Feeling peachy about pie this year
How did I make it 30 years in this life without ever trying a Peach Pie? I'm glad I finally figured it out because this pie is EVERYTHING, and the perfect end to #PeachWeek!
Sweet and spicy with a flaky butter crust
I was inspired by a recipe from a cookbook called Dessert of the Day by Williams Sonoma. When I have an idea for a recipe, first I check in with my mom to see if we have a family recipe that satisfies my idea. Then I will go searching through dozens and dozens of recipes, mostly cookbooks, to see if my idea is even possible. I usually test recipes multiple times until I land on a flavor and texture that is exactly what I was dreaming about. It is quite the process, but it seems to work out just fine.
My peach pie has a lot of personality with the addition of spices, brown sugar, and salted butter (Kerrygold - always!).
I wanted a flavor profile that made me feel warm and nostalgic, but not too spicy since it is still summertime. It is versatile - eat it warm out of the oven, or straight out of the fridge for breakfast; with or without ice cream - you literally cannot go wrong.
Pie crust is one of my husband's favorite foods. Is that possible? Is pie crust a food? I don't know, but he lights up when I say I am making any kind of pie, and wants me to save the scraps to make little cinnamon sugar snacks - something his grandma has been doing for him his whole life. So, I knew I needed to bring it with this crust. I wanted there to be a depth of flavor and some complexity, without losing the fact that it is indeed just pie crust.
I played around with multiple versions of pie crust - shortening, shortening and butter, just butter - at the end of the day just butter always wins.
We are using a salted butter AND adding 1/2tsp of salt.
Salt really does elevate everything it touches, when used correctly. But the secret ingredient (not so secret anymore) is vanilla extract. I wasn't sure if that was the flavor I was looking for, but it turned out perfect!
Let's talk about the peaches. I have been particularly lucky with the flavor of the peaches I've used this season. They have been so sweet and juicy that I probably didn't need to add anything to them. But again, I had this idea, I had to bring it to life.
In walks brown sugar. Yes! Brown sugar in a peach pie. I kid you not, might be the most important ingredient in this recipe.
Two Words: LIFE CHANGING
In walks cinnamon, allspice, and cayenne pepper. Yes - this seems kind of crazy for a peach pie. But trust me, this flavor combination is literally something out of a dream. Warm with a little kick, the addition of these spices elevates the already sweet peaches, and flawlessly works with the brown sugar. Again, this is what dreams are made of - speaking from experience.
2c AP Flour
1/2tsp Kosher Salt
3/4c cold salted butter, cut into pieces
1/2c less 1 tsp ice water, plus more if needed
1tsp vanilla extract
5 peaches, skins removed and sliced
1/8tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/4c Packed Brown Sugar
Pinch of Salt
1/2c cold salted butter, cut into cubes
In a food processor combine flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse 2 to 3 times.
Sprinkle pieces of butter over top of flour mixture. Pulse 3 to 4 times. The mixture should look crumbly, but not combined. About pea sized.
Pour ice water and vanilla over top of flour butter mixture and mix on low until dough is combined and pulls away from the sides. It should be one uniform ball of dough at this point
Turn dough out into a large ziploc bag and press into a rectangle shape.
Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
NOTE: If you don't have time to make this beforehand, the sweet spot is 2 hours of chill time
Peel and pit peaches
Slice peaches into 1/2 inch wedges. Set aside
In a small bowl combine Cayenne Pepper, Allspice, Cinnamon, Sugar, Brown Sugar, and Salt
Sprinkle spice and sugar mixture over peaches and toss to combine. Set Aside
Preheat oven to 375F
Pull pie dough out of refrigerator and cut in half
Roll out the first half to 1/8in thickness. Repeat with the 2nd half and set aside
NOTE: The bottom half should be about 1/8in thickness, and trimmed to at least 1in wider than the pie dish
Press the pie dough into the pie dish and crimp the top edges.
You will want to make sure the pie dough fully gets into the corners of the pie dish
Spoon the peach filling into the pie dish and top with 1/2c of cubed butter
At this point you can either cut the 2nd half of the pie dough into lattice and do a lattice strip topping. Or you can drape the pie dough over top, crimp the edges into the bottom half, and cut four slices in the top of the pie dough for the steam to escape - you're the boss
Bake at 375F for 50 to 60 minutes until crust is golden
Let cool for 10 minutes and serve warm with ice cream or fresh whipped cream