Perfecting pie making (baking advise needed!)

I love cooking and eating and sharing it with friends and family. I love telling YOU about the most delicious meals that recently came out of my kitchen (so that maybe you can make it, eat it, and share it with your loved ones… if they’re lucky!). That’s how this food blogging thing works, right?

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Sometimes the meals are incredible but the pictures just don’t do it justice. I’m sure every food blogger in the world can empathize with that. You want so badly for the picture to make the reader drool. To make you wish you still had some leftovers to devour. Pictures really are worth 1,000 words. They are powerful.

Sometimes the stars align and your favorite meals accomplish just that (that chocolate chip cookie picture even got accepted by Tastespotting!!) Other times the lighting is perfect but the dish is just okay.

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Adam and I went peach picking a few weeks ago and I could not be more excited to make all sorts of peach goodies with our 10lbs of local peaches. Making a pie is one of those things I have yet to master (last time I attempting this was back in 2009 for Thanksgiving <—whoa, I look different. Also, the perfect example of unfortunate picture quality of delicious food) so I decided to that a peach pie was the perfect little project!

I used Joanne’s recipe for a peach dream pie but used a crust recipe I got from a pie making class I took at the Brooklyn Kitchen this past summer. The crust came out flaky and delicious but the filling was pretty soggy. Here is the deal: I have no idea what went wrong since I’m not really a pie-making expert. I need your help!!

Do fresh peaches have too much moisture? Should I have made a lattice top to let some of the moisture escape? Was the yogurt based filling (mixed with the peaches) too wet to begin with? Should I have cooked it somehow prior so that it baked better? Should I have cooked the pie longer? I was scared the crust would burn on the bottom. Any other suggestions? I’m totally clueless about this stuff!

I sliced this pie the day after making it and was disappointed with the texture but the taste was fantastic. The yogurt mixture baked into something resembling a light cheesecake (mmm). It was even more delicious with a scoop or 2 of vanilla gelato! Smile

How are your pie-making skills? Help me figure out what went wrong!

In other random “news” – look what I just scored at Trader Joe’s for $4.99.

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What should I make?!

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20 comments to Perfecting pie making (baking advise needed!)

  • Figs!! Those figs look so good. I need to get to TJs stat.

  • Mmmm, figs. i saw them the other day but the ones in brookline were all moldy. i did a fig gorgonzola galette with some a few weeks back, drizzled with honey we were all fans!

    my guess is that you should’ve cooked the pie longer… if anything is going to burn quicker it’s the top, and you can foil over the edges if that starts to get too brown. Did you test the pie at all before taking it out?

  • Katie

    I’ve always used a little extra corn starch to thicken a pie filling, but have also read that for fruits like peaches, you may want to let them sit in extra sugar before mixing with the rest of your ingredients. I’ve also heard that quick-cooking tapioca can be added instead of corn starch to thicken up a filling but have never tried that tip. Best of luck but I’m sure it still tastes great!!

  • I wish I could get figs up here… I have checked every store in the Concord NH area for about amonth or so and not luck!

    As for your pie… A trick I used to do when I first started baking was use a clear glass pie plate… that way you can see the bottom crust and you don’t need to worry about it burning.

    Your filling may have been too moist for the crust recipe you were using. Peaches do have allot of juice in them much like berries you need to make sure you use a good thickening agent…. tapioca, flour, cornstarch…..

    I made a blueberry peach pie a couple months ago for a post and it needed to set over night before cutting… when I did this it was much thicker and cut perfectly.
    Good luck! Pies are easy peasy once you get the hang of it!

  • I’m not sure I have much good advice to give about your pie. If you had crust issues I would highly suggest Cooks Illustrated vodka pie crust recipe, which I have found to be totally foolproof. But it sounds like you were happy with yours. I think your filling may have just been too wet – most fruit pie fillings consist of just fruit tossed with some sugar and a little corn starch or flour to absorb moisture, I think? I don’t make a ton… just going by recipes I’ve seen. Maybe greek yogurt inside a pie just isn’t meant to be.

    Anyway… I am really jealous of your $4.99 figs! I keep wanting to buy them at our local farmstand but they’re $7.99/pint – that’s pushing it!

  • First comment! Although there are ways to reduce peaches’ moisture (like roasting first: http://vyou.com/a/604553), it looks like the custard just wasn’t cooked enough. The top doesn’t look too brown, so it probably would have been safe going longer.

    Don’t fret, though! It looks like a lot of people had trouble with this particular recipe: http://bakedsundaymornings.blogspot.com/2011/07/peaches-and-dream-pie-leave-your-link.html#comments

  • I always precook my pie filling on the stove top and let it thicken with a cornstarch slurry. After many tries at putting the raw fruit in the crust and then baking it…. I realized that cooking the filling first leads to a NOT burnt pie crust :) Plus, if it is already thickened it won’t have extra moisture to release!

  • Well it looks and sounds delicious!! Why are pies so tricky!! I’ve never done a peach pie or one with yogurt, so I can’t be entirely sure. I do use some flour mixed in with my fruit for other pies (apple, berry). I did notice the original recipe is a crumb topping so maybe with a yogurt filling its better to not use a top crust to let more steam escape? But maybe its also what others said about letting it cook longer. I can’t remember exactly but I think my moms apple pie starts out at a higher temp and then you lower it for the longer cooking time. Now I want to make a pie :)

    • Elina

      I actually used the crumb topping as well and did the high temp, then lower temp thing. I think the yogurt + raw peaches may have been part of the problem. Oh well, you can’t win them all! :)

  • Amy

    Being from Cali when I see figs it makes me nostalgic and definitely crave a few! In all honesty I prefer this delicious food as nature made them. I’ve never cooked with or baked them, although I’ve eaten them that way and agree they’re delish, because in New England they are such a rarity I say enjoy them fresh and raw! :) Maybe slice onto a salad even with some blue cheese crumbles and chicken?

  • Those figs are lovely! I haven’t seen them in the stores here yet. My guess on the pie is that it didn’t thicken up enough – that’s what the flour is for to help the juices thicken. It may of needed to cook a little longer. It still sounds scrumptious!

  • It is so nice to meet you! I love your blog and liked your Facebook page!

    Thanks for dropping by my blog…

  • Eek. Pies scare me so I’m going to have to default to the other readers on this one.

  • I can’t put in any ideas for the pie, but I can definitely add one for the figs. Last week we made a pizza with caramelized onions instead of regular sauce, and then topped with sliced figs and gorgonzola, and then added arugula when we pulled it out of the oven. It was wonderful (and simple!) You can caramelize the onions while the pizza dough is rising.

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