Peach Pie is a summer favorite when they are sweet and plentiful. I was surprised last week to see the first of the Georgia Peaches in the store an couldn’t resist buying some. I really didn’t know what I was going to do with them – they were just irresistible.
After sitting on the counter for a couple of days I decided to make a Peach Pie with them. But not just any Peach Pie, something special. Then I remembered the Dutch Apple Pie. Why not put those crumbs on top of my peaches? As you can see I did with spectacular results.
While I was at it, I reduced the sugar significantly, added a bit of white balsamic vinegar to add a contrast to the sugar and a touch of vanilla which I have always loved with peaches.
There are two ways to peel peaches for the pie – one works better than the other. Normally, I like to put the peaches in boiling water, immerse them in cold water and just slip the skins off as I did for the Peachy Keen Parfait. However, when I did the first pie this way, the peaches juiced so much that the fruit slid from between the crumbs and the crust after baking and the initial cut. Not good! So, for the second go ‘round, I peeled them, which reduced the amount of initial juice.
We made deep dish tarts at the bakery which were essentially pies in deep fluted pans with crumbs on top. After a lot of experimenting, my favorite thickening was a combination of flour and minute tapioca. Because we froze the tarts, cornstarch was out of the question because it breaks down when thawed. I didn’t like all flour because it clouded the beautiful peaches. Minute tapioca alone can make for a rather bouncy filling but it is beautiful and clear. The combination of the flour and minute tapioca makes a pie with sparkling fruit and just enough set up that freezes and thaws perfectly. When using this combination or it is important to let the filling sit for thirty minutes so the tapioca can soften and absorb the liquid.
One more thing. You will notice in the picture above that the peaches are cut thinly and not in chunks. That is how I cut apples or any fruit for a pie. The reason is simple. By cutting the fruit thinly the pie doesn’t have a gaping separation between the baked top crust and the fruit. Everything stays compact and stuck together.
This peach pie is less sweet than most. I was talking with the friend a few days ago and he said he rarely makes or eats pie because they are so sweet. I couldn’t agree more. When I designed the fruit tarts for the bakery, I removed some of the sugar so the tarts would be fruit forward. If you like a sweeter pie, add an additional 1/4 cup sugar (50 grams or 1 3/4 ounces).
Rather than cover the pie crust edges halfway through baking, I reverse this and cover them before the pie goes into the oven which alleviates any chance of burning yourself. I also place the pie on a parchment lined half sheet pan to catch any drips that may occur at the end of baking. The crumbs will most likely over-brown towards the end, so tent the top loosely to slow the browning.
I prefer a glass pie plate so I can see if the bottom crust is getting baked. I keep the oven temperature at 400°F for the entire time. If you use a metal pie pan, you may want to set the oven at 425°F since glass gets hotter than metal or simply add a bit more baking time.
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1 3/4 cups sifted cake flour (6 1/3 ounces or 180 grams)
1/3 cup sifted all-purpose flour (scant 1 1/2 ounces or 40 grams)
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces and frozen until hard
3 tablespoons shortening (like Crisco) frozen and cut into pieces
2 tablespoons beaten egg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
5 tablespoons water, chilled and divided
Place both flours and the salt in the processor bowl. Pulse several times to mix. Place the butter evenly over the flour and pulse until the butter is in large pieces. Add the frozen shortening and continue to pulse until the shortenings are pea-sized.
Combine the egg, lemon juice, and water. Pour in a circle over the processor contents. Pulse until it forms clumps. Pour out onto a lightly floured work surface. Push the clumps together into a ball. Knead 4 or 5 times for form a dough. Pat into a circle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in film and refrigerate a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out to a circle approximately 13 inches. Place in the pie pan and fit into corners. Cut the overhang an even 1 inch all the way around. Tuck the crust under and flute the edges.
Chill well. This can be made the day before and refrigerated or frozen. Thaw in the refrigerator if frozen.
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1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (114 grams, 4 ounces or 1 stick)
1/3 cup granulated sugar (65 grams or 2.25 ounces)
1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar (65 grams or 2.25 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups cake flour (190 grams or 6 1/2 ounces)
Combine the butter and both sugars in a mixer. Cream until very light. Combine the salt and flour; add all at once and beat on medium just until large crumbs form. Scrape down the sides and the bottom for unincorporated flour. Mix briefly.
Do not over mix or you will end up with a really thick cohesive mixture. Store the crumbs in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
Peach Pie Filling
3 pounds fresh peaches (1380 grams)
1 cup sugar (200 grams)
3 tablespoons flour (28 grams or 1 ounces)
3 tablespoons minute tapioca – (28 grams or 1 ounce)
2 tablespoons white Balsamic Vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment.
Peel the peaches and slice thinly.
About 30 minutes before filling the pie, combine the sugar, flour, and tapioca.
Add the balsamic vinegar and extract to the fruit. Pour the dry ingredients over the fruit and mix well. Let sit for 30 minutes after which they will have juiced and the tapioca will have softened.
Place the pastry shell on the lined sheet pan and pour in the filling. Cover the fruit with the crumbs. Foil the edges of the crust to prevent burning.
Bake for 45 minutes then remove the foil. This is easiest done with tongs. Continue baking for about 45 minutes more until the crust is browned and the peaches are beginning to bubble around the edges. Lightly tent with top with foil if the crumbs are browning too much.
Cool the Peach Pie before serving although I love it slightly warm. If you make it the day ahead, just microwave the slices briefly. Mike and I love it by itself but ice cream can’t hurt!!