Thursday, August 18, 2011
Mini Peach Pies for Josie
I'm so excited to be part of a virtual baby shower for Josie of Pink Parsley. I first met Josie when her daughter Caroline was about 6 weeks old. She and I (along with Karin, of thiswifebakes) would get together with other local moms at a coffee shop and hang out. Aaah, the days when our babies sat still in their infant seats and napped. Josie and I hit it off pretty early on over our shared love of food, cooking and entertaining. We both lived in the same town outside Atlanta and our daughters were about 5 month apart.
Our daughters grew to be good friends, too. They had countless weekly play dates up until they started pre-school. Then we moved a few towns away and the girls didn't get to play as often, but Evelyn still counts Caroline as one of her three "best friends".
Josie is the kind of girl who will go above and beyond for a friend. Last August 29th, I sat at home all morning in labor with my son. When being housebound got the better of me, Josie very kindly came and picked me up to bring me to Target to walk around. In retrospect, I don't know how she didn't freak out over my breathing through contractions. She was very calm, cool and collected as she strolled around with me to pick up the things I simply had to have before my son came home. My baby is almost a year old, so I cannot wait to live vicariously through Josie's baby boy. I am sure he is going to be every bit as wonderful as Caroline is.
Josie is a true Georgia peach. Or, at least as far as this northerner can tell. I've never met anyone more authentically Southern. Her love of Southern cuisine is unmatched by anyone I know. I have to thank for introducing me to pimento cheese. And anyone who reads her blog knows her love of barbecue, biscuits, and of course, peaches.
So when Annie of Annie's Eats asked me to be a part of Josie's virtual shower, I immediately knew I wanted to make these mini peach pies. Josie and I also share a mutual love for miniature foods. And what's a baby shower without a baby version of something.
I've never made peach pie before, so I did a little research before I began. I liked that this one did not require me to blanche and peel the peaches. The recipe said it would impart a "peachier" flavor to leave them on. Being the queen of shortcuts that I am, I loved the loss of one step. But I was also happy to have a peachier pie. And I used store bought pie crust. (I know! I can't help myself! I know I can make my own, but I still sweat bullets when it comes to pie crust.) I made very few alterations to the recipe. Really I just changed up my method a little bit. And of course, instead of baking them in a standard pie plate, I made them in mini muffin tins.
My pies are not very pretty. I didn't even attempt to properly lattice something so little. But they tasted heavenly. The recipe yielded 24 mini peach pies and small sized standard pie.
Mini Peach Pies for Josie
recipe adapted from Kitchen Parade
8 cups ripe peaches, skins on
1 1/3 cups sugar
6 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons butter
Pit the peaches and dice into a small dice. (This is going into a mini pie, the pieces have to fit!) In a large bowl, gently stir together the peaches, sugar, flour and nutmeg. Let rest for 20-30 minutes until the juices release and syrup begins to form. Place a strainer over a large soup pot and place the peach mixture into the strainer. Allow the syrup to fall into the pan, reserving the peaches. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium heat, reduce to low and cook for 10 minutes or until the liquid begins to thicken. Stir in the peaches. By adding the peaches in last, you avoid overcooking them and turning them to mush.
Off heat, add the vanilla and butter, gently stirring until the butter melts. Let cool to room temperature. The filling can be made in advance and refrigerated.
To assemble the pies, roll out your favorite pie crust, to standard size. Cut circles big enough to fill a mini-muffin well. You could use a water glass, I used a biscuit cutter because I liked the nice fluted edge it gave. Gently place the circles into the muffin tin as if you were filling a pie plate. Fill with pie filling, almost to the top. With remaining dough pieces, gently cut out whatever shape you want to top it with. I cut strips for these, but on another batch, I used small heart and star cookie cutters which perfectly covered the tops of the mini pies.
For the large pie, I just filled a standard size pie plate as usual.
Bake the mini pies at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. I started mine at 10 minutes and kept checking them because of my oven being so small and cooking times being slightly off. 13 minutes seemed to be the magic number for me.
For the standard size pie, bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees. Then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 25-35 minutes, until the top is golden.
Allow to cool and serve.