Please enjoy a moment of silence for this peach pie. Here are a few photos, recipes and comments on the rewards and challenges of baking a homemade peach pie. And hopefully a small contribution to embracing the abundant fresh produce here in Northern California at the end of August. Think warm nights, corn on the cob, the promise of ripe tomatoes in the vegetable garden and juicy fresh peaches. I know my opening comment was a tad overly dramatic, but each time I took it out after a few attempts to write something else I put it back, so there you have it. Actually nothing bad happened to the peach pie, it experienced a short ride in the car before we cut it into slices and served it with vanilla ice cream at a friend’s home the other night after a wonderful dinner served with a great bottle of red wine. The bay trees are shedding leaves and the smell of Indian Summer is in the air here. Summer fruit is overflowing in the markets right now and I didn’t want to miss my chance to make a fruit pie this summer. I found an all butter pie crust recipe at Smitten Kitchen that looked good. I tried it for this pie and it was flaky and tender as promised. There is also a very comprehensive tutorial for rolling out the dough on the same site. I rolled my dough out on two silpat mats put together on the counter and sprinkled with a little flour. I found this dough to be stiff and difficult to roll out. As I rolled it out the sides kept forming these deep cracks and I had to stop rolling and pinch them together. I didn’t weave the lattice over the pie because it kept tearing and at that point I was over chilling the dough! I do want to note that even though the dough was not easy to handle, for me anyway, it was still forgiving and eventually I had my way with it! I searched for a simple fresh peach filling recipe for the pie and found several but settled on one that I did adapt from the very popular cook and food writer, Sheila Lutkins. The recipe is in her book ‘Ten: all the foods we love and ten perfect recipes for each’. I started years ago using the Silver Palate cookbooks which I came back to over and over again, remember her recipe called Chicken Marbella? I think the vanilla, cinnamon and brown sugar are stand out flavors in this peach pie filling. If you don’t try it now and now would be the time, save the recipe for next summer but just be sure to try it!
For The Crust
Pie dough, enough for one double crust pie, try the link above for the recipe or use your own favorite recipe, formed into 2 disks, wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for at least 1 hour.
For The Filling
3 to 4 pounds ripe peaches, about 9 good size peaches, I used organic yellow peaches
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Generous sprinkle of cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
For Finishing The Top
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
Remove one of the dough disks from the refrigerator and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. Try flouring the rolling pin as well. Roll it out about 1/8 inch thick and about 2 inches bigger than a 9 inch pie plate. Using a spatula or a bench knife lift the dough and place in the pie plate. Press the dough into the pie plate and trim the edges, leaving about a 1 inch overhang. If the dough tears just pinch it back together. Place the pie plate back in the refrigerator and chill.
Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Remove the other dough disk from the refrigerator and roll it out the same way as the first one. Transfer it to the lined baking sheet and chill while you prepare the peach filling.
Preheat the oven to 425°F
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Using a paring knife cut an X in the bottom of each peach before you place them in the boiling water. Leave them in the boiling water for about one minute and remove to a large bowl to cool. Slip off the skins when they are cool enough to handle. Cut the peaches into wedges, place them in a large bowl, sprinkle with the lemon juice and toss to mix. Add the sugars, vanilla, cinnamon and flour and toss to combine. Spoon the filling into the bottom crust and dot with butter. I left most of the liquid from the peach filling in the bowl so as not to make the pie too runny! Believe me you don’t want all that liquid in your pie, just a note!
Remove the top crust from the refrigerator and cut into strips about 3/4″ wide. Arrange the strips in a lattice design on top of the filling. Press the ends of the strips onto the edges of the bottom crust to seal. Brush the cream over the lattice and sprinkle with sugar.
Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. It will boil over so be sure to put a pan underneath it! Lower the oven temperature to 375° and bake until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling, about 50 minutes. If the lattice is getting too brown tent it with aluminum foil about half way through the baking. Let the pie cool to slightly warm or room temperature on a wire rack before slicing and serving with vanilla ice cream.