Mom's Fresh Peach Pie

2 cups all purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sugar
10 tablespoons vegetable shortening (you can use butter but the crust will not be as crisp)
8 tablespoons icy cold water

In a medium bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. Cut in the shortening with a fork until it is thoroughly distributed and the dry ingredients resemble very coarse sand. Add half of the water and blend until most of the dry ingredients adhere and form a dough, then add the balance of the water and repeat. Turn the contents of the bowl onto a sheet of waxed paper and press the straggling crumbs to the main dough. Do not use your bare hands as the warmth of your skin will defeat the purpose of using icy water. Pat the dough into a circle approximately 6 inches in diameter and 1-inch thick. Wrap in the waxed paper and refrigerate for one-half hour, which will allow the gluten in the flour to create spandex-like chemical bonds that give a pastry its elasticity. While the pastry is chilling, peel and prepare the peaches, and pre-heat the oven at 350F.

2 tablespoons flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
8 to 12 ripe peaches
1/2 teaspoon almond essence

In a small jar, combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon then set aside. Peel the peaches by immersing them in boiling water for approximately 20 seconds then holding them under cold water, which should cause the skin to slip off easily. If this trick doesn’t work, remove the skin with a potato peeler. Cut the peaches into thick slices, then halve the slices into chunks. Sprinkle the almond essence over the peaches and toss. Sprinkle approximately half of the flour-sugar-cinnamon mixture over the peaches and toss again. Save the remaining flour-sugar-cinnamon mixture for another pie.

1 egg white beaten
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon of cream

Note: The best pastry requires rolling on a floured pastry cloth with a rolling pin covered in a floured pastry ‘sock’ and baking in a Pyrex glass pie pan.

Divide the chilled pastry dough into two. Place one half on a lightly floured pastry cloth and re-wrap the other half. Roll the pastry out to approximately 1/4 inch thickness. Fold the four sides in to make a neat square, flip the square over so that the folds are resting on the pastry cloth. Roll from the center out until the pastry is approximately 2-inches larger than your pie pan, cut the circle, fold in quarters and set aside. Repeat the rolling/cutting process to make the top crust, but before folding in quarters use a sharp knife to cut air slits (make some in the shape of a P).

Line the pie pan with the first pastry circle letting the excess hang over the edge. Paint the entire surface with the beaten egg white and let air dry for a few minutes. Dump in the prepared peaches. Place the second pastry circle carefully over the peaches. Turn the excess pastry under. Crimp the edges closed all around the pie pan by placing the thumb and middle finger of your left hand approximately 1-inch apart (elbow out) and pulling the edge of the pastry dough between your fingers toward the center of the pie with the forefinger of your right hand. Do this all around the circle (sounds difficult but is quite simple once you get the hang of it).

Generously anoint the surface of the top crust with the egg-cream mixture (I use my fingers). Don’t worry if little puddles gather in the crimped edges as they will evaporate while baking. Place the pie on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pie halfway and bake for another approximate 20 minutes (check after 10 minutes to confirm that it is browning evenly). When the crust is golden brown and the peach juices are seeping through the slits, the pie is done. Remove your masterpiece from the oven and cool it on a wire rack until room temperature. The pie will look like a picture in a magazine, and it will taste even better.