Friday, September 21, 2012

Vanilla Cardamom Peach-Berry Pie

This pie, as always, has a story.

We moved to Pilsen a few months ago, and are in love.

But, there are a few things we left behind in Lakeview. We left a teeny tiny apartment with half a bathtub, very little light, and a dishwasher. We left an incredibly strange landlord whom we discovered on our second story porch, standing forlornly, at 2 one morning. We left living down the street from DMK, and movies at the Vic. But mostly, what we feel we left, is our group of very good friends who made Chicago feel like 'home'.
We met them through our church gospel community (that's me + David in the Boystown video). And while we still see each other, life is lived in your neighborhood.

But, here we are.  And last night, we kicked off a new gospel community with new friends down in Pilsen. It was just coffee and desserts, with a very humble:

Vanilla Cardamom Peach-Berry Pie adapted from Bon Appetit

Easiest and Best Pie Crust Ever:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup (2 sticks) + 2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 tablespoons (or more) ice water

Blend flour, sugar and salt in processor. Add shortening and butter and cut in using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal. Pulse 2 tablespoons of ice water in at a time, being careful to not overprocess (what makes the crust flaky is the small chunks of butter that get 'caught' throughout the crust). Gather dough into 2 balls; flatten each into disk.  As usual, I'm lazy, and what I generally do with the bottom crust is grease the pie plate, roll half the dough in a flat ball, and place in the pie dish. Then, I cover with plastic wrap and push out from the center and up the sides. The other 1/2 I roll out as usual for the top. I've found that if I use this method: food processor, less rolling, I could make pies all day. In fact, I've made one pie and four quiches in the last week using this recipe/method. It's that easy.

(The original recipe advises: Wrap each in plastic and chill 30 minutes. (Can be prepared ahead and refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen up to 1 month. If frozen, thaw overnight in refrigerator. Soften slightly at room temperature before using.))

Vanilla Cardamom Peach-Berry Pie
4 pounds ripe peaches, peeled, halved, pitted, each half cut into 6 wedges (about 8 cups) (I peeled, cut and froze mine a few months ago. When thawed, the peaches released quite a bit of juice, which helped keep the filling firmer. In total, after the peaches thawed, they lost probably about 2-3 cups of water/juice)
1 cup frozen mixed berries
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 Pie Crust disks

Whipping cream (for glaze)
1/8 cup large grain decorative sugar

Position rack in lowest third of oven and preheat to 400°F. Combine peaches, 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar, flour and cardamom in large bowl. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; discard bean. Toss to blend well. Let stand until dry ingredients are moistened, about 15 minutes.
Roll out 1 pie-crust disk on lightly floured surface to 12 1/2-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch. Spoon peach filling into crust, mounding slightly in center. Roll out second pie-crust disk to 12-inch round. Drape crust over filling. Trim overhang to 3/4 inch. Fold edge of top and bottom crusts under, pressing to seal. Crimp edges decoratively. Cut 4 slits in top crust to allow steam to escape during baking. Brush crust lightly with whipping cream. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
Place pie on baking sheet. Bake 45 minutes.  I didn't  read this last part, so the crust didn't get that perfect brown, but it was not just edible, but tasty. So, if you've dropped off the recipe by this point, don't cry, you'll be fine. Cover crust edges with foil to prevent overbrowning. Continue to bake until crust is golden and juices bubble thickly, about 1 hour longer. Cool completely on rack.

Love to you, Always,

kristen mrdjanov


  1. Oh my gosh, you make this sound so easy! And as always, it looks so good.
    Cheers to your new GC... :) About five years ago Ryan Adams posted a video footage he took while in France. He stood next to the Seine River for a couple minutes and said, "Everything I ever truly saw anybody stand in awe of was in transition."

    1. Transitions are hard. They stretch in ways that are uncomfortable. But, remaining in the same place is hard too, and stretches you in other, equally deep ways. I think the transitions just force light on your change/growth. The other is like a tree, growing slowly, imperceptibly, but definitely.

      Miss you, Lovely Lady. Can't wait for our Radiolab extraordinaire next Friday!

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