I used to have a peach tree in my backyard. The problem with that is that we live next to a wild area, hence lots of wildlife. By mid-spring, when the fruit would start to form, the prairie dogs and I would begin eyeing the tree, waiting for the first signs of ripening fruit. And that is when the little beasts would begin “sampling”, a bite from this fruit and a bite from that fruit, like they were marking it so I couldn’t use it. At best I would end up with enough undamaged peaches for a couple of pies, so reluctantly we removed the tree when we re-landscaped the yard.
Right now, summer is wrapping up and peaches are in full-flavor and at the peak of their season. While I love a good, fresh, juicy peach dripping with sweet nectar, my favorite way to eat them is in a homemade pie. I don’t like commercial pies, too much “goo”, not enough fruit; they are typically way too sweet for me and don’t get me started on commercial crusts. While they are convenient, they are way too thick, who needs all the extra calories! Where I grew up, a thin, flaky crust was the goal.
This pie contains plenty of fresh fruit, just the right amount of sugar and spicy cinnamon to raise the bar. It’s one of my favorite pies; I look forward to it every summer.
As a general note, it’s easier to work with ‘freestone’ varieties of peach. Freestone means when you cut the peach it releases easily from the pit, and you won’t mangle the fruit trying to remove the pit. Grocery stores seem to sell almost exclusively freestone, so you’ll likely not encounter this issue. However, if you are at a farmer’s market and you see cling peaches, realize that these are typically used in canning and such and it can be a bit of a bear to get the peach and the pit separated, you’ll likely mess up the fruit a bit. But it’s going into a pie, so you’ll be ok!
Makes 1 9” pie (6 slices)
For the Crust
- 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 2/3 Cup Cold Butter
- 1 Tbsp Sugar
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 7 Tablespoons Ice Water
In a mixer, add the flour, sugar and salt, mix. Dice the butter and add to the mixer, mix until the flour and butter start to look crumbly, and then add the ice water one tablespoon at a time with the mixer on low. Mix until the dough just comes together; turn out onto a floured bread board. Gather the dough into a ball, lightly knead a few times just to get it to come together completely (don’t worry if you have little chunks of butter) and then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for ½ hour. Prep the fruit.
For the Filling
- 10 Fresh, Ripe, Freestone Peaches, peeled and pitted (about 6-7 cups)
- ¾ Cup Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
- ¼ Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Tsp Cinnamon (I prefer Saigon Cinnamon)
- 2 Tbsp Butter or Margarine
Wash the peaches, pat dry, peel, and discard the peel and pits. Slice fruit length-wise, approximately ¼ inch thick. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice, flour, sugar and cinnamon. Taste the fruit, if it is too tart for your taste, you can add a bit more sugar, but don’t over-sugar, less is better here. If your peaches were fully ripe, ¾ of a cup should be plenty.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
After you have prepped, sliced and mixed the fruit with the other ingredients, return the dough to the floured board, and slice the dough in half. Using a rolling pin, roll the first piece out as best as you can into a circle that is approximately 1/2” bigger than your pie pan. It doesn’t have to be perfect! Fold the dough in half and gently lay into a 9” pie pan. Ease the dough into the pan, lightly pressing the dough to the pan. Set aside.
Roll out the top piece, a little larger than the bottom piece, leave on the board. Return to the bottom crust, lightly brush the edges with water, add fruit to the pie pan, dot the fruit with the butter. Return to the top crust, fold it in half and gently lay over the fruit. Press the two edges of dough together lightly to seal and then, using a sharp knife, trim the edges of the sealed dough to the pie-pan. Finish the edges by either pinching the dough between your thumbs and forefinger (see photo) or press with a fork for design. You can use the scraps of dough you trimmed to form decorative leaves for the top crust if desired. Or for a little pre-pie treat, roll out the scrap dough; lightly brush with butter and cinnamon sugar. Roll into a log and slice into pieces about 1/4” thick. Bake until golden. These were favorite little dough treats my mom used to always make – we never wasted food!
Lightly brush the top of the dough with a little water or egg white, sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown. Tip – Put a cookie sheet on the rack below your pie to catch any juices that leak out. This is much easier than cleaning your oven.
Cool on a wire rack, serve at room temp. Refrigerate any left-overs.