Thursday, January 30, 2014

'Labor Day's' opening likely to stir passion for pies

Josh Brolin, Kate Winslet and Gattlin Griffith in Labor Day (Dale Robinette/Paramount Pictures).
The film “Labor Day," based on the best-selling novel by Joyce Maynard, opens Friday.

I saw the film starring Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin and Gattlin Griffith at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall and was not surprised Maynard's book was a best-seller. It's a heartwarming story about Adele (Winslet), a woman suffering from depression, and her teen son Henry (Griffith), who run into escaped con Frank (Brolin). Frank forces them to give him a ride out of town and then burrows his way into their lives to escape capture by police. Over time he also finds a place in their hearts. 

Baking a pie on the set (Dale Robinette/Paramount Pictures).
Brolin does a fine job as the bad guy with a good heart who mentors Henry and mends Adele, a vibrant and passionate woman who has forgotten what it's like to be in love. But, Winslet's performance is lukewarm - except for the romantic scene where Brolin shows her how to make a peach pie. 

Note: During the filming of “Labor Day,” Winslet told a reporter for the Chicago Sun Times, "Josh became a little bit obsessive about making pies. He would get up at 4 in the morning and come to work with a box and say, 'Kate, I baked you a pie.'"

On the set of "Labor Day" author Joyce Maynard shows Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet the right way to make her pie (Dale Robinette/Parmount Pictures).

So, let's bake that pie … especially since Maynard has offered readers the pie recipe in his book. Jan. 23 was National Pie Day, but everyday could be “pie day” in my book.

Joyce Maynard's family recipe for peach pie


3 pounds peaches

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup Crisco vegetable shortening

1 stick plus 1 tablespoon chilled butter,

cut into pieces

1/3 to 1/2 cup ice water

2 tablespoons Minute Tapioca (plus

2 additional tablespoons to stir

into peaches)

1 beaten egg

1 tablespoon sugar

Combine the peaches, sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir in the Minute Tapioca to help absorb juices. Set it aside, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 400 F. In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, work in the shortening and 1 stick of butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the ice water over the flour mixture, stirring gently with a fork. Continue adding the water just until the dough holds together. Shape the dough into a ball and divide it into 2 discs, one slightly larger than the other.

Place the smaller disc on a sheet of waxed paper, and use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. If the dough sticks to the rolling pin, dust it lightly with more flour. Lay a 9- to 10-inch pie pan face down on top of the circle; flip the pan over and remove the paper. To make the crust, on a sheet of waxed paper, roll out the other disc to form a 14-inch circle. Do not roll the dough more than necessary.

On the bottom crust, add a sprinkle of tapioca and the filling, mounding it in the center, and dot with 1 tablespoon butter. Lift the waxed paper with the remaining crust and flip it over the filling. Peel back waxed paper. Trim the edges of the crusts and pinch together the top and bottom crusts. Optional: Roll out the crust trimmings and cut into decorative shapes. Brush the pie with the egg, and arrange the shapes on the crust. Sprinkle with sugar. Poke fork holes or cut vents in the top crust. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Put pie plate on cookie sheet to catch drips. Bake in 350 F oven for about 1 hour. Cool and serve as dessert after the movie!

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