1/4 C flour
1/2 C brown sugar
pinch of salt
5-8 peaches (5 big peaches [July-August], 7 or 8 smaller ones [June])
6 oz raspberries
~36 inches ripe rhubarb
REAL maple syrup (optional)
1 pie crust
raw (cane) sugar
First of all, yes, I buy pie crusts at the store. I bet I could make a damned good pie crust, but Pillsbury makes a pretty good one that only takes one minute to roll out, and saving an hour and not having to buy a rolling pin are good enough reasons for me. Now, then. Fruit pie.
Spring in Michigan is kind of a waiting game. As in, you spend most of the “game” waiting for “spring” to actually get here. When it does arrive in the form of gusty 50-degree rainstorms, you cheer because the snow has finally started melting in April. But then you start anticipating summer, and you get a little excited because, you know, sunshine. And this is where Michigan really bites you in the ass. You have spent the last two weeks of spring carefully planting flowers and early veggies and watching them get battered with wind and rain and the neighbor’s dog and maybe even a little hail, but somehow still surviving. Your heart swells with pride… and then so do your feet, because after six weeks of 45 degree in-between weather, it’s suddenly 90 for a week straight, causing all your veggies and grass to go to seed because they think they somehow slept through summer straight into late August.
I’m guessing this is why Michiganders don’t grow many delicate fruits. Wild berries (mmmmm), apples, cherries, and even strawberries somehow do quite well here, but if you ask me to point you to the nearest peach orchard, well I would send you straight to the South. And since that’s where I’m buying peaches and things of the citrus-y variety from anyway, I don’t feel even the slightest bit guilty buying them earlier in the year than they would be available if they were (ever) local. So I decided to make a delicious, delicious pie celebrating the tentative arrival of summer using fruit that ripened where it’s already summer somewhere else. And it was freakin’ amazing.
Step 1: wash your fruit. Seriously. Unless you buy organic (and, tragically, sometimes even if you do), there’s gonna be a lot of chemicals and poo on your fruit. Fly poo, livestock poo, bunny poo, it doesn’t matter what kind, it’s not supposed to go in your mouth. So wash in cold water, even the peaches, which you’ll be peeling in a second.
Step 2: mix dry ingredients in a bowl. I suspect a dash of cloves instead of cinnamon might go well with recipe, but you really need hardly anything extra because the fruit tastes are so wonderful. Stir it up and set next to your cutting board. (Also, I’m implementing a new unit of measurement which will be discussed soon, which will make these measuring cups unnecessary, so look out for that. Approximate conversions will be available.)
Step 3: Chop rhubarb—for those of you unfamiliar with rhubarb, it is bitter unless properly cooked, and the green bits are kind of bitter even when they are cooked, so aim for the red parts (indicative of ripeness). I chop with a paring knife, about 1/4″ x 1/4″ pieces, or just slices of the stem, which are C-shaped and fun. Deposit chopped bits into aforementioned bowl.
Step 4: Peel peaches! I use a paring knife for most things I do in the kitchen, but if you have a peeler for some reason (freak), you can use that. Try not to remove much of the fruit flesh, but if you accidentally do, word on the street is that peach peels are delicious. Which is another good reason to make sure they’ve been properly washed. Once peaches are peeled, chop into 1″-square (ish) pieces and deposit into bowl. I usually use the bag I bought the peaches in to save my peels and pits for composting later. Turn the peaches and rhubarb with the dry ingredients until everything’s pretty well coated. Also, pre-heat your oven to 400F.
Step 5: Add raspberries and GENTLY mix into other filling. It doesn’t matter if a few of them break, but you want to avoid general raspberry mush.
Steps 6-8: Roll out bottom pie crust into pie tin. Glass is great, metal works equally well, and if you have a cookie sheet, I usually cook on top of that just in case a lil’ bit o’ juice spills over. Spread about half a tablespoon (eyeball it) of flour to just cover the bottom of the pie crust. TADA! Now your bottom crust won’t be super soggy because all your fruit juice soaked into it. Then scoop your fruit filling into the pie crust. All of it. Trust me, it will fit just fine. If you’re using maple syrup (look, I don’t even know you, but if you try to put some Log Cabin sh** in this pie, I will find you and tell you how upset you’ve made me), drizzle it over the top. Using a little bit adds flavor; using a lot will probably make your pie taste like french toast with fruit topping. Now roll out your other pie crust and fold it over the edges of your bottom pie crust. If you like your crust a little extra crispy, you can flatten the edges to the tin with fork tines. When you’ve done this, cut it in this kind of pattern into the top with your paring knife. Alternately you can do this kind of thing. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of raw sugar and a couple dashes of cinnamon over the top of the pie crust for sparkly crunchy sweetness, and bake at 400 for about an hour. (Check after 45 minutes. To check fruit pie, stick a fork in through one of the slices you made in the crust and determine whether the fruit inside is as firm/soft as you would like.)
Step 9: Make new friends by serving this pie warm (or even cold) alone or with vanilla ice cream. You’re welcome.