Saturday, July 25, 2015

Award Winning Peach Blue Berry Pie

So I won a baking contest...

My award winning pie awaits judgement. 
I've always wanted to enter a baking contest. I'm just a wee bit competitive. Not because I need to be the best at everything (though that would be nice), but because I want to know how I rank against other people and what I can do to improve. I'm the nice kind of competitive. But there just hasn't been a good time for me to enter any kind of cooking contest until this summer, when the Roswell Farmers and Artisans Market decided to host a pie baking contest. Perfect.

I wouldn't consider pie to be a specialty of mine, because I don't get a chance to make them very often. (I also don't own a rolling pie, so I used an empty wine bottle to roll this out....) But I have a tried and true recipe for crust and no filling is simpler than fresh fruit. I knew I could enter this contest. I didn't think I would win, but I knew I wouldn't embarrass myself either.

So now I had to think about what kind of pie to make. The rules of the contest said that your pie had to feature at least one local ingredient. It didn't have to be in season, so if you had put up some peaches or pumpkin or something, you could use that. But it had to be local. Well, the peaches are especially fine this year, so I knew I wanted to feature those. But I had to assume mine wouldn't be the only peach pie on the table. I needed a hook.

My first thought was a peach jalapeño pie with oatmeal crumble topping. I love the combo of sweet and spicy and jalapeño and peaches are both good right now. I wanted to be sure of it though, so I made a "practice pie" with peaches from the grocery store. Big mistake. Those peaches were flavorless and watery. They drowned out my jalapeño.  It wasn't tasty at all. So I went back to the drawing board.
This tasted of failure. 

I was pretty turned off on the idea of a peach jalapeño pie after that. I also didn't quite have enough peaches on my counter for a pie. But I did have some blueberries left from the market, and I always think things that grow in the same season are meant to be together. My other change was to toss my fruit with a little cornstarch before it went in the pie shell as insurance against wateriness.

The only thing I kept was the oatmeal crumble topping. I am not good at making things pretty, so I didn't want to mess around with fancy lattice tops or cute shapes cut from pie dough. I just wanted an attractive, tasty top that still allowed you to see the pretty fruit inside the pie. It also meant my pie might still standout against any other potential peach or blueberry pies. (Also, oatmeal crumble anything automatically means butter and lots of it. Nothing is tastier than an entire stick of melted butter, and this pie has one in the crust and one in the topping. You're welcome.)

Spectators had a chance to sample all the pies. 
When the Market Manager started announcing the winners, I still didn't think I'd win. My pie looked pretty good next to all the others, but there was a tomato goat cheese pie that was just mind blowing. I was sure that was the winner. The manager announce third and second and my heart sank a bit, because I didn't think I'd placed at all. Then she said my pie! I was very excited.

My award winning pie earned me $20 in vouchers for the farmers market and an invitation to compete in the Tri-County Farmers Market Championship next month. I'll have to check my calendar to see if I can do that.

But anyways, enough jibba jabba. Here is the recipe to Award Winning Peach Blueberry Pie.

Peach Blueberry Pie

6 ounces all purpose flour
4 ounces unsalted butter
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 pinch salt
2 ounces ice water

4 peaches, peeled and sliced
2 cups blueberries
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Oat topping
1 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 ounces unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon Penzey’s Cake Spice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 425.

Freeze butter and flour over night. Pulse flour, sugar and salt in food processor until blended. Add butter and pulse until butter is incorporated. Drizzle in ice water until it becomes dough.  Remove from processor, shape into a wide disk and place in freezer bag. Place freezer bag in fridge for at least an hour or until ready to roll out.

Score four peaches lightly across the bottoms to form an X. Place in boiling water for about a minute to loosen skins. Quickly drain and add crushed ice and cold water to stop the cooking process. Once peaches are cool, you can easily remove the skins. Thinly slice peaches. Add two cups blueberries. Mix gently with 1 tablespoon cornstarch.

Combine oats, melted butter, brown sugar and spices.

Roll out pie crust. Add pie filling. Top with oat mixture. Bake at 425 for 45 minutes. Allow to cool for at least an hour before slicing.



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mackyton said...

This Blue Berry Pie looks very delicious. I have never tried it but would love to! Anyway, at some local Los Angeles event venues there is a food event and I will definitely attend this event with my friend. Are you also coming to the event?

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