Lauren French chooses her menu by temperature.
In summer, the pies French serves from her roving pie truck are light and fruity or cool and creamy. But if a cold snap hits, it’s back to warm chicken pot pie for a little comfort-food feel.
“I let the weather dictate what I make on a weekly basis,” says French, who runs The Pie Hole in Little Rock. “And in September, some days it’s hot, but some days you know that fall is right around the corner. So, I’ll have a menu with a lemon icebox pie, but then an apple to balance it all out.”
September baking falls somewhere between fresh berries and all-pumpkin-everything. Sure, you could start reaching for apples. But why not squeeze out the last taste of summer before its too late?
With fresh peaches still available, and freezers crammed with berries washed and stocked earlier in the summer, French says, Arkansas-grown ingredients are still well within reach for cobbling together a sweet, late-summer blueberry-peach pie.
To get the best flavors, she recommends heading to an area farmers market for the fruit (she often reaches for Martin Family Farms’ never-sprayed White Haven peaches) and picking fruit that’s already ripe.
“Often I’ll get product on Saturday and won’t use them until later in the week,” French says. “You don’t want the peaches to be too mushy, but a little softness is OK. They shouldn’t be completely firm.”
And as for cutting the perfect slice? Well, some things even experts don’t get right every time.
“Every pie is just not going to cut perfectly,” French says. “It may not cut the prettiest, but it’s going to taste good, no matter what.”
Blueberry Peach Pie
Makes 1 pie, serves up to 10
Your favorite double pie-crust recipe, or use your favorite brand of refrigerated, store-bought pie dough
3/4 cup granulated sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (plus extra for sprinkling)
1/8 teaspoon allspice
3 cups peeled and sliced fresh peaches
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (if using frozen, thaw and drain all excess liquid)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together sugar, flour, cinnamon and allspice in a bowl. Gently fold in peaches and blueberries. Pour into bottom raw pie shell. Cut the butter into small pieces, and dot the top of the filling. Make lattice strips with the top crust, and arrange on top of the filling, weaving the strips and pinching together with the bottom crust.
Brush the top of the pie with a beaten egg. Sprinkle a cinnamon-sugar mixture over the crust.
Bake the pie for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Turn the oven down to 375 degree, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes more. If the edges are browning too quickly, cover with aluminum foil. Allow to cool completely before slicing.