seal. Bake 40-50 minutes at 425F OR cover tightly with plastic wrap and foil and FREEZE. Later, when you want to bake it, let it thaw on the counter most of the way, then bake at 425F for 50-65 minutes.

Put in the work, and reap the benefits!