I was looking at a flat of beautiful peaches thinking, “How can I make this into a pie that isn’t a simple peach pie?”, not that there’s anything wrong with that. So my mind moved to contemplate the duck, so much in the news these days for it’s liver. The duck does have some pretty delicious parts besides the liver, like the legs for example. Especially when they are prepared “a confit”, or cooked at very low heat submerged in their own fat long enough that the flesh attains a luscious velvety texture. So now I had the basic idea for the pie. It was going to be a Peaches and Duck Pie. But what about the crust? Serendipity placed Adrienne Kane in the studio with me today. Her book United States of Pie is a lovely look at regional pie with some very tasty recipes. She spoke about a Cornmeal Crust. Aha! Now I have a Peach-Duck Pie with Cornmeal Crust. But of course I had to change it up just a little. I only had white grits at home, so I threw a bit in the vitamix and ground it up into flour. And instead of the shortening I used duck fat. It’s a White Cornmeal Crust made with butter and duck fat.
And yet, it doesn’t seem fully formed as an idea even as I pull the duck meat off the bones and peel and slice the peaches. Until I gaze across the counter and see a bowl of bing cherries. That’s it! The link I need between the duck and the peaches will be cherries both the fresh bings and a couple from the jar of Cherries macerating in Muscat wine. The cherries have been soaking in the alcohol so long that they are just blobs of cherry muscat flavor wrapped around a pit.
Now I need some spice. Cinnamon would be too sweet. The baharat is full of bugs. How about chai spice? The combination of warm, sweet spices with the bite of black pepper should be perfect. But just a touch.
And the shape of the pie? It will be a gallette, the ultimate compromise between double crust and not. But to give it some structure and make the shape more regular I will make the gallette in a pie pan. Huzzah! Now all I have to do it make the darn thing.
Duck Peach Cherry Gallette with Savory White Cornmeal Crust
For the crust:
1 ¾ cups AP flour
¼ cup finely ground corn meal (white or yellow)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons duck fat
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
6 tablespoons ice water
Put flour, corn meal, sugar and salt in bowl and mix together with your fingers. Cut in fats to dry ingredients with your fingers or a pastry cutter. Mixture should be very crumbly. Add water and stir until the mixture comes together into a shaggy clump. Lightly flour your working surface and tip the clump out. Gently knead the dough three or four times so that it comes together. Form into a puck shape, wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for an hour.
When you’re ready to put the pie together roll out the dough and ease it into a pie pan. (if you’ve never done this before you can refer to my video class app Easy As Pie) Leave the edges floppy and too big for the pan. You’re going to fold them over into the center over the filling.
6 small ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
2 confit duck legs, meat removed from bones and skin and cut into ½ inch dice
10 Bing cherries, pulled in half, pits discarded
5 brandied cherries pits removed (very optional)
4 tablespoons flour
1 – 2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ – ½ teaspoon chai masala (spice mix from Indian Store – not sweetened)
Mix all filling ingredients together. Place in prepared dough lined pie pan. Bring extra dough up over the filling. Pleat and fold it as necessary. Brush with heavy cream. Put in preheated 425° oven for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and continue baking until thickened juices bubble, approximately another 30-40 minutes.