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Rye Pie

October 6, 2011
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Ever read Dreams of Victory by Ellen Conford?  You know, the author of The Alfred G. Graebner Memorial High School Handbook of Rules and Regulations? Or the Annabel the Actress series?  Jenny Archer?  How about If This Is Love, I’ll Take Spaghetti?  Okay, I admit the three in between are ones I’ve never heard of or read, but the Wikipedia article on Conford makes it seem like those are her best known works.  The first and last, though, were books I read and reread when I was, oh, 10?  Ish?

Sadly, I’m pretty sure Dreams of Victory and If This Is Love, I’ll Take Spaghetti are out of print.  Well, sad for me.  Probably not for kids and teens who want to read something current.  Publishing moves ever on.

How on earth does Ellen Conford relate to rye pie?  And what is rye pie anyway?

“What kind of pie are you making?”

“Peach, ” she said proudly.”

. . .

“Hey,” I said. “Why is that crust gray?”

“Oh, well, I ran out of regular flour, and I had some of that rye flour left from the time I tried to bake rye bread so I’m using that instead.”

“Rye pie?” I gulped.

“Rye pie!” She grinned. “That’s funny.”

. . .

“Where’s the top crust?” I asked.

“Oh, well, I didn’t have enough flour for two crusts.  This is a one-crust pie.”

“Why don’t you make one of those crisscross tops?” I suggested. “You know, with the strips going back and forth? I bet you have enough lef over dough for that.”

“Listen,” my mother snapped, wiping her fingers on a dish towel, “you’re lucky to get a one-crust pie. I have enough trouble making the bottom crust without standing here and cutting out little strips and weaving them back and forth —”

“Okay, okay,” I said apologetically.  “It just looks kind of naked that way.”

So I made a rye pie.  With peaches.  And was reminded of Victory’s rye pie–which she couldn’t eat.  Mine was delectable.  (And nearly naked . . . my lattice failed, failed, failed.)

Inspired by Heidi Swanson’s Flaky Rye Pie Crust, I used half rye flour and half whole wheat.  While I loved the texture, the lack of gluten made it really tricky to work with.  Next time?  Whole wheat bread flour or straight up all purpose.
mixing pie crust of rye and whole wheat flours
Rye Crust (originally a vegetarian version of on Alton Brown’s pie crust with inspiration from a Heidi Swanson):

  • 6 Tablespoons butter, chilled
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, chilled
  • ½ Cup rye flour, fine
  • ½ Cup whole wheat flour (bread flour recommended)
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • ¼ Cup ice water
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Place the butter and coconut oil in the freezer for 15 minutes.  When ready to use, remove and cut into small pieces.  Mix the vinegar with the ice water and set aside.
In a food processor, mix the flours and salt and pulse a few times.  Add the cut, frozen butter and pulse 3 or 4 times.  Add the frozen, cut coconut oil and pulse 3 more times.  Drizzle in about half the I water/vinegar mixture.  Pulse 5-6 times.  Add more water if necessary to form a cohesive mass.  If it holds together when you pinch it, remove it from the food processor, mush it intoa  ball and, press it flat and refrigerate it for, oh, about as long as it takes you to put the filling together.

Peaches cooking for pie filling

Peach filling:

  • 4-6 underripe peaches, sliced
  • ¼-½ Cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • ¼ Cup of water
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • ¼ teaspoon powdered cloves
  • 2 Tablespoons tapioca
  • dash of salt

Preheat the oven to 425°F.  Combine the all ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Heat over medium to melt the sugar and butter and make sure all the ingredients are well mixed.

When you’re finished making the filling, take out the pie dough and roll into as much of a circle as you can manage.  I’d recommend doing this on a silicone baking mat or parchment.  You’ll most likely need to stick it in the freezer for a few minutes to be able to peel it off.  Invert the chilled circle over your buttered & floured pie plate and peel off the silicone.  If it tears, patch it with some dough.  Remove the excess and crimp the edges if you are able.  If you have extra, roll it out on your mat or parchment and pre-score it for lattice.  If not, just make a naked pie.  You’ll likely need to refreeze this portion as well.

Pour the peaches into the pie shell.  Top with lattice (if using).  It will most likely break and melt and look really funny.  Brush the edges of the pie crust with milk.  Bake for 30-45 minutes, until peaches are soft and crush is firm.

peach pie with a rye pie crust and broken, partial lattice

The rye flour gives the crust an amazing little sour zing, much the way buttermilk or sour cream does.  And the crust was wonderfully flaky.  The tang of the rye offset the sweetness of the peaches perfectly.  Will the rye crust work with other flavors?  Heidi of 101 Cookbooks does her with a mixed berry pie


(anyone else singing “Million of peaches, peaches for me . . .”?  Well, now you will be!)

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