Along with beef (update: one of the promised freezers is a dud, PANIC), these days I’ve also been consumed with all things peach. More specifically, peach pie. You see, I’ve never landed upon a peach pie recipe that I like. Oh, I’ve eaten lots of peach pies, and I’ve made peach pies, and they’re all fine, I suppose, in a pallid, insipid, and uninspired way…*
So no, not fine. Not fine at all.
Maybe peaches just don’t belong in pie? But I can’t quite believe that, because everyone loves peach pie (or so they say). I want to like peach pie, too!
So I’ve been on a quest (I actually think I may have found one I like, but I’m not for sure since it’s still cooling) (**), which I mentioned to my mom and she was like, Why don’t you just make fresh peach pie?
Because, I explained, that feels like cheating—all fresh fruit pies are guaranteed winners. And I want to make a baked peach pie, a golden-crusted, burbling, lightly-spiced affair. Something to serve with vanilla ice cream and swoon, okay?
But then I made a fresh peach pie anyway, because I don’t think I’d ever really made one and I had two bushels of peaches spread out on tables in the downstairs bedroom. It was delicious, of course. Everyone said so. Repeatedly.
In fact, my family keeps talking about that pie. Probably because I keep shoving pieces of baked peach pie in their faces? Dutifully—diligently—they chew and swallow, and then, invariably, they say, “Whatever happened to that pie you made the other night? What was wrong with that one?”
So now I’ve inadvertently upped the stakes on myself: this baked peach pie has to be as good as, or better than, a fresh peach pie.
Way to go, Jennifer.
Fresh Peach Pie
Based on measurements my mother gave me via email.
This pie does not cut neatly—it’s more of a spoonable affair. This deters no one.
1 recipe no-shrink tart crust (9-inch), prebaked
5-6 cups peaches, peeled and chopped
¾ cup sugar
5 tablespoons thermflo, or cornstarch
¾ cup water
a couple drops of red food coloring
2-3 cups whipped cream
Measure the sugar and thermflo into a saucepan and whisk in the water. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thick and bubbly. (It will look horribly wrong, like a thick glue, but don’t worry. It’s all good.) Whisk in the red food coloring and remove from heat.
Add the chopped peaches, just a little at a time, making sure each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next. This will prevent you from ending up with chunks of sugar glue and lots of naked peaches.
Put the fruit into the pie shell and top with billows of whipped cream. Chill in the fridge until ready to eat.
*Oh dear, now no one will ever serve me a peach pie again! Not that many people have ever served me a peach pie—the peach pies I eat are mostly the ones I make myself, and I’m much harder on my own baking than I am on others. So please, go right ahead and make me a peach pie. I’ll be thrilled, promise. (See me awkwardly trying to dig myself out of my hole?)
This same time, years previous: tomato bread pudding with caramelized onions and sausage, the quotidian (8.11.14), best banana bread, goodbye, getting my halo on, there’s that, a bout of snarky, sweet pickles,
Your peach tart is my favorite baked way to eat peaches. I have no need for a pie when you can make a tart like that.
This is not what you are talking about but we just made a custard pie topped with a Peach/Blackberry sauce. It was also a good combo.
My husband's absolute FAVORITE is peach pie. I'm going to try this and let you know how it passes muster. He's very honest in his feedback.
ccr in MA
I made a peach pie years ago (probably from the BHG cookbook or something similar), and I didn't have quite enough peaches so I put in some blueberries. It was magical! For some reason, they combine really well together. It was probably about three-to-one peaches, so it still seemed like a really peach-y pie, but the blueberries made it even better.
I feel the same way about peach ice cream. It never tastes "peachy" enough! I realize this isn't peach pie, but Smitten Kitchen has a peach shortbread that is fantastic–so much better the next day even!! And, A Couple Cooks recently posted "The Best Peach Pie" that is her family's prize winning recipe. I'm thinking I'm going to try it! It's basically peaches baked into sweetened cream (aka butter)–how could it be anything but good?? And, last but not least, Southern Plate has a recipe for fried peach pies that she only uses rehydrated dried peaches for–maybe that's a secret? Research on and let us know!!
I like the looks of "The Best Peach Pie"—thanks for pointing it out! (I was actually considering a peaches-n-cream pie, similar to my rhubarb cream pie…)
4-14% of people think cilantro tastes like soap. Maybe you just don't have the gene for peach pie.
This may have more spice than what you are looking for but this is the best peach/plum pie I've ever had. I use part or all peaches in place of the plums. I leave out the rosemary and star anise and use cornstarch instead of tapioca. http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1014846-plum-chutney-crumb-pie
So, Jennifer, I don't understand your dilemma. If you really like fresh peach pie, then why don't you just make a lot of them and freeze them to bake when you want them? Or make them from frozen peaches that you freeze?
Once a peach has been frozen, it's no longer fresh! The taste is totally different.
Agreed. I make peach pies and freeze them, but they're not entirely the same.
And you know, my terminology may be confusing. By "fresh peach pie" I mean RAW peach pie. Nothing baked (except for the crust). There are lots of recipes for baked pies with fresh peaches—to me, that's a different thing, and what I'm trying to find a recipe for.
OK, now I understand. I do this and call it shortcake. My mother taught me to do this, and it works great. Make a crust recipe, forum into rounds about 6 inches in circumference, bake. Stack rounds, alternating with fresh fruit, then top with whipped cream. This was how she always served strawberry shortcake. It gives you the option to "make as you go" and also allows for individuals to make as they please.
Have you ever eaten the peach pie you say you want? Maybe it only exists in your imagination.
You make a good point! But SO many people—excellent cooks that I respect—RAVE about peach pie. It makes me feel left out. Also, I never really liked peach cobbler, but then I discovered the one (on this blog now, of course) with cornmeal biscuit topping and it changed everything. So I persist. Somewhere out there is a peach pie that will meet my expectations, I believe…I hope….
So will you be posting the fresh peach pie recipe you used? Asking for a friend…
Have you ever tried the whole wheat peach kuchen recipe in Simply in Season, page 152? Looks like it might be your aunt in the recipe credits? I prefer to use the shortbread recipe on page 319 of the same book for the crust (made with part whole wheat or spelt flour, 1.25-1.5 cups rather than the 1 cup in the recipe). I like the yogurt custard with the peaches, and I think it's great warm or cold. I make it in an 8×8 pan; as I recall, it usually overflows my shallow pie plates. Probably a deep dish pie pan would work well.
Yes, that's my aunt's recipe. My notes for it say: Good for breakfast. So yes, I liked it, but it's not the straight-up peach pie I'm dreaming of….
I can't help you with peach pie recipes but do you make your own cottage cheese? It's so simple and my new obsession and delicious with sliced peaches on top!
Hmmm, I only knew "baked" peach pies and am unfamiliar with "fresh"
My mom, who was a fabulous cook and baker, always tossed fresh peach slices with sugar, cinnamon, and a little cornstarch and placed that into a homemade (partially) baked crust, and placed a crust lattice atop it. I've never had a pie as good!
I prefer making a glaze with 2 cups of peaches then fold the rest of them in. And for Pete's sake, make your own crust!!! Also, soften 6oz. of cream cheese and beat in 1/4 cup powdered sugar…and spread over bottom of the crust.
A similar process to my fresh strawberry pie recipe—thanks for the reminder!
I prefer fresh peaches and apricot pie. It seems like apricots are better cooked than peaches are. However, Smitten Kitchen has a nice peach hand pie recipe that has bourbon in it and sometimes I use brown sugar instead of white sugar and that's good. The Joy of Cooking also has a single crust peach pie with a little custard filling that's good, too. And I like peach blueberry or peach blackberry pie with oatmeal struesel topping. So now that I think about it, I guess I do like peach pie…
These are some great suggestions. Researching Deb's recipes now…