I have a real soft spot for road side produce stands. Growing up near Lancaster County PA we were blessed to be around an amazing wealth of amazing farm fresh produce which could almost always be found on road stands that littered the Bucks and Lancaster county areas. I have great memories of stopping at these with my Mom our our frequent Sunday morning outings to Adamstown’s many antique markets. These stands are always piled high with farm ripe, fragrant produce stacked high in wicker baskets. What is amazing about fresh summer produce like farm stand peaches and tomatoes is that they have been allowed to mature on the vine/tree and as such are ripe with juicy lush flavor.
When I drove by one such stand while exploring the many Latino grocers and thrift stores on Nollensville Road here in Nashville the other day, I knew I had to stop. What I found were baskets and baskets of juicy red tomatoes, brialliantly green okra, tightly husked corn, and mounds and mounds of fragrant peaches. I had been wanting to make a home baked fruit pie for months and knew immediately what I wanted buy. I purchased 4 pounds of peaches for an amazing price of 5 dollars gingerly laid them in a box on the floor of the car and drove home as carefully as possible so as not to bruise my delicate passengers. I brought my new fuzzy friends home and let them sit on the counter for an additional day to bring them to the peak of ripeness.
This recipe can essentially be divided into two procedural components. The first is the crust, which can be made a day or two in advance and then stored in the fridge until needed. The crust should be rolled out to form both bottom and top of the pie the day you intend to bake it. Note that the rolled crust will need to cool at least two hours before filling and finally baking.
The pastry itself is extremely versatile, It lends itself quite well to sweet pies and fruit tarts but I have successfully used it in savory applications as well (as I will show here in one of my next few posts!!) Don’t cut corners when making the crust – over working the pastry or not allowing it to chill properly will make the crust tough. I was amazed that the crust did not need to bake before filling but I trusted the original recipe’s advice and filled the unbaked shell and it turned out beautifully crisp both on top and underneath of the peach filling.
The second component is the peach filling which could not be simpler to make. While I am traditionally a bit tuned off by recipes that mention corn starch I feel it worked well here to thicken the pie filling. The pie recipe initially called for only 1/4 cup of reserved juices mixed with 3 TBSP of corn starch, but I increased the amount of juice to 1/2 cup as I traditionally like my pie fillings to be a bit looser and I was pleased with the outcome. If you like your pie filling a bit more viscous feel free to reduce the amount of peach juice to 1/3 or 1/4 cup. While Bon Apetit suggested the extra peach juice should be discarded, I saved mine and added it to unsweetened ice tea to create some absolutely amazing peach iced tea! I bet it would make a great sauce for pork chops, or a brilliant component of a home made BBQ sauce as well!
In my mind nothing goes better with a slice of pie than a big scoop of ice cream, and I have found none better suited for the job than dreamy creamy haagen-daz. I am not sure if it is purely my imagination but their thick and custardy vanilla even seems to melt a bit slower than super market brands which allows the diner additional time to savor the beautiful contrast of crisp, warm, and tangy pie against the cold, smooth, and milky-refreshing ice cream.
Lattice Topped Peach Pie
The crust for this pie comes from a recipe from “Bake!” by Nick Malgieri. It’s is a phenomenal crust recipe and really a no fail pastry provided you follow the directions to a T. The filling is from the August edition of Bon Appetit and was initially written for multiple varieties of stone fruit totaling up to 4lbs of fruit, I opted to use just peaches as I wanted that beautiful peach flavor to dominate the pie but feel free to use multiple types of stone fruit.
For the Crust2 Cups All Purpose Flour 1/2 TSP Salt 1 TSP Baking Powder 12 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter Cold, Cut Into 12 Pieces 2 Lg Eggs
In a food processor combine the flour, salt, and baking powder and pulse to mix.
Add the butter and pulse in short increments until the butter appears in small pebble sized pieces. Add the eggs and pulse until the dough has almost formed a ball.
Invert the bowl onto a flour dusted work surface and carefully remove the processor blade. Very gently press the dough into a cohesive ball then divide into two smaller discs. Wrap discs in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm. Dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
For the Peach Filling4 Pounds of Farm Ripe Peaches
1/3 Cup Sugar
3 TBSP Cornstarch
1/4 TSP Freshly Grated Nutmeg
To make the filling. Cut peaches in half. Remove pit and place cut side down on a cutting board Peel peaches with a paring knife trying to cut off as little of the peach flesh as possible. Cut each half lengthwise into 6 wedges cut wedges in half to form 12 triangular wedges from each peach half. Do this for all four pounds of peaches. Place halves in a large bowl and toss with 1/3 cup of sugar and allow to rest for 2 hours at room temperature.
To Finish1 Egg Beaten
1 TBSP Sugar
I would have been hopeless without a visual guide for making a lattice pie crust. Luckily one of my favorite cooking resources “Simply Recipes” has created an indispensable visual guide which walks through the process with step by step pictures. I highly recommend you visit the site and take their direction on how to form this beautiful and intricate crust.
To put the finishing touches on the pie simply brush the top and sides of crust with egg wash and sprinkle sugar on top. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrease, then turn the oven down to 350 and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes or until the crust is deeply golden.
Serve warm, with a big scoop of ice cream and enjoy!