Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Really Deep-Dish Peach Crumb Pie

                                       “Really love your peaches, want to shake your tree…”

It’s our prime peach season right now with the arrival of freestone peaches, which makes making anything with peaches all that much easier. So last week at our local farmer’s market I bought a case of peaches. I might plead insanity if there weren’t others doing the same thing. My plan was to take some to work for dessert specials, give visiting oldest daughter some to take home, and use the rest throughout the week.
This week’s pie night offering will be a deep-dish pie. Really deep, made in a spring form pan with the peaches piled high.
Making the pie in a spring form pan has a few challenges but they’re easy to overcome. The recipes for the crust and the crumb topping are included at the end of the main recipe so you won’t have to track them down elsewhere.

Really Deep-Dish Peach Crumb Pie
You will need a double crust recipe of pie crust dough. There will be extra dough but it’s easier than making too little and running short.
It will help to line the ring of your spring form pan with parchment paper (or aluminum foil). This will make it easier to remove the ring of the pan from the pie when you go to serve it. The crust won’t stick to the sides of the pan and all you will have to do is peel the paper off from around the pie. Parchment works best for this if you have it.
The crumb topping can be made in advance and stored in a food storage bag in the refrigerator or freezer.
This is a big pie. It will take about 1 hour and 20 minutes to bake.

8 cups sliced peaches (This was about 4 ¾ pounds of peaches)
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
4 Tablespoons cornstarch
Pie Crust (recipe below)
Crumb Topping (recipe below)

1. Halve the peaches and remove the pits. Cut each peach half in half again then peel them. Cut the peaches into ½” pieces and place them into a bowl. Add the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and stir. Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes.
2. Prepare the spring form pan. The bottom of a spring form pan has a side that has a small lip at the edge. You do not want that side to be the bottom of your pan. Turn it so that the smooth, flat surface is facing up in the pan. Attach the ring to the pan. Cut strips of parchment paper about 2” wide. To stick the paper to the ring of the pan either spray the ring with food release or use butter. Press the paper in place. You do not need to line the bottom of the pan. Place the prepared pan into the freezer to chill.
3. Roll out your crust to 1/8” thickness, about 13-14” in size. There will be excess dough. Remove the spring form pan from the freezer and carefully fit the dough into the pan; the cold surface of the pan will help the dough stick to the sides as you fit it in place, which will make the job easier. Trim the edges of the dough so that you have about a 2” height all around the pan. Use a fork to lightly prick the bottom and sides of the crust. Return the pan to the freezer.
4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the spring form pan from the freezer. Place the pan onto a baking sheet. Line the inside of the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil. Fill the foil with pie weights or dried beans or rice, pushing the weights up the sides of the crust. Place the pan into the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove that pan after 15 minutes, carefully remove the piece of foil filled with the pie weights then return the empty shell to the oven to bake for an additional 5 minutes. After five minutes, remove the pan from the oven and set aside to cool.
5. Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Mix the cornstarch into the peaches. Spoon the peaches into the pie shell. You will have to mound them slightly higher in the center. Pour most of the remaining juices in the bowl over the peaches. Spread the crumb mixture over the peaches. Place the tray with the pie into the oven and bake for 10 minutes; after 10 minutes, lower the temperature to 350 and continue baking for 1 hour and 15-20   minutes, when the filling is bubbling. Remove the pie from the oven and set aside to cool completely.
To serve, remove the ring from the pan and peel away the parchment paper.
This one’s a big one. Where’s the ice cream?

 Pie Crust Dough
This is a double recipe as needed above
 3 cups all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening  (or substitute with ½ cup shortening and ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
¾ cup cold water

1. Place the flour and salt into a bowl. Using a fork or a pastry cutter, cut half of the shortening into the flour until it makes small crumbs; cut the remaining shortening into the flour, leaving it in larger sized pieces. Add the water a little at a time and mix until a ball of dough comes together. Remove the dough from the bowl. Pat it flat, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour. This can also be made a day in advance.

Crumb Topping
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons cup sugar
¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons brown sugar (either dark of light)
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1. To make the crumb topping, place all of the dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix the ingredients together. Add the butter and mix until the mixture comes together and forms medium-sized crumbs. Set aside. (Alternately, this can be done by hand using a fork or a pastry blender).
There will be slightly more crumb topping than what you will need for this recipe.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015



“You can do anything with local food.” –Corbin Evans

One of the better parts of working in restaurants is the people who cross your path. Very often they move on and you lose track of them but thanks to the Internet, you can find them again.
Corbin Evans is one of those people. Corbin and I worked together in a Philadelphia restaurant years ago. Corbin left to open his own place but closed it due to landlord problems. He moved on, down south, landing in New Orleans. A chef of great talent, his career has experienced highs (recognition from national press) and lows (Hurricane Katrina). After taking a soul -crushing job in institutional cooking to get back on his feet after the hurricane (“Use only these vendors. No local food”), he struck a deal with the owner of the Lyric Theatre in downtown Oxford, Mississippi. Carving out a tiny kitchen from an unused closet (literally) he opened Oxford Canteen, a place where he can cook as he pleases and follow his philosophy of sourcing food locally.
It has worked. Oxford Canteen celebrated its first birthday in March. Corbin is not a person of many words (his own admission) but you can get an idea of the man through his food. The Canteen may be miles away from where you are right now but  if you are ever planning to pass through Oxford, (Ole Miss) you should make it a stop. It’s tucked down an alley but I would imagine anyone you ask would know where it is. You can check out the website below.
Having built up Corbin and his food, this is not his recipe. Sorry. But I feel it’s in his spirit, that of taking good fresh, local ingredients, borrowing an idea from somewhere (in this case, elote, Mexican corn on the cob) and making it into something “new” and delicious.
Elote is Mexican street food: grilled corn on the cob slathered with mayo or crema, ancho chile powder, lime juice, and cotija cheese. For this recipe, the corn is first grilled then cut of the cob. The corn is mixed with greens and some seasonal vegetables then tossed in a dressing made up from flavors you would find in elote. A sprinkle of some cotija cheese finishes the salad. It’s open to possibilities of course. There is no correct way to make this salad. Just don’t skimp on the corn. Plan on one ear person, but why not grill extra corn and have it on hand for when you want to make the salad again later in the week.
If you don’t have a grill you can do what I do. Place the corn, one ear at a time, over a gas flame and rotate until the corn is charred. No grill or gas? I haven’t tried this method but I am certain you could roast the corn-on-the-cob in a 400 degree oven until nicely browned.
The dressing makes a small quantity that can be kept in a container in the refrigerator. It may “break” but a few quick shakes will pull it back together.

Elote Salad
For two servings
Plan one ear per person but while you’re at it, grill several and keep the extra on hand to use later

2 ears corn on the cob
3 Tablespoons lime juice
8 Tablespoons oil (I used3 T. canola oil and 5 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil)
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder (or other chile powder)
pinch of sugar
¼ cup mayonnaise, sour cream, or Mexican crema (or a combination)
2 or 3 Tablespoons crumbled cotija cheese (freshly grated Parmesan will work, too)
salad greens of your choice
cherry tomatoes
sliced radishes
(plus whatever else you’d like to add, such as sliced avocado, toasted pumpkin seeds/ pepitas, etc).

1. Husk the corn and remove the corn silk. Place the corn on a hot grill and cook until evenly charred. Remove the corn from the grill and let cool. To cut the corn off the cob, stand the corn in a medium-sized bowl and cut down the cob, slicing off the kernels. Discard the cobs. Transfer the corn to another bowl, cover, and refrigerate until needed.
To assemble the salad, place two handfuls of mixed greens into a bowl. Add the corn, radishes, and tomatoes (and other ingredients of your choosing) to the bowl. Mix the dressing together if it has separated. Spoon about 2 tablespoons (or so) of the dressing into the bowl and toss to evenly distribute. Add the cheese and mix the cheese into the salad. Divide the salad between two plates and serve.
As Corbin says, “Eat like you mean it.”

Oxford Canteen: