Peaches and dreams. That about sums up my experience making this pie. What was intended to be a simple summer pie ended up being a catalyst for summoning some of the best summer memories. As I was preparing my peaches, my mind wandered to the summer I spent working at a local road side fruit stand.
Pa’s Produce was located under a big tent across from a busy gas station at the edge of my small town. I spent that summer learning how to pick the ripest honeydew, stacking watermelons, and unloading boxes upon boxes of sweet corn. When it was time for southern peaches, the owner would hop in her big white pick-up truck and drive through the night to Georgia to pick up cases of peaches. We’d report to the tent and help her unload while word spread that the peaches had arrived. This was the height of the summer – those peaches were amazing. I’d stand at the table, opening the white cases branded with a big Georgia peach, taking each one out by hand so as not to cause any bruising. The smell was intoxicating and the taste was unlike any peach I have had since.
This pie is summer in a crust. That’s all I was after – simple, no fuss and very few ingredients. I scoured different recipes and surmised that they are all basically the same. Peaches, sugar, lemon, cinnamon and nutmeg in varying combinations. The recipe that I liked the most was this one from Smitten Kitchen. Mine is pretty much the same with the addition of vanilla bean and my own crust. But in my world, it’s the vanilla bean that makes this extra good!
- 2 recipes of Best of Both Worlds Pie Crust
- 7-8 medium peaches/6 cups (firm but ripe enough to have a little give)
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (I usually just squeeze half of a lemon)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 vanilla beans
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- dash of nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
Preheat oven to 425
Prepare dough and refrigerate for at least an hour (see directions on link above). Roll one disk of dough and place into a deep dish pie plate, tucking the edges under but not crimping them. Roll the other disk of dough and cut 1-inch strips that will form lattice crust.Place both in refrigerator while you prepare filling.
Peel peaches and slice about 1/3 inch thick (you can also cube some to help the peaches lay compactly), place in a large bowl. Toss with 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Spit vanilla beans and scrape bean onto the peaches. Toss to coat evenly.
In a small bowl, blend sugars, spices, salt and cornstarch then toss with peach mixture evenly. Turn mixture into chilled pie shell and form your lattice crust. You can look HERE for an overview of how to do it. It’s not as hard as it seems – promise! Tuck edges under the bottom crust to they don’t shrink away while baking.
Bush crust lightly with milk and sprinkle turbinado sugar or regular sugar if that’s all you have. Bake on the middle rack of the oven at 425 for 20 minutes. Turn oven down to 375 and bake for another 30 minutes or until juices bubble. Let cool as long as you can before serving. Four hours is probably the absolute minimum. This is juicy pie and it needs time to set. Enjoy!