Last week, I offered a Basil Summer Berry Pudding to celebrate the bounty of berries. This week, the idea of bounty marches on with peaches. It’s that part of the summer season to bring home a quart of peaches and perfume your home with that sweet aroma.
I confess–some of my previous peach pies were disappointing. The texture of the filling had either too much liquid or a gooey binding that made the pie taste like it was from a can. The end result of any attempt was unpredictable from one critical factor—the amount of juice in every peach.
It’s no surprise that America’s Test Kitchen has the best solution to solve that mystery–take control of the amount of juice in the filling. Once that’s conquered, you add the minimum amount of binding agent to produce perfect peach pie.
This pie starts with 3 pounds of peaches. The recipe has a few extra steps, but every single one is crucial to ensure the success. Serve the pie straight up or warm it slightly and serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Your effort will be rewarded.
Summer Peach Pie
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
yield: one 9-inch pie
Lattice Pie Dough
3 cups (15 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
16 tablespoons (8 ounces/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, frozen
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
6-8 tablespoons of ice water
1. In food processor, pulse flour and salt to combine. Scatter butter and shortening pieces over flour, then pulse until texture resembles coarse bread crumbs and butter pieces about the size of small peas remain, ten to twelve 1-second pulses. Sprinkle 3 tablespoon water over mixture and pulse until dough begins to form small curds and holds together when pinched with fingers. If necessary, add remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time to achieve result.
2. Empty dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap; dough will be crumbly Gather dough by pulling up sides of plastic wrap and press lightly with heel of your hand until it forms a solid mass. Divide dough into two equal portions. Form a 6-inch disc with each portion, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold but malleable, about 45 minutes.
3 pounds peaches (about 5) peeled, quartered, and pitted, each quarter cut into thirds
1/2 cup (3-1/2 ounces) plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons low-sugar fruit pectin (pink box)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1.Toss peaches, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, lemon zest and juice, and salt in medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. Combine pectin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and 2 tablespoons sugar in small bowl and set aside.
2. Remove dough from refrigerator, allow it to soften slightly, about 10 minutes. On lightly floured surface, roll 1 dough disc into 12-inch circle. Transfer to 9-inch pie plate, letting excess hang over edge. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll second disc into 12-inch circle, cut into 1-1/4” strips and freeze.
3. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 425℉. Transfer 1 cup peach mixture to small bowl and mash with fork until coarse paste forms. Drain remaining peach mixture through colander set in large bowl. Transfer 1/2 cup of peach juice to liquid measuring cup, discard remainder or use it in beverage such as ice tea or cocktails. Return peach pieces to bowl and toss with cornstarch. Add reserved peach juice to 12-inch skillet, add pectin mixture, and whisk until combined. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and pectin is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, add peach pieces and peach paste, and toss to combine.
4. Transfer peach mixture to dough-lined pie plate. Remove dough strips from freezer; let stand at room temperature to softened slightly but still very cold. Lay strips in a lattice pattern, trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond lip of pie plate. Press edges of bottom crust and lattice strips together and fold under. Folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Crimp dough evenly around edge of pie using your fingers. Brush lattice with water and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
5. Place pie on rimmed baking sheet and bake until crust is set and begins to brown, about 25 minutes. Rotate pie and reduce oven temperature to 375℉; continue to bake until crust is deep golden brown and filling is bubbly at center, 30-40 minutes longer. Let cool on wire rack for 3 hours before serving.