Raiding the larder of ideas.

What one family eats, plans to eat, dreams of eating. Plus, other food and kitchen-related stuff from the home of steak-and-potatoes, pie and fresh green beans from the garden.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Peach of a Pie... Peach Curd in a Coconutty Shell, and THEN Some

In case anybody had failed to figure this out, yet…I like food. I like to eat it, I like to look at it, I like to read about it, I like to photograph and paint it and I like to talk (and write) about it. But most of all,  I like to prepare it. Of course, nine times out of ten, when I prepare something, I'm expected to eat it, since I don't work for a professional kitchen (and, no, I have no real desire to do so, since I enjoy the freedom that a private home kitchen affords me).

Now is the season of birthdays in our circle, and this, of course, grants me the excuse to bake unabashedly, and with great variety, with fewer concerns about my own personal girth. The treats get shared, or even given away.

In this case, one of my long-time friends, like me, is on a restricted regimen…she's on an allergy- and celiac-diet – gluten free – and her daughter-in-law has been encouraging her to try, as much as possible, a paleo diet. Well, this isn't exactly paleo, except that the crust could get there, if one wanted to do so, but the entire dish is without gluten, and without other chemicals she has had allergies to. Plus, her husband is a fan of peaches and pies, so there is that. 

The crust is made using coconut flour (yes, there are recipes which use it as the primary flour!), shortening (in this case, butter, so, not exactly paleo, but ultra nibble-worthy, so I made two crusts & popped one in the freezer for later in the week), and eggs (with a little honey, just for the heck of it, but that's not essential to the structure). In essence, it's a pre-baked cookie crust.

The filling is a bigger project. I made a peach curd from peach nectar cooked way down, plus some flash-frozen peaches (thawed and pureed), some egg yolks, and a great honkin' amount of sugar… hey, it's a birthday pie! It's supposed to be decadent!

It was topped with more raw peaches steeped overnight in lime juice, then drained and coated with honey, and, finally, decorated with my favorite stabilized whipped cream topping. One could, I suppose, make it a peach meringue pie if one wanted, since the curd uses yolks and not the albumen, but I'm reserving the egg whites for next week's birthday chocolate sponge cake. Whippy cream it is, this time.

I made a double batch of everything, though, so one went home with the birthday girl, and the other is going on the table Friday evening for our weekly supper. I recommend you do the same, just because.

Coconut flour pie crust (single crust)
1/2 cup butter or coconut oil, melted 
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons honey (optional if this crust is for a savory pie)
3/4 cup coconut flour 
Set rack in oven to near the bottom. Preheat oven to 400º F.
Heavily grease a 9" pie pan. 
In a medium microwave-safe bowl, heat the butter or coconut oil at low power until almost completely melted (about 1 minute. If it's not near melting point, continue to heat in 20-second increments until all but a few lumps of solid remain. Remove from the microwave and allow the solids to gradually melt, and the shortening to cool slightly. 
Add eggs, salt, and honey and thoroughly mix. Add coconut flour and stir until dough holds together. 
Gather dough into a ball and pat into greased 9" pie pan, and prick the dough with a fork. 

Bake 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool before filling. 

And this is my latest choice for filling:

Peach Curd 

4 egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup fresh peach puree (or frozen, thawed)*
1 Tablespoon lime juice (or lemon, if you must)
6 Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, beat yolks with sugar, peach purée and lime juice. Simmer, stirring constantly, until it becomes thickened. 
Remove from heat, begin whisking in butter a few small pieces at a time. Stir in vanilla, then strain curd through a fine sieve. 
Pour into pre-baked cookie-type (sweet) pie shell or tart shells. Or, refrigerate it in a covered container and later you can spread it on your waffles, toast, etc. 

 *I actually started with a liter of high-quality peach nectar, and set it to simmer until it reduced to just over 1 1/2 cups (it took about 90 minutes on medium-low heat), and, since I was doubling the recipe, filled in by running a handful of frozen peaches (after thawing) through the food processor. But that's because I had time and curiosity. Using fresh or thawed peaches, you're likely to have a brighter color to the puree. The nectar darkened with some interesting near-caramelization as it cooked down. The flavor was darned spiffy.

It's too bad I don't have a good excuse to make a dozen of these for the family…just so I can keep licking the bowls, if nothing more.

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