Friday, September 2, 2011


Being Labor Day weekend, I doubt I am the only one trying desperately to enjoy what’s left of summer. So at the farmer’s market on Wednesday I might have gone a little overboard. I bought about 15 pounds of peaches. I’ve already made a few peach pies this season and wanted to make something a little bit more exciting. Luckily I had also bought a few quarts of the most beautiful fresh blackberries. It’s not a combination I’ve seen before; but I imagined it working quite well. The tartness of the blackberries cutting through the almost sticky-sweet nectar of the perfectly ripe peaches. But I still felt the pie needed a little more back bone. Cognac.

I am a huge believer in the addition of liquor to cooking. First and foremost I’ve been known to enjoy a cocktail or two while in the kitchen. Secondly, alcohol is considered to be a conductor of flavor. It carries and amplifies flavors to a whole other level. Think vodka sauce. Vodka has no real flavor of its’ own, yet vodka sauce has a much more intense flavor than a basic marinara. The difference is the way in which the vodka intensifies all the other flavors in the sauce. This is exactly the same case when adding cognac to the pie. The cognac carries and blends the flavors, while also intensifying them. The difference between cognac and vodka is that cognac has spectacular flavor by itself..

There really is no other flavor quite like cognac. It is deep and almost smoky, yet has a pungent, light zest to it. It is the perfect compliment to the peach and blackberry. By adding it to the pie it brings out an entirely new flavor to the peach. Served with blackberry whipped cream and a verbena bellini, it’s the perfect last hoorah!

Preheat oven to 415


1 recipe double crust pastry
12-15 peaches, peeled, cored, and sliced
½ cup blackberries
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cognac, I used Courvoisier
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1. Combine all ingredients into a large bowl. Fold with a rubber spatula. It is best to use a rubber spatula because you are less likely to break the fruit

2. Once incorporated, fill pie crust shell, cover, and set in refrigerator for 20 minutes to rest. Letting a pie rest before it bakes helps the butter in the pastry crust to cool again, making a flakier pastry once baked.

3. Bake in a 415 degree oven for15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake for another 45 minutes-hour
For a shiny crust, brush with egg wash (1 egg + 1 teaspoon milk) and dust with sugar. The best way I have to dust, and not end up with big spots of sugar is to take a small amount and rub it between your hands like sand.

4. Serve with blackberry whipped cream and a verbena bellini (recipe will be posted tomorrow

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