For the love of lattice

For the lucky readers and bakers who aren’t still stuck in winter (or war zones), farmers markets in some parts of the world are bursting forth with all sorts of wintry goodies, like citrus! I can’t even believe how many meyer lemon recipes I’ve seen on foodgawker and tastespotting recently!

I’m jealous…totally jealous.

Because it makes me think back to last year, back in D.C., when I was soaking up the peak of summer by heading to the Dupont Circle Farmers Market. After a successful pie attempt, I decided I wanted to really embrace the season and make another one with fresh and local ingredients.

Let me tell you, it was actually pretty tough to figure out which fruits I wanted to bake up. Peaches? Yes! Their orange color was so warm and inviting, they were destined to be baked into a pie.

What else? Peach pie probably would’ve been great on its own, but I was curious for something new. Surprisingly, at that time I’d never tried a plum before, much less tried to bake with one. And, I love the color purple. It only seemed right!

Peach-plum local-icious lattice-topped pie. Let’s get started!

I got the method and tweaked a recipe from an episode of Alton Brown’s “Good Eats” where he freezes his intended pie filling (in his case, blueberries) into a solid pie-shaped block of ice. What’s the point? It makes set up just a bit easier and helps beginners (like myself) craft a lattice crust without making a mess.

Ingredients, tweaked from Alton Brown:
Three medium/large peaches
One container of plums (I can’t remember exactly how many were in there, but it seems to be the usual way they’re sold)
5 tablespoons cornstarch (or tapioca starch, which is what I had on hand)
1/3 cup of sugar
Juice and zest of half a lemon (or orange, if you like)
1/8 teaspoon salt
Your favorite pie dough recipe, doubled to make the bottom shell and lattice crust
1 egg, beaten

To peel the peaches, cut X marks on the peaches and place them in a large pot of boiling water for about thirty seconds and then immediately dunk them into ice water. The peels should come off a lot easier. Cut up the peaches and plums into manageable chunks and mix them together with the sugar, lemon juice and zest.

Let it rest while the sugar starts to break down the fruit and release their juices. About a half-hour.

Mix in the tapioca starch and salt. Line a pie plate with tin foil, pour in your filling, and freeze until solid. At least six hours. Once its frozen, peel off the aluminum foil and you have a ready-to-go block of pie filling! Alton says you can keep this stored in the freezer for up to three months, wrapped in plastic wrap. Let it chill in there until you’re ready to use it.

Next, prepare your pie dough. The whole thing; mixing, kneading, dividing, and resting in the fridge for a bit. Roll out into two circles that will fit into your pie plate. Form one into the bottom of the pan and cut away any excess. Feel free to crimp your edges or do any other cute things to your pie crust. This might be a good time to preheat your oven to 325 F.

Retrieve your frozen filling and delicately slip that on top.

For the second batch of rolled-out dough, cut one-inch wide strips. Since the most far-left strip is probably oddly rounded, don’t pay attention to that one (or the one to the far-right). Starting with the next one, arrange every other strip on top of the frozen filling like so:

Of those strips, fold every other one back…

Lay down a reserved strip horizontally over the two unfolded strips. Fold over the strips to cover the the strip and fold back the ones that weren’t folded before.

Lay down another horizontal strip and repeat.

If you’re feeling jazzy, break out those fun cookie cutters that your boyfriend/fiance/husband/etc told you you would never find enough uses for, and decorate! Mini stars make every baked good look better!

If you like, you can brush an egg wash onto the crust to help it brown. Make sure to pinch and seal around all of the edges.

Bake for about an hour and 15 minutes, and then impress your friends and family!