Saturday, September 14, 2013


Lots of peach pies lately  - one, because they're in season and two, because it's so darn good! This is basic peach pie with an all butter crust - not too sweet but with all the yummy goodness that comes from ripe peaches.

Let's start with the crust. I make the bottom and top crusts separately. I know, I know - it seems like unnecessary extra work but for some reason I find doubling the batch so much more work.

Single All Butter Crust

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
6 tablespoons of cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4" pieces
3 tablespoons of ice-cold water, more or less
  1. Start with cold ingredients, the colder the better. Cold ingredients and limited handling are the secrets to perfect pie crust. I keep my flour in the freezer. 
  2. In a bowl, sift together flour, salt, and sugar. Use a pastry blender or two knives to cut in the fat (butter). The dough should still have some pea-sized pieces afterwards.
  3. Add ice-cold water (no ice cubes!) one tablespoon at a time, stirring with a fork until the dough sticks together when pinched between two fingers. You do not want to drench the flour. 
  4. Mix flour mixture until it pulls together into a disc. Remember that over-handling creates a tough crust. Make dough into 1-inch thick disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Now repeat to make the top crust.

Approx. 5-8 peaches, depending on pie dish
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch, or quick cooking tapioca per directions on box)

Place baking sheet  in oven on lower third rack and preheat oven to 425º F. 
  1. Bring a large pot to boil. Drop peaches into boiling water and poach for two minutes - have ice bath ready to quick-cool peaches. 
  2. Peel skins from peaches. Half and pit the peaches, then slice into 1/3-inch pieces. You want approx. 6 cups, more or less, depending on your pie dish. Deep dishes require additional peaches.
  3. In a bowl toss peaches in lemon juice. In separate bowl mix sugars, spices, and thickener (tapioca or starch). Sprinkle over peaches and stir with spatula. Set aside. 
  4. Roll out first dough disc between two sheets of plastic wrap - this is for easier cleanup - you can also generously flour a cold surface before laying down the dough, then sprinkle flour on top of dough and rolling pin. Start from the center and roll out with short strokes to make an 11-inch round, about 1/8-inch thick. 
  5. Center dough in pie dish. Sprinkle flour/sugar mixture on bottom of the crust (this is to prevent soggy bottom). Place peach filling into pie dish. 
  6. Now roll out second dough to 10-inch round. In order to create a lattice-top crust, use a pizza cutter or knife to cut 1/2-inch to 1-inch strips. Start with the two longest middle strips and create a cross over the pie. Place remaining strips on pie, overlapping the straps until pie is covered. Trim overhang from strips. Fold over edges and crimp. 
  7. Using a pastry brush, brush milk over the dough (this browns the dough), sprinkle with sugar. Place in oven at 425º for 20 minutes, then lower temperature to 375º and continue baking for an additional 30-35 minutes. 
  8. Let cool for at least 3 hours before serving, otherwise it may be runny. Serve alone or a la mode.