Monday, July 27, 2009

Just add bourbon - Bourbon Honey Caramel Peach Pie

This Sunday I did the unthinkable. I took on the unfathomable, the completely ridiculous and totally overboard task of making two peach pies. Not two of the same. Two different recipes. Why, you might reasonably ask? To which I reply, well, why not?

I mean, it's not as if these babies are going to waste. There's a dinner at Ilsa's tonight, and a potluck at work tomorrow. I can't show up empty handed, and the peaches at the Frog Hollow stand at the Farmer's Market were to die for. So stay tuned, dear readers, this is the first of the peach pie recipes, another is to come.

And I admit, I'd been staring longingly at this recipe in Gourmet for about a month, drooling and tyring to get over my fear of pie crust. Not making it exactly, but rolling it out and putting it on top of the actual pie. A task I find somewhat daunting.

But I had an idea for an improvement to this pie. Original? No. Genius? Most certainly.


Bourbon makes this pie.

The smells that drifted out of my oven were totally over the top. How my neighbors refrained from begging at my door, I'll never know. What can I tell you except this...make. this. pie.

Bourbon Honey Caramel Peach Pie
adapted from Gourmet, July 2009
For the dough:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/3 cup ice water

I skipped the food processor and whisked together the flour, sugar and salt. I then worked the butter in with my hands, pinching until the dough became shaggy and there were no pieces of butter larger than a pea. I then drizzled the water over it and stirred gently with a fork until just incorporated. The dough should hold together when squeezed and this point. If it doesn't, add a tablespoon or more of water.

Turn the dough out onto a silpat or lightly floured surface. Smear it out with the palm of your hand two or three times, and then back together. You want to make sure the fat of the butter is evenly distributed throughout. Be careful not to overwork the dough. Put it back together and separate the dough into two flat disks. Wrap in plastic and chill in the freezer for about half-and-hour. Remove and let sit for another half-hour.

For the filling:
3 lbs ripe peaches (I highly recommend sampling from each farmers market stand, so as to ascertain the quality, tough work, I know.)
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

For the bourbon honey caramel:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp water
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 shot (4 tbsp?) bourbon such as Maker's Mark

For the top of the pie:
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp sugar

Cut an x in the bottom of each peach. Blanch in a pot of boiling water for 15 seconds, then immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the peaches from cooking. Peel and slice into 1 inch thick slices. Toss with the filling ingredients and set aside.

Bring the sugar, honey and water for the sauce to boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Boil without stirring for about 5 minutes, swirling the liquid in the pan gently and watching for it to come to a dark amber color. Remove from heat and add the butter, swirling to incorporate. Add the bourbon and toss over the peaches. The caramel might harden, but it will soften again when it bakes.

Roll out one disc of dough with a rolling pin (a wine bottle works extremely well for this) to a 13 inch circle on your silpat or lightly floured surface. Place in the bottom of your 9 inch pie pan. Trim the excess dough so that there's about a 1/2 inch overhang. Add the peach filling. Roll out the next disc of dough to about 11 inches. Cover the filling with the dough, trimming excess and leaving a 1/2 inch overhang. Crimp the pie edges together. Brush the top crust with 1 tbsp of milk and sprinkle with 1 tbsp of sugar. Cut three steam vents in the top of the pie.

Meanwhile, heat a rimmed baking sheet lined in foil in the lower third of the oven at 425. When the oven is hot, slide the pie in and cook for 20 minutes at 425. After the 20 minutes, lower the temperature to 375 and bake for 50 minutes more. When pie is browned on top and bubbling, remove and let cool for 3 hours. Serve while warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

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