Monday, October 4, 2010

Peach Pie #36

Throughout this whole experiment, people have been asking me, "What's you're favorite pie?" Usually I say, "Oh, I really liked [insert best pie of the past two or three weeks]."
However, all along, I've been waiting for the opportunity to say, "Peach pie is my favorite."
The first pie I ever made was a peach pie and I've been hooked ever since. I even reached back into the catacombs of my photo collection to find this picture of it:
(Awww...isn't that cute? I made it for Ryan's birthday a several years ago. Also, allow me to say that while it's not a gorgeous lattice crust, it's not awful for my first try, right?)

Any ways, I love peaches and I still love peach pie.

However if you've been following this blog at all, you know well that the worst pies I've made all year are my peach pies.

I've spent a lot of nights wondering, why would the universe do that to me? Well, it's called humility, people. And clearly I needed a big dose of it because my last peach pies were really embarrassing (almost as embarrassing as the pink sweats I'm wearing in that old picture).
However, I'm happy to report that I did it. I made a peach pie that was delicious. And while it didn't blow up my pride to unmeasurable proportions, it did make me feel a little better. While I don't think that these are the end-all tips for making a peach pie, here are a few that I used that I believe helped this pie to succeed:

I used barely ripened peaches (so they wouldn't over cook in the oven).
I used one of the simplest recipes I could find (so you could really taste the peaches)
I didn't second guess the recipe at all (which is hard for me)
And you know what? It worked.

So, just talking about this recipe as it is, it was really good. It let the peaches speak for themselves. There isn't anything else to spice them up, accompany them, or change their flavor, which, in my book, made them just peachy.

Also, I loved the crust. It should be made again and again.

And as for peach pies? They still hold a place high on the pedestal of pleasant pies.

(How many more months until peach season comes again?)

Peach Pie

Pate Brisee (Short Crust Pastry):
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.54 cm) pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

Peach Filling:
6 cups (2 1/2 pounds) fresh peaches
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
3 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 tablespoon cream or milk
Granulated white sugar

Pate Brisee:  In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined.  Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds). Pour 1/4 cup (60 ml) ice water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube until the dough just holds together when pinched. If necessary, add more water. Do not process for more than 30 seconds.

Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball. Divide the dough in half, flattening each half into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour before using. This will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour. 

Peach Filling:  Meanwhile, dip the peaches into a large pot of boiling water for about 30 - 60 seconds, depending on the ripeness of each peach. Transfer the fruit to a large bowl of ice water (this stops the cooking process). The skins should now slip easily off the peaches. Cut the peaches in half, remove the stones, and cut the fruit into slices. Place the peach slices in a large bowl and toss with the sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, salt, and butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand, at room temperature, for about 30 minutes so the peaches have time to release their juices, the sugar can dissolve, and the tapioca becomes nice and plump.

After the dough has chilled sufficiently, remove one portion of the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry into a 12 inch circle. (To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards).) Fold the dough in half and gently transfer to a 9 inch pie pan. Brush off any excess flour and tuck the overhanging pastry under itself, crimping as desired. Refrigerate the pastry, covered with plastic wrap, while you roll out the second round of pastry.

Remove the second round of pastry from the refrigerator and roll it into a 12 inch circle. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator. 
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven.

Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and gently pour the peach filling into the chilled pie crust. Moisten the edges of the pie shell with a little water and then place the top crust over the peaches. Tuck any excess pastry under the bottom crust and then crimp the edges using your fingers or a fork. Using a sharp knife, make 3 - 2-inch (5 cm) slits from the center of the pie out towards the edge of the pie to allow the steam to escape. Lightly brush the top crust with cream and sprinkle with a little granulated white sugar.

Bake the pie for about 45 - 60 minutes or until the crust is a deep golden brown color and the juices are bubbling and thick. If the edges of the pie are browning too much during baking, cover with a foil ring. 
Place the baked pie on a wire rack to cool for an hour. Serve at room temperature with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Leftovers can be stored for a couple of days at room temperature or in the refrigerator.


  1. I've been coming here for awhile and my mouth waters looking at your sweet handiwork. But this post has done it. I WILL make a peach pie, doggone it. Thanks for inspiring me.

  2. You have no idea how very much I would like a slice of this pie right now! I have been waiting for this one. Plain old peach pie is also my favorite- right next to apple... and pumpkin... how in the world did you pick? I like them all but I think maybe peach is at the top- I'm going to have to give this one a try... just to make sure. :)