Thursday, September 2, 2010

Peach and Brie Pie

As we enter into the last weekend of summer, I've been thinking about my favorite summer dessert, what it is and what I can make a great end of summer dessert.   Playing off of my peach obsession (which was on full display here) and my love of pie, a peach pie seemed the obvious answer.  I wanted to play with it though, add a savory twist to make it special.  I then remembered a post from Steph over at The Cupcake Project that I saw last summer with mini Peach and Brie Pies.  I always thought they sounded delicious and decided to make my own full-size version.

I've always loved the way cheese pairs with fruit and when building a cheese board I always include some of my own jams and/or sliced fruit.  It's that whole sweet and savory thing we all know I love.  I think the best pairing comes when you are able to taste both the fruit or jam and the cheese without one overpowering the other.  Some fruits are too sweet to be paired with a cheese as mild as brie.  My Peach Basil jam, for instance is a bit too sweet, my Golden Plum Riesling is perfect with a gooey delicious round of baked brie.  While I think jam is too sweet, I think the mild sweetness of a peach is potentially perfect with brie cheese, especially when it's warm and runny as it would presumably be in a pie.  My main concern was making sure the pie is just sweet enough to be a dessert pie, but not cloying. My goal was for that perfect blending of fruit and cheese in each bite.

 Peach and Brie Pie

1 double pie crust (see below for recipe or use your favorite dough)
8 small to medium size peaches
3/4 cup organic cane sugar
2 Tbsps unbleached all purpose flour
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 1/2 oz brie
2 Tbsp cream

1. Preheat oven to 425F.  Peel the peaches and remove their stones.  Slice into approximately 8 slices per whole peach.
2.  Toss the peaches,  sugar, flour, lemon juice, salt and nutmeg.  Let sit while rolling out the pie crust
3.  Pull out half of your pie crust dough.  Roll it out to line the bottom a 10" pie plate.  Carefully la in the plate.  Pour peach mixture into pie plate.  Dot the top with little pieces of brie.  Make sure to get the the brie all over, so almost every bite has a bit of it.
4.  Roll out the other half of the crust to top the pie.  I did a lattice pattern and think Elise over at Simply Recipes has the best instructions for this.  Check them out here.  If you aren't comfortable with the lattice a simple top crust will do, just make sure the cut some vents for steam.  Brush the top of the crust with the cream, to help get that gorgeous golden brown color.
5.  Place pie on a baking sheet and into the preheated oven.  Bake for 20 minutes at 425F and then reduce the heat to 350 for 35-40 minutes.
6.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 2-3 hours.  Serve while still warm.

Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup shortening
1/4 cup ice cold vodka (can substitute water)
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 egg

1.  In a large bowl mix flour, salt and nutmeg.  Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter or two knives.
2.  In a small bowl whisk together the vodka, vinegar and egg.  Add wet ingredients into dry and combine with a fork. Use your hands towards the end to get the last bits of flour incorporated.
3.  Form dough into a disk shape and wrap in plastic wrap.  Place in the coldest part of your fridge for at least one hour before using.

The flavor of the brie went beautifully with the slightly sweetened peaches.  Mine were slightly underipe, had they been more ripe I may have cut back on the sugar ever so slightly.   The vodka may seem like an interesting addition to the pie crust for many, but I've gotten quite a few tips that it makes for an even flakier crust.  So I tried it and I have to say it worked out beautifully.  If you don't drink of have vodka in your house, cold water works fine and is what I had always used before.

I really loved the way the brie melted in this pie and I look forward to playing with more fruit and cheese combinations moving forward.  It adds the perfect savory note and is also a play on the cheese course for dessert. 



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