Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My First Failure, Second Success Story : Peach Crème Fraîche Pie

WARNING: I made this pie a long time ago, therefor errors in my memory of this experience may exist. However, to the best of my knowledge, this is my peach and crème fraîche pie story.

I first saw this pie way back in July. I knew immediately I would make it. I had not made a peach pie yet (remember my issues with peaches) AND it was written by my favorite food blogger, Deb of Smitten Kitchen, who got the recipe from one of the most credible recipe sources on earth herself: Martha Stewart.

Sidenote: Martha is, in my mind, the epitome of evil genius and although I am pretty opposed that much of what her genius represents I also have this weird respect for it. I even did a college research paper on her. I believe she is a ruthless business women. She understood brand identity before it was conceptualized as an overt marketing philosophy. She also marketed and sold “women's work”. It turns out it's worth a billion dollars. Thats what I call feminism.

Anyway, back to the pie...with this kind of endorsement it was a shoe in.

But of course it took awhile. (To be fair I just did not do a lot of pie baking this summer, there was simply no time because I was too busy playing.)

August was coming to a close and I still had not made it. And I was starting to get worried about peach season coming to an end. And we were having a bit of a heat wave. And I have no air conditioning. And I decided to make it anyway. With whole wheat pastry flour.

My thought process when making these decisions was simply flawed. Maybe it was the heat. But I just thought: “How

hard can it really be to roll out pie dough in a 90° kitchen?” Answer: VERY HARD!

And I had gotten this whole wheat pastry four awhile back because it was on sale, I am super cheap, and I though it might be interesting to play around with some different flours. I used it once and it was a bit of a disaster, but I OWED the flour and myself a second shot. Since this recipe only requires a bottom crust it seemed like a good time to try again (½ the trouble if it's difficult again.) FYI: Most people don't really use this kind of flour for pie crust and when they do- totally different recipe! Something about wheat gluten levels and moisture absorption...

And so I made this pie:

Rolling it out was so difficult I had resorted to breaking off pieces of dough, flattening them in my hand, and pressing them together into the pie plate. Which, yes, did lead to some sticking if that what you were thinking might happen. And overworked dough.

And see how the top of the crust is missing. Yeah, it burned and shrunk and I decided it was best to just break it off, especially since the overall pie plate I used was too big anyway so this still left a crust rim sized edge sticking up above the filling.

To top it all off, my crème fraîche was...not right. Runny, like a heavy c

ream instead of the sour cream consistency it should be. I thought it should be thicker, but having never used this stuff before in my life, I didn't really know.

So, to sum it up: This pie sucked. I knew it sucked. And it was mostly my own fault.

I don't really know what there is for others to learn from my stubborn insistence on making this pie that day. Crème fraîche should be thick? And don't even TRY rolling out a crust in this kind of heat? I realize these are lessons unnecessary for most reasonable people.

After this failure I was not very interested in making this pie again (at least not this peach season.) But then I was blog browsing and I saw it again. Another baker who had successfully produced an eatable pie from this recipe.

It mocked me.

So round two. The weather had cooled. I used a smaller pie dish. I bought a different brand of crème fraîche – see how it is all thick, like it is supposed to be.

The pie I baked this time?

Eatable! Not embarrassingly ugly! Success! (It's really not even a hard one to put together.)

It is not overly sweet. I was expecting it to be more custardy, so that was a little disappointing. The way you can see the reds of the yellow peaches poking out amongst the lite crumble topping is very pretty- so presentation points. And it has a good lightness for a summer dessert on warm days.

Like maybe you can make this on one of those freak rainy chilly summer days and eat it on the next day when summer has returned and it is warm again. That would be a good plan.

To Make This Pie Follow These Directions:

Pastry for bottom crust


1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1/4 cup cold (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Peach Filling:

1 1/2 pounds ripe (4 to 5 medium) yellow peaches, pitted and quartered

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Pinch of salt

5 tablespoons crème fraîche

Roll out bottom crust. Line with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake at 400° for 10min. Remove weights and foil, bake for another 5-8 min until crust begins to turn golden. Turn over temp down to 375°.

Toss peach slices with sugar and salt, set side.

Spread 2 Tbsp of crème fraîche on bottom of crust.

Mix dry ingredients for crumble. Cut in butter until it it is blended with pea size lumps of butter remaining.

Sprinkle 1/3 of crumble mixture over crème fraîche.

Arrange peaches in a layer, fanning out from the center. Dot remaining crème fraîche over the peaches (like pictured). Sprinkle remaining crumble mixture over the top of peaches and crème fraîche.

Bake about 45min until crème fraîche is bubbling and crumble is a light golden brown. Serve warm or chilled.

No comments:

Post a Comment