Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bourbon Peach Hand Pies

This week's baked good was inspired by my co-worker's love of the fried peach pies that are served at the Varsity, a famous fast-food spot here in Atlanta. They're similar to the apple pies from McDonalds, just with peaches instead of apples. We've discussed them multiple times in the office so when I stumbled upon this recipe from smitten kitchen, I knew that I'd end up making them eventually.

When I heard that this same co-worker was getting Lasik eye surgery, I decided to make him these peach pies as a good luck gift. Nothing cures pre-surgery jitters like some pie, right?? Well, I guess pie with alcohol does, too.

I was a little nervous about making these since peaches aren't in season. And as I suspected, the peaches didn't have much flavor. So I added a dash of salt and cinnamon to bring out their natural flavors a little more. And it worked pretty well! But if you rather make these when peaches are at their peek, save this recipe for the late summer/early fall.

As for the pie crust, man is it amazing; flaky and chewy all at the same time. I'm thinking I have the sour cream to thank for that one.

All in all, these came out tasting great and my co-worker loved them. So definitely an overall success :)

Recipe (adapted from smitten kitchen):

For the pastry:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks, 8 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup sour cream
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup ice water

For the filling:
2 pounds of peaches
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
1 teaspoon bourbon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
One egg yolk beaten with 2 tablespoons water (for egg wash)
Coarse sugar, for decoration

To make the pastry, in a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Place the butter in another bowl. Place both bowls in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove the bowls from the freezer and make a well in the center of the flour. This is a crucial step. Pie dough has to be kept super cold so that it stays flaky. So don't skip this!

Add the butter to the well and, using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Make another well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add half of this mixture to the well. With your fingertips, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Remove the large lumps and repeat with the remaining liquid and flour-butter mixture. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough, to prevent it from getting tough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. If preparing ahead of time, the dough can be stored at this point for up to one month in the freezer.

Divide the refrigerated dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one half of the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 4 1/2-inch-round biscuit cutter (I didn't have a biscuit cutter big enough so I used a plastic cup), cut seven circles out of the rolled dough. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and place in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes. Repeat the rolling, cutting, and chilling process with the remaining half of dough.

Make the filling: Peel and chop the peaches into small bits (approx. 1/2-inch dice), much smaller than you’d use for a regular-sized pie. I cut mine waaay too big so I could fit only a couple peach pieces on each dough round so learn from my mistakes, k? Mix them with the flour, sugar and pinch of salt and cinnamon, and add the bourbon and vanilla.

Alcohol makes everything better.

Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature until just pliable, 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon about 1 to 2 tablespoons filling (use the smaller amount for a 4-inch circle) onto one half of each circle of dough. Quickly brush a little cold water around the circumference of the dough, and fold it in half so the other side comes down over the filling, creating a semicircle. Seal the hand pie, and make a decorative edge by pressing the edges of the dough together with the back of a fork. Repeat process with remaining dough. Place the hand pies back on the parchment-lined baking sheet, and return to the refrigerator to chill for another 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Remove the chilled hand pies from the refrigerator, cut a small slit in each and lightly brush with the egg yolk wash. Sprinkle coarse sugar generously over the pies, and place pies in the oven to bake. Bake until the hand pies are golden brown and just slightly cracked, about 20 minutes. Remove the pies from the oven, and let stand to cool slightly before serving.


1 comment:

  1. These look and sound so yummy. Think I'll make some this weekend.