It’s PIE day AND PI day (March 14th) and so in honor of the day I am going to share my favorite PEACH PIE RECIPE.
I must remorsefully confess that the sweet taste of RIPE SUMMER PEACHES reigns in my mind but the Farmer’s Market’s are still bare!
The possibilities for peaches are so endless that I am already planning for ending the hot Summer days with a slab of homemade Peach Pie topped with creamy vanilla ice cream.
I’ve made a lot of peach recipes over the years…I gave my hand a try at buttermilk crust peach blueberry pie last Summer for my niece who was recovering from a minor surgery. She was off work for a week or two and asked for this dish which I had never made before. She remembered her grandmother making peach blueberry pies but had not had one in years.
We usually also make grilled sweet peaches with cinnamon and brown sugar at least once during the season. And lastly… another family favorite… brown sugar peach pie crumble!
As much as I love peaches…I must admit…
THERE IS NO COOKING EMOJI SUFFICIENT TO ARTICULATE MY PAIN AT PEFECTING PEACH PIE!
I have tried several different methods, more times than I care to admit, before settling on a recipe that works (adapted from America’s test kitchen and my wife’s family recipe).
Now keep in mind there are a few things that you NEED to know about baking pies with fruit….
- The sweetness level can vary depending on how ripe the peaches are. You may need to adjust sugar levels accordingly!
- The pie should visibly bubble through to the center before you take it out of the oven. Vented or lattice top crusts come in handy for checking this.
- If the crust begins to darken before the pie finishes baking simply take a couple of long strips of foil a couple of inches wide and place around the edges of the crust while baking. Usually I can wrap an entire pie crust all the way around with 2 long strips or they make a very cool silicone pie crust shield HERE.
- It has to cool all the way (1-2 hours) before you cut it, otherwise you will be cutting soup!
Last Summer, we stopped and bought the peaches below on a road trip. It was an impromptu stop and we were thrilled to find an orchard loaded with seasonal favorites including peaches.
July and August are peak season for buying Peaches in the Midwest. When shopping try to look for a nice crease that runs up the side of the peach, and fruit that has a “peachy” fragrant scent especially at the stem. The peaches should be soft to the touch but definitely not mushy and should have a nice golden hue. Avoid any with major blemishes or soft spots.
I blanched the peaches first by scoring an X on the side opposite the stem and gave them a quick dunk in boiling water for 45 to 60 seconds before plunging them into an ice water bath. This makes the peach skins easy to remove and really doesn’t take that long. It’s worth the extra step and I used this gadget to retrieve them from out of the boiling water…
Next I peeled, pitted and sliced the peaches into about 6 cups (8 fresh peaches) and tossed them with 1/2 cup sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice, salt and let sit for 30 minutes.
Next I combined pectin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and 3 tablespoons of sugar, into separate bowl and set aside
Then mash together 1 cup of the cut peaches into a “paste”
Drain the remaining mixture of the peaches that have been resting into a large bowl keeping 1/2 cup of the captured juice.
Return the drained sliced peaches to the original bowl and toss with the cornstarch.
Take the 1/2 cup of captured peach juice and place into a 12 inch skillet with pectin mixture and whisk until combined. Cook over medium heat until the mixture becomes thick and the pectin dissolves ( 5 minutes). This extra step helps your pie thicken. I have had more than my share of peach pies that just didn’t quite thicken! This is especially true with juicy ripe peaches that are in season.
Now combine the peach slices and the peach “paste” and the cooked pectin mixture together into the skillet and gently toss and then pour entire mixture into your pie crust.
And add a lattice top which will help vent the steam and BAKE!
Finally, after what seems like an ETERNITY of waiting for this to finish in the oven (and completely cool)… you have PEACH PIE. Grab the ice cream and enjoy!!!
I can only add, if you have read this far, that pie making is a science AND an art. A few bumps and cracks in the crust are inevitable!
Peach pie with all the bells and whistles is worth the time when fresh peaches are in season!
- 8 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and cubed (about 6 cups)
- ½ cup of SUGAR plus 3 tablespoons
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon fresh juice
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons low or no sugar needed fruit pectin
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of grated nutmeg
- Pie crust recipe yielding two crusts for a 9 inch pie OR 1 package pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- extra sugar for sprinkling on top of pie crust
- Prepare cut and cube peaches (into sliced quarters)
- In large mixing bowl, combine cut peaches, ½ cup sugar, lemon zest and fresh lemon juice, salt and set aside for 30 minutes
- In seperate bowl combine, pectin,cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and 2 tablespoons sugar.
- Transfer 1 cup of cut peaches in mixture to a small bowl and mash.
- Using a colander set in a large bowl, drain remaining peach mixture into bowl and reserve the captured juice (1/2 cup of juice)
- Transfer remaining peaches to a large bowl and sprinkle cornstarch on top.
- Transfer captured peach juice to a bowl and add pectin mixture and whisk until combined
- Cook peach juice/pectin mixture over medium heat in skillet until mixture becomes slightly thick and pectin is dissolved stirring often (about 5 minutes)
- remove from heat and stir in sliced drained peaches and mashed "peach paste" into the cooked pectin mixture.
- pour entire contents from skillet into a crust lined pan (from fridge)
- cover with lattice top crust and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar.
- Place the pie on a baking sheet (lowest rack in oven) and bake at 400 degrees until crust begins to brown (about 35 minutes). Rotate pie and reduce heat to 375 degrees and finish baking until filling is bubbly about 35 to 40 minutes.
- Let cool COMPLETELY on a wire rack before cutting