Chilly nights are right around the corner, so it’s the perfect time to share an end-of-summer celebration. I’m talking about pie. This peach pie is a summer delight, especially thanks to the dusting of lavender and red chile right before popping it in the oven.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when making this. If for any reason making the pie dough feels too labor intensive, you can always use store-bought pie dough and not give it a second thought. However, if you have the time and desire to make pie dough, your efforts will be rewarded with an incredibly delicious buttery and flaky crust. Pie dough freezes well, so when I make a batch of dough, I try to make a double batch and freeze half for a later time.
Let’s say you have all the ingredients but you don’t have a pie dish — keep reading! You can easily take the entire pie dough recipe, roll it out into one big shape (whatever shape you feel like), pile the fruit mixture in the middle, fold over the outer edges of the dough, brush with egg, sprinkle with the sugar mix and bake for the most incredible rustic pie.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about this recipe is that there is no need for you to peel the peaches. This is a step commonly found in most peach pie recipes, but I find it to be entirely unnecessary. Not only does this save time, but leaving the skins on incorporates their beautiful color and texture into the filling. Peaches, like all stone fruits, vary greatly when it comes to how juicy they are. If you are swimming in juicy peaches, you might want to strain some of the juice from the fruit and reduce the liquid a bit in a saucepan. If they are more dense than juicy, you can ignore this step altogether. I’ll walk you through it below in more detail.
At the end of any pie-making, there is usually an extra piece of dough. While I have everything already out, I like to roll out this dough, cut it into different shapes, place them on a baking sheet, brush with egg, sprinkle with any leftover sugar mix and bake for 20 minutes. They are fun “cookies” to have with coffee or tea. Cheers to pie and enjoying these last days of summer!
Makes: 8 servings; total time: 2 hours
For the pie dough:
1¾ sticks of very cold salted butter
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
¾ cups ice water
For the filling:
5 cups sliced peaches
¾ cups brown sugar, packed tight
3 tablespoons cornstarch (or flour, arrowroot or tapioca starch)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
For the topping:
1 tablespoon sugar in the raw
1 teaspoon chile powder (medium heat)
1 teaspoon culinary dried lavender
Pie weights, dried beans or lentils (for blind baking)
A circle of parchment paper just larger than pie dish bottom (for blind baking)
Make the pie dough: Cut butter into small cubes (or grate it with a cheese grater), place on a dish and put in the freezer for a few minutes to get super cold. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt and sugar. In a cup, combine the apple cider vinegar, cold water and an ice cube if you have it. The ice just ensures that the water mixture stays cold. Pull the butter from the freezer and add to the flour mixture. With your hands, crumble the butter pieces into the flour until the entire mixture resembles small peas. At this point I like to grab a fork and add the icy apple cider vinegar water slowly, mixing the dough together just until it all comes together. We don’t want the dough to be sticky or too dry, or overly worked. We want it to be just right, meaning you can use your hands to form a ball that holds together. Divide the dough into two pieces; gently shape each into a round hamburger-patty shape and wrap with plastic or wax paper. Refrigerate for at least a half-hour.
Make the filling: In a large bowl, combine the peaches, brown sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, cinnamon and butter pieces into a large bowl. If your peaches are firm, not releasing a lot of juice, just skip to the next step. If your peaches are juicy, after about 15 minutes of them macerating (aka hanging out) in the sugars, even more of their juice will be revealed. Strain whatever liquid is in the bowl to a saucepan and cook for around 10 minutes or so until the juice begins to thicken. Pour this thickened juice back over the peaches. This step can also be done a couple of days in advance and kept in the fridge until you’re ready to bake.
Make the topping: Just before you are ready to bake, in a small bowl, whisk the egg. In a separate small bowl, stir together the sugar in the raw, chile powder and lavender. Reserve.
Bake the bottom crust: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Taking one piece of dough out of the fridge at a time, sprinkle flour generously on a clean work surface. Keep your pie dish close by for a visual aid and roll out the dough into a circle fairly quickly. Pie dough is easy to work with as long as you don’t give it too much time to warm up. Once you’re confident the circle will sit inside the entire pie dish, pick up the dough, lay it in the dish and cut any dough hanging off the edge with a knife. Wrap the extra dough and keep in the fridge. Poke the bottom of the crust a dozen times with a knife, lay the parchment circle on top and pour in your pie weights. I’ve been using the same dried-bean pie weights for years. I just keep them well labeled in a jar and make sure to cool them completely before putting them back in the jar. Bake the bottom crust for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven.
Assemble the pie: Once the crust is cool enough to handle, carefully remove the pie weights and the parchment paper. Add the filling to the pie. Now get out the second piece of dough from the fridge and roll it out into another round. At this point you can get as creative as you want. You can place the entire round on top of the filling and make a few slits with a knife for steam to escape, or you can cut strips to create a lattice effect. Here I tried to cut out a few leaf shapes for fun. Use a knife to cut away any extra dough hanging off the edge. Crimp the edges with a fork or your fingers. There are many ways to do this, and this is one of those instances when going online to watch others do it can be helpful. But it can also be as simple as pressing on the edges with a fork and calling it a day. Any extra dough can be added to the dough in the fridge.
Brush the top and edges of the pie with the egg, sprinkle the entire top with the sugar mixture and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour until the pie is golden brown and bubbling. I also like to lay a piece of foil on the bottom rack of the oven in case any juices bubble over. Let the pie cool for a half hour before serving. Enjoy!