Tuesday, September 15, 2009

If You Like Peaches... Fresh Peach Pie

Ahh, peaches. I enjoy them and therefor naturally assumed as soon as their season rolled around I would be making pie with them; then they got here and not so much. The reason is simple: they are never ripe in the store and I am both impatient and impulsive. I want to make my pies when I want to make them. I don't think “I want to make pie 2 days from now so better buy some peaches and let them ripen.” So it took me awhile to focus, plan ahead for once, get around to making peach pie.

Now I have made 2 (because really, when do I ever make just one). The first one is of no consequence right now, it was in a wholly different style and will receive its own post.

But this pie, this pie was...messy looking, ok, but...I don't really have the right word so how about just REALLY GOOD.

Fresh (Unbaked) Peach Pie. I love a good fresh pie and do not find making them any less satisfying. Making the most tasty fruited glaze that will set perfectly, not too liquidy and not too firm is as much of an art as anything else about pie making.

I picked this recipe for several reasons. First, I adapted it from a recipe that was well rated on allrecipes.com and this is always a good starting point.

Second, the glaze is flavored with mashed peaches. This is the most important part of getting a well-flavored glaze. Many fresh pie recipes will use the corresponding flavor of gelatin. While Jell-O is a bit easier, the extra effort of using mashed fruit is beyond worth it. Try it once and you will never go back.

Finally, this recipe adds a bit of nutmeg and vanilla to the glaze, which I though would be nice flavors to go with the peaches.

So here is the recipe:

  • 1 (9 inch) pie shell, baked: Get creative, you can use any kind you want!
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup water: This may need to be adjusted, use less if your peach mash is very watery
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups fresh peaches, pitted and mashed: This means take 2 cups of your cut up pitted peaches and mash them, DON'T measure how much peach mash you have
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups fresh peaches - pitted, skinned, and sliced

NOTE: I know from experience that my 9 1/2” Pyrex holds 5 cups of fresh fruit. Plan accordingly to fit your own crust. This glaze recipe is pretty generous so you can get away with enough peaches to fill a deep dish pie, or you can reserve some if your only using an 8 inch. It's tasty, you'll find a use for it.

AND Don't freak out about skinning if you've never done it, just do this and it'll be easy. I did find the skinned peaches a little slippery for slicing though, so I stuck them in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up.

Combine water and cornstarch until cornstarch goes into solution and is not clumpy. Sir water mixture into mashed peaches, then add the sugar, nutmeg, and butter (I just cut my butter into small pieces and let it melt on the stovetop). Cook over medium heat until clear and thick. Stir in vanilla.

Coat the sliced peaches in glaze. Add to pie shell. Refrigerate. I am a nighttime pie baker so I don't know how long it takes to set. My guess is give yourself 4 hours and it should be good.

Results: Delicious. You could really taste the vanilla, but it was not so strong that it covered up the peachy taste. It set up very well. And I got a lot of compliments on this one, even though the crust I tried out was a bit of a mini-disaster. Overall, successful enough that I don't NEED to make it again right away, but I just might want to.

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