Rustic Peach Cider Apple Pie


This recipe, submitted by Kim Douds of Hickory Flat, tied for first place in the 2011 Cherokee Fresh Market pie-baking contest.

Pie crust:
1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter
1/4 cup yellow corn meal
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 heaping tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
Approximately 1/2 cup cold peach cider

Pie filling:
2 1/2 pounds Red Detroit (or other medium-tart baking apple)
2 pounds not-quite-ripe peaches
Juice from 2 lemons
1/3 cup granulated sugar or to taste, depending on tartness of apples—but don’t overdo it!
2 tablespoons peach jelly or preserves
1 tablespoon raw wildflower honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

1. Crust: Cut butter and shortening into small pieces. Place in freezer for 5 to 10 minutes. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Using two knives or a pastry blender, cut the butter and shortening into the dry ingredients until it’s the size of peas. Pile up the flour mixture in the center of bowl. Add peach cider 1 tablespoon at a time at the edges, and
toss lightly with the flour mixture. Repeat until the dough is moist enough to hold its shape easily when pressed together. Divide in half, form into balls and then flatten into disks, wrap in wax paper, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

2. Filling: Peel, core, and slice apples. Peel, pit, and slice peaches. Place both in a large bowl, sprinkling each layer with lemon juice. Add sugar, jelly, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, and toss gently. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Roll out tone of the pie dough disks between 2 sheets of parchment or wax paper or on floured board until 1 inch larger than a 9-inch pie pan. Place crust in the bottom of pie pan. Spoon the fruit mixture into shell, pressing down and heaping in the center. Drizzle all but 1 tablespoon of the filling juices over the fruit, and dot with the pieces of butter.

4. Roll out the second disk of dough until it is 2 inches larger than the pie pan. Gently place on top of fruit, folding and crimping the edge. Brush the top—but not the edges—with the reserved syrup.

5. Bake for 15 minutes on lower oven rack. Move the pie to the middle rack, reduce heat to 350 degrees, and bake for 60 to 65 more minutes, covering the entire pie loosely with aluminum foil when the crust is golden brown (about 30-35 minutes into the baking time). Remove from oven and cool at least 30 minutes before serving. If desired, serve with Caramel Brandy Sauce.