The Perfect Pie
Photos by Ralph Lauer
Lea Ann Bray-Salinas has been baking pies her entire life, inspired by the ones her grandmother made.
The passion became her business in 2010, when she and husband Leo Salinas left real estate to open Texas Harvest Pie Company, with breakfast and lunch menus, plus pies.
When the historic building that housed the business was sold and moved in 2013, Texas Harvest closed. Now Bray-Salinas is back and working out of the same stone house, relocated and restored as the Wild Rose Heritage Center in Keller’s Old Town. Texas Harvest Pie Company uses the museum’s commercial kitchen for its catering business and bakes pies by special order.
Bray-Salinas says she turns out 50 to 60 pies a week and everything she bakes is available year round. See the extensive menu on the website, with selections such as strawberry-rhubarb, lemon meringue, coconut, chocolate and banana cream pies. The Cherry-Peach Pie is a customer favorite, she says. “The fruits go great together, and the added touch of cinnamon and almond flavors put it over the top.”
Makes 9-inch pie
- Crust for a double-crust pie, made from scratch (see recipe at right)
- 1 pound tart red cherries, pitted (fresh or frozen)
- 1 pound fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 egg, whisked to blend (for egg wash)
- 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
- Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out half the crust and place in 9-inch pie pan. Mix fruit and next five ingredients in large bowl. Pour into crust and top with butter. Roll out second half of the crust and place on top of pie. Crimp edges and cut vent holes in top of crust. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 1 hour; cool for 20 to 30 minutes. Top with fresh whipped cream or your favorite vanilla ice cream.
Makes 1 double crust
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ²/³ cup cold shortening (or ²/³ cup cold butter, cut into ½-inch pieces)
- 6 to 8 tablespoons ice-cold water
In a medium bowl, mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender or fork, until mixture forms coarse crumbs the size of small peas. Sprinkle with water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1 to 2 tablespoons more water can be added if necessary). Gather pastry into a ball. Divide in half and shape into 2 rounds on lightly floured surface. Wrap flattened rounds in plastic wrap and refrigerate 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly at room temperature before rolling.