Almost two weeks have passed since I went traversing through an orchard in search of my favorite autumnal fruit. It was the first of September, a very damp and dark one at that, but not at all in a depressing way. It set the mood for the month, and since that day I have found myself wishing the last of summer away and yearning for fall to arrive with all its color and ecstasy.
I rather loved the weather that day, I’m typing this now wishing I could go back as it is currently miserably hot and humid today. It was quite cool that day and the fog was hanging low in the mountains; both the peaches and apples looked like candy dangling from a tree, but the apples looked especially pretty as they were bright red and glimmered with fresh droplets of rain. I’m already excited about going back the end of this month or in early October when all the other varieties are ready.
Walking under that canopy of peach trees reminded me somewhat of Alice in Wonderland as if in any given moment a white rabbit would emerge from somewhere, wearing a waistcoat and brandishing a pocket watch. As silly as that sounds, that was the vibe I had while walking under these trees. I really did have a smile on my face the entire time, I felt like a child who found a hideout somewhere amongst the brush. I brought my baby sister with me (who is ten years old) and she had the same air to her. She had so much fun picking the peaches all by herself. I’m not sure how it would’ve felt if the sun was bright and shining.
Since I’ve probably talked enough about my orchard trip, I will now talk about these pies. I’ve had this idea for mini pies, each donned with a different look, for quite some time but I didn’t have any mini pie tins. Lucky for me I stumbled across a few just recently and was able to make them with the fruit I had just picked. You don’t have to use mini pie tins as I did, though. The dough amount is a perfect fit for an eight or nine-inch pie.
I really love the combination of apples and peaches, though the sound of such a pie doesn’t flow as well as “apple and pear”, which was my first idea, then I switched fruits. I see this combination as a last hoorah to summer, as peaches go out of season here around the first or second week of September and then the apples begin to arrive. When the two are paired with rum it really is delicious!
RUM APPLE PEACH PIE WITH MAPLE OAT CRUNCH
12 ounces all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 ounces unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
3-4 ounces water, ice cold
3 peaches, cut into thin slices
3 apples, cut into thin slices
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons rum
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
dash of ground nutmeg
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (or pecans)
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
egg wash, (1 egg, 1 tablespoon water)
turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
for the pie:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Have on hand three, 4-inch pie tins or one, 8 or 9-inch pie tin.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt, whisking till combined; add the cold butter and cut into the flour using a pastry blender or by pulsing in a food process till it clumps into pea-sized nuggets. Push the flour to one side of the bowl and then add about two or three tablespoons of the cold water. Gently toss the flour into the side with the water, using a fork, till it all comes together and forms a soft dough. Add more water if needed. Cut the dough equally in half and press each half into a flat disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 25-30 minutes or till ready to use.
- Cut the apples and peaches into thin slices and place in a bowl, toss in the lemon juice, then add the rum. Let the fruit soak in the rum for about 25 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, and spices. Drain the rum from the fruit, add the sugar mixture to the fruit and toss gently with your hands or a spatula.
- In another bowl, combine the oats, finely chopped nuts, one-half teaspoon cinnamon, and maple syrup. Stir till it all comes together and is crumbly(but not dry).
Assemble the pie:
- Remove one of the dough halves from the refrigerator and place on a floured surface. Gently roll into a wide enough circle that will overhang your pie plate by about 3 inches. Press the dough into the pan and add the fruit, then place the pie in the refrigerator as you roll out the other half of the dough the same as you did the bottom crust. Gently roll the dough onto the rolling pin and place over the top of the pie. Crimp the edges together and brush the pie top with egg wash. Using a sharp knife, cut slits around the center of the pie. Sprinkle on the oat topping and extra sugar and bake for 35-45 minutes.