You can do this without a laser cutter, of course, but it won't be anywhere near as much fun.
Step 1: What You'll Need
Ingredients for the pastry:
- 445g plain flour
- 175g cold butter
- 95g vegetable fat
- Iced water (or regular water and dry ice, but this is probably overkill)
- 1 egg
Ingredients for the filling:
- 1.2kg peaches
- 100g sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornflour
- Quarter teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Half teaspoon cinnamon
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 30g butter
- 9inch / 23cm pie tin
- Laser cutter (optional, but without this it will just be a regular pie!)
- Wooden chopping board
- Large bowl
- Potato peeler
- Rolling pin
- Pastry brush
- Greaseproof paper
Step 2: Prepare the Pastry to Make the Leaves
Sift 285g of the plain flour and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt into a large bowl.
Add 115g of the butter and 60g of the vegetable fat. Rub the mixture together with your hands until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs.
Add 6 tablespoons of iced water and knead the dough together. Gather it into balls, wrap it in clingfilm and store it in the fridge.
Step 3: Cut the Leaves in the Lazzor
Set up the laser:
Import the attached PDF into your laser-cutting software. These are the settings I used on a 40W Full Spectrum Engineering Deluxe Hobby Laser on 20 milliamps power:
- For the inner lines (red): 100% speed, 100% power, 1 pass
- For the outline (black): 50% speed, 100% power, 3 passes
It doesn't cut entirely through on these settings, but it gets through far enough for you to be able to finish it off by hand.
Cut the leaves:
Break off a bit of the dough and put it on a sheet of greaseproof paper. Roll it out to about 3mm thick.
Place the dough and greaseproof paper on the wooden chopping board and pop it in the laser cutter. Depending on how thick your chopping board is you might need to take the honeycomb mesh out of the laser cutter bed to fit it in. When cutting, the greaseproof paper will avoid the dough sticking to the board, and the board will make sure you don't damage the bed of the laser cutter if you overshoot.
You can copy and paste the leaf vector in your laser-cutting software and set a few running at a time to speed it up a bit. You'll need to end up with around 50 leaves, so you can probably do ten at a time if you roll out enough dough.
IMPORTANT NOTE!: As soon as you're done lasering one piece of pastry, put it back in the fridge in a container so it doesn't dry out. The lasering process will take at least an hour, and the first time I tried this out the crust burnt after ten minutes in the oven because it had dried out while it was sat on the side.
Step 4: Heat Up the Oven and Prepare the Filling
Heat the oven to 220 C / 425 F / Gas mark 7.
Fill a large heat-proof bowl or saucepan with boiling water. Drop the peaches into the boiling water for at least 20 seconds, then transfer them into another bowl filled with cold water. Leave them to cool down, them peel and slice them.
Put the peach slices into a large bowl and add the sugar, cornflour, nutmeg, cinnamon and lemon juice. Put the bowl to one side.
Step 5: Make the Pastry Base
Sift the rest of the plain flour and half a teaspoon of salt into a bowl. Knead in the rest of the butter and vegetable fat, add 3 tablespoons of iced water and mould it into a ball.
Roll out the dough about 3mm thick. Transfer it into the pie tin and trim off the edges. Keep the trimmings for decorating the crust later.
Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of iced water and brush the pastry base with the glaze.
NOTE: This photo is from the first time I tried this recipe, when I tried lining the pie tin with greaseproof paper to make the pie easier to remove. The paper ended up burning as the pie takes so long to bake, but you might want to use tinfoil instead if you want to transfer the pie onto a plate for serving.
Step 6: Add the Filling and Arrange the Leaves
Pour the filling into the pie, piling it a bit higher in the middle. Dot with the 30g of butter.
Arrange the leaves on top of the filling, starting at the outside and working your way in. Finish it off by rolling some of the pastry trimmings into balls and using them to cover the hole in the centre.
Brush with the glaze.
Step 7: Bake It
Bake the pie for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 180 C / 350 F / Gas mark 4 and bake it for another 35-40 minutes.
Check on it regularly as the crust is prone to burning (see pic 2 for my first attempt at this, which went slightly wrong).
Enjoy, it tastes lush!
Grand Prize in the
Pi Day Pie Challenge