Monday, September 16, 2013

Late Summer is Pie Time, Right?

Two weeks ago I went on vacation, well actually, I went on staycation, to be more exact, and it was Glorious. I did nothing. And by nothing, I mean exactly everything I wanted to to do. This included everything from daily 7AM yoga classes, to exploring new beaches, reading in the sun, going on amazing hikes, making watermelon margaritas, barbecuing with friends, going to happy hour, wandering around art galleries - did I mention it was glorious? It was so good that everyone who follows me on Instagram breathed a huge sigh of relief when I went back to work, because they were starting to get really annoyed with how often I was posting about doing nothing in the middle of the day (I get it. Sorry I'm not Sorry.)

In addition to all of this loveliness, it was also probably the hottest week I've ever experienced in Los Angeles. Every single day was sweltering somewhere in the 90's, and I did so many activities because the alternative was draping myself over the air conditioner in my living room for eight hours a day.

Anyway, my first Monday back at work was made more bearable by the fact that when I walked outside of my apartment it was, dare I say it? Chilly! Brisk!  Anyone who knows me well knows I have an intense love-affair with Fall. As much as I adore summer and being able to run around in little more than a bathing suit from April to September,  I absolutely swoon at scarves, boots, leggings, coffee, pumpkin patches, soups, fireplaces and rainy days. (If you need examples of this absolutely ridiculous obsession, see: Here and also here.)

This Fall obsession is all well and good, except that living in Los Angeles means that Fall doesn't actually start until like mid-November if we're lucky. So on my second day back at work, I donned my new Fall boots, only to be greeted with some midday sunshine and summery temps. What I'm getting at here, is that Fall is not cooperating, but it's okay because I'm stubborn. If Fall won't come to me, I will force myself upon it, and I decided the best way to do that was via pies. That's right, delicious flakey pies, and even more excitingly, portable pies! Because clearly, you'll need to pop them into your beach bag so you can eat them while you lay out in the mid-September sunshine.

So without further ado, here's my recipe for Peach-Berry Hand Pies:

1 c. chopped peaches
1/2 c. raspberries
1/2c. blueberries
1/2 a small lemon
1/4 c. sugar
dash of cinnamon

1 egg
1tsp. water
raw sugar for garnish
1 Store-bought Pillsbury roll-out pie crust*

Step 1: Start by putting some Bon Iver on your iPod, digging out your uggs, and pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2. Chop the peaches and put them in a mixing bowl with the berries, Stir in the cinnamon and sugar, and squeeze the lemon over the fruit mixture (you can add a little extra sugar if you like your pies sweeter, but I like mine tart). The consistency should be a little syrupy once everything is mixed in.

Step 3. Roll out pie crusts on a lightly floured surface, and cut them into 4" diameter circles. I got about four or five circles out of my dough. Pro-tip: I used a round tupperware container, and just cut around it with a knife, because I don't have assorted 4" cookie cutters (and you probably don't either).

Step 4. Plop (yes, plop) about 2 tbsps. of filling in the center of each circle (be careful not over-fill them, or you won't be able to close them, and they will literally turn into a hot mess when you bake them). Fold each circle in half and pinch the edges shut so they look like little footballs. If you want to be fancy, you can press the edges with a fork, just be careful not to rip the dough.

Step 5. Place pies in a glass baking dish, and prick each of them with a knife 3 or 4 times so they vent (if you don't do this, they'll explode in the oven). Scramble the egg and 1 tsp. of water in a small bowl, and then brush each pie with a little of the mixture. Sprinkle raw sugar on top.

 Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the pies are brown, and the filling is oozing out delightfully. Cool and enjoy with hot coffee or cider.

If you like this, you should also try the savory version that I came up with. The process is exactly the same but with chopped spinach, tomatoes, feta, basil, salt and pepper for the filling (keep the egg-wash, omit the raw sugar). File this under "fancy snack".

*Keep your judgey comments to yourself about the store-bought crust. I've watched my grandmother hand-make a pie crust, and I am not about that life. It involves ice water, butter, lots of flour, a pastry cutter, rolling pin, and more patience than I have developed in 26 years of living. And, (sorry Grandma) store bought crusts are just as delicious.