As simple as pie

Cooking with Cathie

Cathie CampbellAugust 8, 2012 

Yesterday I came home from Gilroy with a large bag of tree-fresh peaches. Ripe, sweet peaches, and not the hard, dry, crispy ones you see in the grocery stores. And I still say that once picked, they aren't going to ripen; they just get soft and mushy. Sorry, but I call that decomposing! This is the kind of fruit I remember from the days of my childhood when my grandparents had a ranch with several types of trees.

After typing this, I will need to get into the kitchen and start making some pies. I hope that you will be able to enjoy some fresh, sweet peaches this summer. Perhaps you can find good ones at a farmers market if you don't have access to peach trees yourself. It's even fun to eat them fresh, but keep a couple of napkins handy because you'll have juice to mop up!

Fresh peach pie

  • Pastry crust for 9-inch double-crust pie
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 5 cups sliced peeled peaches
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate with one of the pie crusts. Brush with some of the beaten egg to keep the dough from becoming soggy later.
  3. Place the sliced peaches in a large bowl, and sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix gently. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Pour over the peaches, and mix gently. Pour into the pie crust, and dot with butter.
  4. Cover with the other pie crust, and fold the edges under. Flute the edges to seal or press the edges with the tines of a fork dipped in egg. Brush the remaining egg over the top crust. Cut several slits in the top crust to vent steam.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is brown and the juice begins to bubble through the vents. If the edges brown too fast, cover them with strips of aluminum foil about halfway through baking. Cool before serving.

Peach pie

  • 6 cups (about 2 1/2 pounds) fresh peaches
  • 1/4 cup sugar (I like to use 1/2 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon cream or milk, optional
  • Sugar, optional

For crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
  1. For crust: In a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add the butter and process about 15 seconds or until the mixture is like coarse crumbs. (You can also make the pie crust with a pastry cutter if you prefer.)
  2. Pour 1/4 cup ice water in a slow, steady stream until the dough just starts to hold together. You can add more water if you need to. Do not process the dough more than 30 seconds.
  3. Turn the dough onto a work surface and gather into a ball. Divide the dough in half, flattening each half into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about one hour before using.
  4. For filling: Meanwhile, dip the peaches into a large pot of boiling water for about 30 to 60 seconds, depending on the ripeness of each peach. Transfer the fruit to a large bowl of ice water (this stops the cooking process). The skins should now slip easily off the peaches. Cut the peaches in half, remove the stones, and cut the fruit into slices. Place the peach slices in a large bowl and toss with the sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, salt and butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  5. After the dough has chilled, remove one portion of the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry into a 12-inch circle. (To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll. Always roll from the center of the pastry outward.) Fold the dough in half and gently transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Brush off any excess flour and tuck the overhanging pastry under itself, crimping as desired. Refrigerate the pastry, covered with plastic wrap, while you roll out the second round of pastry.
  6. Remove the second round of pastry from the refrigerator and roll it into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 400 and place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven.
  7. Remove the pie crust from refrigerator and gently pour the peach filling into the chilled pie crust. Moisten the edges of the pie shell with a little water and then place the top crust over the peaches. Tuck any excess pastry under the bottom crust and then crimp the edges using your fingers or a fork. Using a sharp knife, make three 2-inch slits from the center of the pie for steam to escape.
  8. Lightly brush the top crust with cream and sprinkle with a little sugar, if desired. Bake the pie for about 45 to 60 minutes or until the crust is a deep golden brown and the juices are bubbling and thick. If the edges of the pie are browning too much during baking, cover with a foil ring.
  9. Place the baked pie on a wire rack to cool for an hour. Serve at room temperature with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Summer peach pie

  • Pastry for double-crust 9-inch pie
  • 2 1/2 pounds fresh, ripe peaches
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan with the bottom crust, allowing enough crust to slightly hang over the edge. Trim crust to pan edge.
  2. Mix remaining ingredients together in a large bowl; pour into the pie pan. Place top crust over filling, fold top crust over bottom and crimp.
  3. Place a foil-lined baking sheet on a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 450 degrees. Wrap an oiled, wide band of foil around the pie edge to protect the crust edges from over browning. Cut slashes in the top crust and chill for 30 minutes. Reduce temperature to 400.
  4. Bake pie for 30 minutes. Remove the foil band, brush the crust with cream or milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes; cool before slicing.

Peachy pie

  • Pastry for double-crust 9-inch pie
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups sliced peeled peaches
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. In a large bowl, combine sugars; add peaches and toss gently. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Line a 9-inch pie pan with bottom pastry; trim even with edge. Set aside. Drain peaches, reserving juice.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the cornstarch, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt; gradually stir in reserved juice. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in lemon juice and butter. Gently fold in peaches. Pour into crust.
  3. Roll out remaining pastry; make a lattice crust or leave plain. Trim, seal and flute edges. Cover edges loosely with foil. Bake at 400 for 50 to 60 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Remove foil. Cool on a wire rack.

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