I figured I had better get to baking if I wanted to get a peach pie in before the fruit went out of season! And considering it’s been unseasonably warm here the past few days I guess I still have a craving for summer fruit left in me! Fortunately it cooled down just enough today for me to muster the will to turn the oven on. I shall commence with all the apple and pumpkin, etc, etc. soon enough. There is plenty of fall ahead. Besides, Troy has been asking for this pie that last month or so and somehow it keeps getting put on the back burner.
I read a lot of recipes to get to the recipe I used for this pie. I have made a peach pie before but it’s been awhile and I thought it might be a good opportunity to explore some undiscovered country for me: cream cheese pie crust. I was quite happy with this crust and it will undoubtedly be a repeat visitor in my kitchen. Besides the taste and flakiness of it, I think it was actually a bit easier to put together and handle than a traditional butter and shortening crust. This filling was very yummy: full of plump, juicy fruit just bursting with flavor and cooked to the right consistency so the peaches retained their shape and had some bite but were pleasantly yielding. Use ripe but firm fruit to achieve this. The filling is “streusel-like” with brown-sugar, flour, butter and a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg (but not so much so that it overwhelmed the fruit). I will admit that my filling was a bit loose the first day (although I’m sure by tomorrow it will have firmed up quite a bit). I think I have remedied that problem in the revised recipe included below. I used a modest amount of flour and touch of cornstarch initially but I have increased these to an amount that should be quite sufficient for a more congealed filling.
I learn something new every time I get in the kitchen and today was no different. I learned that to get a “perfect” scalloped edge on a pie crust you must allow about a half-inch of overhanging crust around the entire circumference of the pie. This allow you to fold it back onto itself, concealing the edges of the attached top crust, or in this case, lattice strips. I don’t know why I never realized this- it really seems like common sense now… Also, it is much easier to handle the lattice strips if you stick them in the freezer on a piece of parchment for a few minutes before weaving them. This firms them up so they can be handle without falling apart and melting the butter inside. But you also need to be able to get them off the cutting board you put them on-top of. I didn’t put parchment down and ended up marring the fancy scalloped edges I cut with my pastry wheel. Lol. Another “duh” moment. So I am sharing it with you so you can fair better than I (and so I can re-read this post in the future and remind myself of these little things that make a big difference). Your pie will turn out more beautiful that mine did this time. But I think it’s got a certain rustic appeal to it anyhow.
Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust*
(Adapted from “Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust” on epicurious.com)
Enough for one 9-inch lattice pie, one 9-inch deep-dish pie or 10-inch shell for a tart: THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT TO USE FOR THE PEACH PIE
- 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cold
- Scant ¾ cup cake flour
- Scant ¾ cup unbleached, all-purpose flour (OR use 1 ½ scant cups pastry flour in place of both cake and all-purpose- you are essentially making pastry flour here)
- 1/8 tsp. fine kosher or sea salt (double amount for savory recipes)
- 1/8 tsp. baking powder
- 3-ounces full-fat cream cheese, cold
- 1 ½ tbsp. ice water
- 1 ½ tsp. apple cider vinegar
Enough for two 9-inch crust pies: INCLUDED AS A REFERENCE IF YOU WANT TO USE THIS WITH OTHER RECIPES
- 12 tbsp. unsalted butter, cold
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 cup un-bleached, all-purpose flour (or use 2 cups pastry flour inplace of both flours)
- ¼ tsp. fine kosher or sea salt
- ¼ tsp. baking powder
- 4 ½ ounces full-fat cream cheese, cold
- 2 tbsp. ice water
- 1 tbsp. cider vinegar (I know it sounds weird but it acts as an acid and restricts the length of gluten formed in the crust= flakier and more tender)
*FOR SINGLE PIE CRUST: MAKE THE DOUBLE RECIPE AND FREEZE THE SECOND HALF FOR A LATER TIME*
- Cut butter into small cubes, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until frozen solid (at least 30 minutes)
- Place the flour, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade attachment and pulse a few times to combine
- Cut the cream cheese into 4 pieces and add to the flour
- Process for about 20 seconds or until the mixture resembles coarse meal
- Add the frozen butter and pulse 5-6 times
- Drizzle the ice water and vinegar into the bowl and pulse until the mixture is incorporated and the butter is reduced to the size of small peas (the mixture will NOT hold together at this point)
- Spoon or dump it carefully into a resalable plastic bag (or evenly into two bags for a double crust)
- Knead the mixture with your fingers and flatten with the heel of your hand until it hold together in one piece and feels slightly stretchy when pulled
- Form into a disk and store in plastic wrap in refrigerator for at least 45 minutes, preferably overnight. You can freeze this too, just thaw in the fridge before using
- If making a lattice crust: divide the dough into two pieces where one piece is 2/3 of the dough and the other is 1/3 (about 9.5 ounces for the shell and the rest for the lattice). Flatten the larger piece into a disc and the smaller piece into a rectangle.
- When ready to use the pie, remove and roll out one piece at a time. Place dough on a floured board and roll out with a floured pin, rotating the dough 45 degrees every few rolls to form a circle.
- Deciding how big to roll your crust: You need the dough to fit along the bottom, up the sides and hang off the edges of your pan by at least ½ inch. Pie Crust Size = diameter of bottom of pie pan + height X2 + 1 ½-2 inches (for overhang). Example: For a 9″ x 1 1/2″ pie pan that has a 7″ bottom diameter, add 7″ (diameter) + 1 1/2″ + 1 1/2″ (two times the height) + 2″ to yield 12″. This is a pretty safe measurement for most normal depth pie dishes.
- Transfer your crust to ungreased pie dish by rolling it gently onto your pin and rolling it out over and into the pan. Press along the bottom and fit into corners gently with your hands.
- Place in the refrigerator while you prepare the second crust or lattice strips.
- For a double crust, roll out the second piece in the same way except you won’t need it to be quite at large. Take about 2” off.
- For lattice strips: roll your rectangular piece of dough on a floured piece of parchment using a floured pin, alternating directions to form a larger rectangle.
- Using a sharp knife, pizza cutter or pastry wheel, trim the uneven edges off of your rectangle and proceed to cut your strips. Use a ruler as a guide if desired. Strips should be at least ½ inch wide for ease of handling. For a 9” pie a good number of strips to cut is 10.
- Transfer your lattice strips on the parchment covered cutting board to the fridge or freezer to firm up for a few minutes for ease of handling.
- Fill your shell as directions require
- Place second crust on top and fold over the excess bottom crust to conceal the seam and pleat with back of a fork.
- If making a lattice crust, weave the strips in the following manner: place 5 strips across the pie-top parallel to one another, leaving about ½ inch between them. Place one long strip in the center, perpendicular to the other pieces. Fold back every other perpendicular piece, over the center strip. Place another strip parallel to the center strip. Fold the halved strips back and repeat with the opposite strips. So on and so forth until your top is woven. Nice step-by-step visual on simplyrecipes.com.
- Brush lightly with egg wash if desired and bake as directions require.
- One lattice-crust recipe for “flaky cream cheese pie crust”
- 8 ripe but firm fresh peaches, pitted, peeled and sliced into 16ths (or thinner if you prefer)
- Juice from half a lemon
- 2/3 cup un-bleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- ½ cup granulated sugar (superfine if you have it)
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg (optional)
- ¼ cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 egg + ½ tsp. water, beaten
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
- Prepare the peaches and place in a medium bowl, drizzle with lemon juice (taking care not to get any seeds in the bowl), and toss to coat (this will prevent them from oxidizing and changing into a nasty color).
- Mix the flour, cornstarch, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl
- Fit pie crust into a 9-inch ungreased pie pan
- Gently toss the peaches with the flour mixture
- Dump the peach mixture into the pie pan. Arrange nicely if desired
- Scatter the cubed butter over the top of the filling along with any flour mixture remaining in the bottom of the mixing bowl (where you had the peaches)
- Top with the lattice strips of pie crust as described in “flaky cream cheese pie crust”
- Brush the egg wash lightly onto the pie crust top and edges with a pastry brush
- Place on a sheet pan (with walls) and bake for 10 minutes (sheet pan will catch any bubble-over which often happens with fruit pies). Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and cook for another 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is cooked through. Check the filling by inserting a toothpick into a peach- should be soft. Cover crust loosely with foil or a pie shield part-way through cooking if the crust is browning too quickly.
- Allow pie to cool in oven or on the counter for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the filling to set. May be a bit loose until it has fully cooled to room temperature. If your peaches were extra ripe it may need refrigerating to fully set the filling. Or just enjoy it a bit “juicy” served with some ice cream!
- Slice, serve and enjoy 🙂
*Do save yourself a copy of the printable pie crust recipe. I love this one! It was so flaky and I’ve included directions for a double crust pie as well. The original recipe called for pastry flour which I read you can make yourself at home by combining equal amounts of unbleached, all-purpose flour and cake flour, who knew? I included those measurements in the recipe but if you have pastry flour on hand already go for it! I used my “pastry flour” in the filling but I would recommend using good old all-purpose instead because I think it would help the filling to firm up better.