real and ideal pies

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Strawberry Peach Pie with the crumbly top crust looming above

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The no-butter crust: beyond the help of tools.

When the dairy-free Peach Pie recipe from a high-80’s American hippie cookbook instructs to ‘roll out the dough between two sheets of waxed paper to prevent crumbling’ you know you’re in trouble.  Add to that a filling recipe with no added sugar and three mealy peaches from the six reserved for the pie and, by executive decision it’s time to improvise.  In goes a scant cup of sugar, a couple handfuls of fresh-picked strawberries replace the lame peaches, the blanched and sliced almonds get 86’d, and cinnamon and lemon zest are added in defiance.  Then easy peasy, the lattice top crust is ready to assemble. Or not. The thing about substituting canola oil & soy milk for butter is that the resulting crust is a shadowy replacement for the thing itself.  Pie dough made with solid fat (butter/shortening/lard) creates a pliable, flaky crust of ideal handling, texture and flavor.

And crumble that crust did, like a saltine cracker. The only thing left to do was slap the whole mess (no loving criss-cross pattern this time) on the fruit filling, peel off the wax paper & throw it in the oven without much confidence.

Then a few hours post-pie delivery, the recipient sends this final pic, all soft-focus pie porn, with tales of its deliciousness. See? Rules are there for breaking.

strawberry peach

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