Desserts, Sweet Snacks

Cherry Peach Pie with Ginger-Almond Crunch

for the pie crust
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, diced
6 tablespoons (or more) ice water

for the filling
1 1/2 pounds firm ripe peaches, pitted and quartered, about 4 cups
1 1/2 pound cherries, pitted
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

for the topping
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
1/2 all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup whole almonds, toasted
1/4 cup crystallized ginger chunks

Blend flour, sugar and salt in processor. Add butter and shortening and cut in using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 6 tablespoons ice water and process until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather into ball; divide into 2 pieces. Flatten each into disk. Wrap each in plastic; chill 2 hours.

In the meantime, prepare your filling and topping. In large bowl, gently toss cut peaches and pitted cherries together with lemon juice. In small bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch. Sprinkle mixture over peaches and cherries, turning to coat, then add vanilla and almond extracts, lightly tossing until just mixed.

For the topping, toast almonds in a sauté pan over medium heat, shaking until golden brown, about 5-6 minutes. You could also toast in 350F oven on an ungreased baking sheet, about 10 minutes, but I prefer the sauté pan method. Cool almonds completely before using.

Place toasted almonds and crystallized ginger in food processor bowl. Pulse machine on/off until you get small, coarse pieces. Add butter, flour, and brown sugar to bowl. Using on/off pulse again, process together into even, large crumbs. Transfer mixture to a small bowl, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray.

Roll out 1 dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to the pie dish. Fold edge under, forming high-standing rim; crimp. Add filling, avoiding all the liquid that may have come out of the mixture, otherwise your pie will be very soupy. With remaining pie dough, cut out leaves with a cookie cutter (you will need about 25-30 to go all the way around the edge). Fill a small bowl with water. Using fingers, moisten the back of one leaf cutout and press it gently but firmly to pie dough rim, adhering to folded edge. Add remaining leaves in an overlapping pattern, moistening and pressing each one to form a natural “wreath” along the rim.

When leaf edge is complete, sprinkle Ginger-Almond Crunch evenly over pie filling, covering fruit. Place pie on a foil-lined baking sheet (wide enough to catch all drips) and bake for approximately 30 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 350F and bake an additional 30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and juices are thickened and bubbling. If crust and crunch topping brown too quickly, tent pie loosely with foil and bake until done. Cool completely before slicing. Delicious warm, but expect broken, cobbler-like pieces.

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