This is kind of a last hurrah to summer, as sad as it is to say! Summer came pretty late to Vancouver, with rain and temperatures in the teens (that's around 60 F for you Americans) well into July. We pretty much just got August as a real summer... But whatever! The produce was still great and the peaches, my favourite summer produce, were still great, too. I think pies are the best way to celebrate the best fruit of the season, so here we are!
As I've mentioned before, I've been struggling a bit to keep up with blog while working crazy hours (12 to 15 hours a day, sometimes 6 days a week) and also enjoying my life and getting outside once in a while. I'm sure once the rain and the dark comes back, I'll be back to posting more often but for now, I'm taking advantage of the nice days. The past two weekends, I woke up early and went out kayaking and hiking. I'm really lucky to live in a place where I can take a bus 30 minutes and be able do things like this. It's not completely out there in nature, but damn does it feel good. There's something about being out in nature, getting away from the stress and the noise and the hustle and the constant buzz of people, that really calms me. Kayaking has been especially restorative, as I've gone out alone the past two times. Just the sound of the water and the birds and the wind through the trees... Man oh man, if I could get out there every day, I would. I'm definitely going to be dropping a fair bit of money at the kayak rental place throughout the year.
When I'm out on the water, all the extra bullshit fades away. Stress from work, things people have said, those niggling little insecurities - they all just seem unimportant. It's the same as when I'm in the mountains. Life gets put into perspective when you're out there. I've realized that I'm starting to become the person I really want to be, especially with all the big changes I've made in the past 6 months. It's just a start, but I'm already thinking of some more changes for next year and I'm trying to get things in place. I guess they seem like little things to everyone else, but to me they're little pieces to a bigger picture - getting outside more, going on more adventures, saying yes to more things, discovering what I'm capable of, and taking risks! I haven't been this excited for the future since I was in pastry school. Except this time the focus is not on work, but more on myself.
Anyways, you didn't come here to hear about that shit and look at my pretty nature photos. You came here for pie and ice cream and I don't blame you! This pie is a stunner, as it basically any pie. And the ice cream adds the perfect balance of creamy, sweet, herby, and bright. Pie without ice cream really isn't living up to it's true potential and while I will always been a fan of vanilla ice cream, I also love an ice cream tailored to the specific pie. Peaches and blackberries goes well together, peach and blackberries go well with lemon verbena, and honey goes well with just about everything. A perfect send-off for the best of summer fruit!
So here's to you, summer. You were short and sweet and I'm gonna miss ya. But I also love sweaters and scarves and hot chocolate so I'm not heartbroken. See you next year!
Peach and Blackberry Pie with Honey and Lemon Verbena Ice Cream
Honey and Lemon Verbena Ice Cream
500 g whole milk
253 g heavy cream
150 g wildflower honey
62 g egg yolks
1 lemon, zested
1 teaspoon lemon verbena leaves, chopped finely
Recipe from Dahlia Bakery Cookbook
350 g pastry flour
100 g all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
226 g unsalted butter, freezer cold, cut into 1/2 inch dice
60 g vegetable shortening, freezer cold, cut into 1/2 inch dice
114 g water, ice cold
2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
900 g fresh peaches, washed, sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices
275 g fresh blackberries
100 g granulated sugar
5 g vanilla paste
1 lemon, zested and juiced
30 g all-purpose flour
Set up an ice bath beforehand. Combine the whole milk and heavy cream in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Combine the honey and egg yolks and whisk until slightly paler in colour. Once the milk mixture has come to just a boil, whisk in a third of it into the yolk mixture, then another third. Pour the yolk mixture back into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula, until the custard has thickened and reads 82 C. Remove from heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl set over the ice bath.
Let the custard cool to room temperature. Once cool, stir the lemon zest and lemon verbena into the custard. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, strain the custard and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions.
For the pie crust, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in an large bowl. Add the cold butter and shortening and pinch the butter and shortening between your fingers until the mixture look shaggy and the pieces of butter are slightly smaller than peas.The butter pieces should be the size of small peas.
Put the ice-cold water and vinegar into a measuring cup and stir to combine. Add the water-vinegar to the flour-fat mixture and gently knead, but do not let the dough come together.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure there are no pockets of dry ingredients. Squeeze a small amount of dough in your hand. The dough should come together in a clump. If it’s too dry, add a little more water a few teaspoons at a time.
Remove the dough from the bowl, shape into two flat circles, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Unwrap one disk of dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8th inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie tin and gently press the dough into the sides of the pan. Trim the excess dough to a 3/4th to 1 inch overhang.
If you wish to make a lattice top, take out the second disk of dough from the fridge. Roll the disk out in a roughly rectangular shape to a thickness of 1/8th inch. Using a ruler, cut your strips. If you want a braid, cut three thin strips and gently braid them together. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Place in the fridge.
Chill the dough-lined pie tin while you make the filling.
For the filling, in a large bowl, combine the peaches with the lemon juice, zest, and vanilla paste and toss to coat. Gently fold in the blackberries. In a separate bowl, combine the sugars and flour and stir. Pour the dry mixture over the peaches and berries and gently toss to combine.
Remove the dough-lined pie tin and pour in the filling.
Remove the dough strips from the fridge and create your lattice. If the dough begins to warm too much, chill both the strips and the pie in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes. It is essential to only work with the dough when it is cold and firm (but not rock hard). Once the lattice is complete, fold the overhang under itself.
Chill the pie for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 F.
Brush the top of the pie with egg wash and sprinkle generously with demerera sugar.
Position a rack in the lower third of your oven. Place the pie on a baking sheet on the rack and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the pie to a rack in the center of your oven, lower the temperature to 350 F and bake for a further 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack until cooled completely, about 2 hours. Serve at room temperature or reheat in a 350 F oven for a few minutes.