It took just one thing for me to become addicted to making pies - a great crust recipe. After years of trying to perfect crust, using many different techniques and ingredients, I finally gave up. Then, enter Smitten Kitchen. No clue who writes that blog nor created that crust recipe, but whoever it is has hit the grand slam of all time.
The Smitten Kitchen crust recipe can be found here. Personally, I haven't found one I like better, not even Ree Drummond's crust recipe. I didn't care for Ree's crust for one reason (and I love most of her recipes): she uses shortening. To me, shortening is just a strange and mysterious, flavorless goo. I feel it lacks flavor, and doesn't impart the same texture to the crust that I get when I use butter.
I was seduced into trying the Smitten Kitchen recipe because the writer expressed my very sentiments re: shortening, so I gave it a try. I'm so glad I did. It gets two *very* excited thumbs up. Give it a go. What I like most about this recipe is you don't need anything but a bowl, a good wooden spoon, a pastry blender and a rolling pin. If you don't have a food processor, you won't be held back when making this recipe. It's not required, and, as a matter of fact, the writer would prefer you didn't use one.
Tonight's filling will be peach. I've made cherry, using canned cherries (yes, I know, not all that original, nor 'fresh'), as that's all I had access to this time of year. I've also made several apple pies, and I haven't been disappointed in any of them.
I no longer make pies in a traditional pie tin. I feel like I'm being stuffed into a straight jacket, so I use oblong or square glass baking dishes now. Why? I can't tell you why, other than I like to be different. I also add an egg wash to my crust, and sprinkle with Sugar In The Raw. I like the finished look I get, and part of good food is the way it looks, at least in my own experience. Of course, it better taste great, too, but when you can make your food look even better, with minimal effort, why not?
I will post the pie results, and the final recipe later, along with photos. Until then...