Susan's Blog

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Susie’s Summer Pie

I baked a pie last night for my dear college friend Ray (who was an usher in our wedding!) and his beautiful family, visiting all the way from D.C.  I mentioned it on Facebook.  Then, a friend, upcoming author, and hurricane of an autism mom suggested I blog my recipe. She is going to adapt the recipe to a GFCF (gluten-free, casein-free) diet.  Kim and I don’t agree on many things autism, but we agree on many other things, one of which is the beauty and necessity of pie in one’s life.
My recipe is bastardized from the great James McNair’s Pie Cookbook, but done on my terms.  By that I mean that you should view your homebaked pie as you should view your life:  a rare and welcome thing, and it doesn’t really matter how imperfect it is, because most people won’t notice.  You should all be too busy enjoying it.


2 cups flour

1 cup cornmeal

2 sticks butter (1/2 cup of some kind of fat)

2 heaping teaspoons sugar

a little bit of salt– maybe a teaspoon?

1/2 to 3/4 cup ice water — enough to make the dough just moist enough to work with.

Mix it all up with your fingers until you can form two fist-sized balls of yellow-colored dough.  Chill one of the balls in the fridge; take the other one and press it right into the pie plate.  Press it flat and even, up the sides, smooth and as thin as you possibly can.  You’re doing this instead of rolling it out, which I hate to do.  Why bother?  It is just as good pressed right into the pie pan.

Prebake this for 15 mins at 400.  About halfway through this time, prick the bottom (the pie’s, that is) with a fork.  After you take it out, let it cool at least 15 mins.


2 1/2 pints of awesome in-season blueberries (if you can’t get ’em, don’t make this pie)

3 big nectarines or peaches, really ripe, peeled and sectioned into thumb-size slabs

Juice of half a lemon, and the zest from its peel (maybe a teaspoon or two?)

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 small handfuls of flour, to get it to that gluey consistency of pie filling

Combine and make the pie:

Once the fruit mixture is piled into the pre-cooked shell, get out the chilled other ball of dough and roll it out on something it won’t stick to.  I use a marble rolling pin because it is less sticky than wood.  Use flour sparingly sprinkled on the rolling pin and the rolling board, to help ease the dough along.  Roll it into a circle that looks wider than the pie itself.  By now this should be pretty thin, like 1/8 of an inch, something crazy like that.  Just look at it and decide whether it is thin enough that you’d want to eat it, that’s how you know.  The trick, however, is making sure you can peel it up off the rolling surface…  hopefully you chilled it enough and used enough flour for sprinkling.  Don’t worry if you mush it up, though; pie crust is very malleable when uncooked and very forgiving.  Just moisten your fingers to mold it into the shape you need.

Cut finger-wide strips down the dough disc and lay them out across the pie, weaving a lattice top.

Or, just dump the whole circle across the pie and trim the edges, for a covered pie.  Soften down the edges with your thumbs to give it that curvy pie-ish edge.  Take a knife and cut notches in an “X” shape in the center because it lets air out and looks like a cartoon-perfect pie!


Put a baking sheet underneath your pie because mine always runs over onto the oven, and makes an unfortunate pie-flavored smoke later on at Thanksgiving.  Bake at 425 for 20 mins, then cover lightly with a piece of foil to keep crust on top from getting too dark; turn down the oven to 350 and cook for 30 minutes more, checking now and than that it’s not getting overdone.  Also, check that it looks like a pie before you take it out, though — by that I mean the crust should be golden brown and the fruit mixture should be bubbly.

1 comment

Good Lord look at your lattice work! I can’t wait to try the cornmeal crust. I’m going to adapt it to GFCF to see how it works. A little Xanthan gum should do the trick. Do you ever make turnovers? I made a few yesterday, after having been inspired by your pie post. My strawberry pie is metzah metz. Didn’t set well. I find that a lot in life… 🙂

Pie = happy. Pie = family. Pie = Summer. Pie = love.



— added by Kim Stagliano on Monday, July 19, 2010 at 6:51 am

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