Peachy: KEEN!

At the risk of sounding like one of those old goats who talks about walking 5 miles to school through 10-foot snowdrifts, I have to say: peaches just aren’t what they used to be.

My mom lives in Florida. I ask her if she can get good peaches down there. I figure, heck, she’s right next to Georgia; maybe the Peach State shares nicely with its neighbor to the south.

Mom says no, they can get peaches year-round. But they’re rock-hard and bland, until suddenly they turn mealy and soft and bland. No good peaches in Florida.

My brother lives in Georgia. I say to him, “So, Mike, you must have some really good peaches there, huh?”

“No, not really. I think they take ’em someplace else because they can get a better price for ’em out of state,” says Mike. No good peaches in Georgia.

Assuming that at this time of year the really good East Coast peaches are coming from Georgia—where do they go?

When I was growing up, we lived for the few short weeks of the year when we could buy our local Hale peaches at the farmstand. These giant peaches, big as a navel orange, sported light-gold, incredibly juicy flesh inside their rosy pink skin. In my small hands, a Hale peach felt heavy as a bowling ball. It was impossible to eat without juice running through my fingers, down my arms, dripping on the ground… which is why we had to eat them outside, sitting on the grass. Then run through the sprinkler afterwards.

Now, though, a good peach is increasingly hard to find. So let’s get back to those Georgia peaches. Where DO they go?

Surprisingly—up here to New Hampshire. Our local supermarket was carrying Georgia peaches last week, on sale for $1.99/pound. And didn’t I snatch them up! They were nearly ripe when I bought them; a couple of days in a bowl on the table, and oh, my… Perfect peach flavor. Juicy. Ideal soft texture, with just that hint of firm bite. Quick, find the peach pie recipe!

The following pie features one large crust that forms a satchel for the juicy filling. I figured, why roll out two crusts when I can roll out just one? Plus, the single, seamless crust keeps the filling contained; no messy boil-overs. And it’s attractive, too, in a rustic sort of way.

So if you have access to good peaches this summer—from California, Georgia, or your own backyard—try our Summertime Peach Pie.

img_3989.JPG
Let’s start with my favorite piecrust ingredients: flour, salt, and butter. There are those who swear by lard; and shortening will give you a nominally flakier crust; but I love the rich taste of butter.

img_3992.JPG
Work the butter into the flour. You can use your fingers, a pastry fork, a pastry blender… I’m lazy, so I just use my stand mixer. You want some of the butter to remain in pea-sized or even larger lumps; that’s what helps give piecrust its flaky texture.

img_3993.JPG
Add 1 beaten egg. The protein in the egg will help hold the crust together, making it easier to roll out and move around. Once the egg is incorporated, drizzle in 1 tablespoon or so milk, just enough for the dough to hold together without feeling crumbly or dry.

img_3996.JPG
It should look like this—malleable. No dry spots; but not sticky, either.

img_4066.JPG
Gather the dough into a disk, and roll its edges along a floured surface, like you were rolling a wheel. This smoothes the edges, meaning you’re less likely to get those big old raggedy cracks around the perimeter of your crust as you roll.

img_4067.JPG
Have you ever seen a hockey puck? This dough looks like an oversized hockey puck.

img_4024.JPG
Next come the peaches. Is there any fruit as gorgeous as a perfectly ripe peach?

img_4026.JPG
We want to slip their skins off without taking a lot of flesh. So, into a pot of simmering water they go, for 30 seconds.

img_4031.JPG
From the simmering water, they go into a bowl of ice water; this keeps them from cooking and softening. Grab a peach, make a little nick in the skin, and peel it off; it’ll come off easily.

img_4070.JPG
Now HERE’S how to peel peaches without losing a single bit of the flesh.
img_4071.JPG
Slice the peaches into a large bowl. Then combine them with the thickener, sugar, and remaining ingredients.

img_4043.JPG
Now we’re going on a side trip. Call it a test kitchen adventure. I thought, how about making a freeform peach pie? Just take that crust and fold it right up over the filling. The whole thing should settle into a nice round as it bakes.

img_4044.JPG
Here it is, ready for a sprinkle of coarse sugar before going into the oven.

img_4049.JPG
In the oven, looking good…

img_4051.JPG
Awwww…… Disaster. The whole thing flattened into a puddle and sprung enough leaks to sink the Netherlands. Thank goodness for the parchment lining the baking sheet. This is exactly why parchment is my best friend in the kitchen.

img_4075.JPG
OK, take two. I make another crust, and roll it wide enough to settle it into a 9” pie pan, and bring it up to cover much of the filling. Why not just roll two crusts? Because 1) This is faster and easier than rolling two crusts, and 2) the filling is enclosed in a packet of dough; no leaking and boiling over the edges.

img_4076.JPG
This is a BIG round of dough. So fold it in half…

img_4078.JPG
…then in half again, and place the square edge of the dough in the center of the pie pan.

img_4080.JPG
Unfold it; you’ll have a huge dough overhang. That’s OK.

img_4081.JPG
Spoon the filling into the crust.

img_4082.JPG
Drape the crust over the filling, and brush with milk, then sprinkle with coarse white sugar, for sparkle and flavor. That’s another of my best friends in the kitchen: coarse white sugar, lender of sparkle to everything from muffins and pie to scones and cookies.

img_4090.JPG
Now, that’s more like it. The pie pan holds the crust in place.

img_4096.JPG
Ta-da! Peach pie in a single crust. I found that it’s best to wait at least overnight, preferably 24 hours, before slicing this; it takes a LONG time for the filling to completely set. To serve warm, simply reheat individual slices briefly, in the microwave. Ice cream is always welcome.

Read our complete recipe for Summertime Peach Pie.

Buy vs. Bake
I couldn’t find fresh peach pie at the supermarket bakeshop, so I chose their apple pie, which is sort of equivalent, although peaches are more expensive than apples. Even so, the homemade peach pie is less expensive, ounce per ounce, than the supermarket apple pie.

Buy: Supermarket bakery apple pie, 20¢/ounce.

Bake at home: Fresh peach pie, 13¢/ounce.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Trish

    Oh My Gosh…That looks wonderful! If I can ever get my hands on some good peaches – I’ve got to try it. I bet even the “mistake” tasted wonderful!

    Trish

    Trish, I have to confess we all took turns with a spoon scraping up all that leaked filling, and then one of the gals scraped the “pie” off the parchment and took it home with her! PJH

    Reply
  2. Beth

    Funny – I was just thinking about apple pies, but actually here in Virginia we ought to start getting some very nice early peaches (I think they’re called Redhaven) within a couple of weeks – if the storms didn’t blow all the peaches into Maryland! And my husband reminisces every year about his favorite white peach, the Georgia Belles, which are impossible to find anymore. You’re lucky to have peaches up there. I have yet to see a single peach here in the stores.

    A couple more months till it’s time for my favorite apple pie made with Ginger Golds… PJ

    Reply
  3. Claire

    Not to start a war or anything, but South Carolina actually produces more peaches than Georgia, and our peaches are supposedly higher in sugar level. It’s true, though, that you can’t buy them (or Georgia peaches either) in the supermarket. They’re all California here, and solid as rocks. They usually go rancid before they ripen. But local peaches are easy enough to find at produce stands and farmer’s markets. I just had one last week, and it was oh, so good.

    I’m going to try making this pie this afternoon, after a quick trip to my own farmer’s market. Thanks!

    Claire, I’m sure I’d enjoy South Carolina peaches if I could buy them – I confess I’ve never heard the term “South Carolina peach,” and have never seen them for sale. Looks like your state agricultural department marketers have some work to do to catch up to Georgia! – PJH

    Reply
  4. Lorraine

    I’m wondering ….. since peaches and nectarines are currently around in our super market, would nectarines do as well? I have yet to get a peach that is tasty and juicy. But, the nectarines that I bought this past week were so juicy (dripping through the fingers and the corners of my mouth), that I thought your recipe would fit. Would there be any changes in the ingredients, though?

    I always enjoy everyone’s thoughts on those recipes you feature in the blog. Meijer’s where I shop carries KA’s basic flours when I can get them. Seems to be more in demand than the other flour producers as the shelves empty out, mostly during the holidays. I wish they could stock more of your products.

    Thanks – LM

    Hi LM – Nectarines would also be a perfect fit in this recipe with no other changes needed. Enjoy! Jessica @ the bakers hotline.

    Reply
  5. Becka

    I, too, live in South Carolina where we have an abundance of peaches in the summer. I saw the first of them this week at a farm stand that I pass each morning on my way to work. A town near here has a large water tower shaped and painted like a peach that is quite famous. It is located along I-85 and is quite a local attraction. Just google “peachoid” if you want to see pictures. Your pie looks lovely and has inspired me to try making a free form pie. I love reading the blog and have tried many of the recipes. I still want to try the baked bean cake and the Scali bread. There’s always something new to bake. Thanks for your inspiring work!

    Reply
  6. Jeanette

    My sister lives in Georgia. One year when she was making a trip up to Indiana to visit, I asked her to bring enough peaches for a couple of pies. She went to a farmer’s market and there were multiple varieties of local peaches. She didn’t know which to buy so she asked the lady working there and she chose some that she said would travel well and be perfect when she arrived. They were beautiful but slightly small, packed with flavor. I wish I knew what kind they were. So I guess you have to go to local farmers’ markets to get them. When I was a kid my mother would get RedHavens from Michigan that made great pies. So far the peaches in the store here have all been the hard as rocks peaches from California. Picked too green to ever be any good. I’ll keep looking though because peach pies are one of my favorites.

    I’m going to have to try this one-crust pie. A lot faster than making a lattice crust for the top. I’m curious about what the filling is like using the Signature Secrets or the Piefilling Enhancer. I always use tapioca for peach pies because it is more delicate & gives a more translucent filling than flour.

    Reply
  7. Karen

    In September, 1969, in the Los Angeles area, my husband’s secretary brought us the most delicious peach pie I have ever tasted. She had an “Indian Peach” tree. The flesh of the peach was a beautiful, rosy red, and it was so flavorful and sweet, just a perfect peach. I never forgot that pie and have looked for those peaches since then. We have lived in Idaho and got wonderful Utah peaches and Washington State, and have eaten peaches from the Yakima area, but I have yet to find “Indian Peaches.” Have any of you heard about them, or a similar peach?

    Reply
  8. Jackie

    Attention Mid-Atlantic shoppers! There is a fellow named Bill Harris in Lothian, Md., who grows delicious peaches–he wins the state fair every year. Nicest man in the world, too. So if you happen by Harris Orchard on Lower Pindell Rd. in southern Anne Arundel County, buy yourself a peck or so. (I am very lucky–he comes to a farmer’s market not even a mile from my house. My only problem is walking home with all those peaches.) I cannot wait to try that pie, PJ.

    Reply
  9. Dee Lynch

    I Love Fresh ripe peaches, so even in Central NY (Near Syracuse) I have 2 trees and grow my own. They are the variety Reliance. They ripen late July. I’m just doing the”Killing baby peaches again” says Husband Tom! Thinning them to about 4″ apart so 1, peaches get big enough and 2, they don’t break down the branches.
    I will definitely try the “over large pie crust” in a pan. Look easy and might save some cleanup.

    Reply
  10. Judy Kennard

    We have some VERY TASTY peaches in Texas that are grown around Fredericksburg. They’re small and juicy and SWEET. Even though it’s a five hour drive from Houston, we go every June to get peaches. I made a “peach pocket” like this one before I saw this and it was excellent. I saw a technique where you lay Saran-wrap on your counter and put the dough disk on top. Then, you put more Saran-wrap on top and roll the dough out between the pieces of cellophane wrap. No mess, no additional flour, no sticking to the counter, no sticking to the rolling pin, easy to pick up and put in the pie plate–a true winner!

    Hi Judy,

    Susan actually uses a ziploc bag with the sides slit open to roll her crusts. Just cut the side seams, open the bag like a book, put the dough on, and ‘close’ the top layer of plastic over the crust and roll away!

    Happy Baking!
    MaryJane @ The Baker’s Hotline

    Reply
  11. Jill Rhodes

    I have made that freeform crust pie with berries and combinations of fruits and always got a mess…why did I never consider placing it in a pie plate to bake? Also, yesterday I used your pie filling enhancer for the first time. Now I’m ordering a large quantity as it made all the difference in the world! That made the best Blueberry pie (recipe in the current catalog) I’ve ever made. Now if I could just find peaches!!! I’ll keep looking, but it’s actually been years since we’ve had really good ones here in southern Indiana!!

    Reply
  12. D.

    What a pretty picture of the free form peach pie! Looking at it left my mouth watering, so early this morning I visited the Farmer’s Market in town and looked for any brand of good looking and sweet peaches. Bought enough for 2 pies and am now in the process of baking, following the recipe given.
    Wish me luck.

    Thank you

    Reply
  13. lynne

    I read some comments about not being able to find good peaches–well if you can either get to Pennsylvania or find access to a place that sells peaches from Chambersburg you will have GOOD peaches. I think they’re even better than Georgia peaches. Thet say its the soil. A lot of limestone there I guess is what they give credit to. Anyhow –how’s that for a plug for Chambersburg, PA. !!!

    Reply
  14. William Lundy

    Believe it or else, peaches are a large crop in Canada! Yes, up here in the land of eternal ice and snow — or not! I noted Dee’s post above from Syracuse, which is more or less on the same latitude as the Niagara Peninsula, that strip of Canada lying between lakes Erie and Ontario, west of the Niagara River. This area still has hundreds of acres of tender fruit, although urban sprawl and demands of estate wineries are pressuring peach, cherry, and other tender fruit crops. Those who drive from Buffalo or Niagara Falls to Toronto along the Queen Elizabeth Way pass right through this remarkably fertile land with its unique microclimate. From about the 2nd week of August until just after Labor Day, fresh peaches from here can be had at farmer’s markets and roadside stands not only in the region but in places over 300 km away. In our little burgh, Belleville (north shore Lake Ontario), we have each market day a guy who drives a 5-ton truckload our way — and he sells the whole lot as a rule. So, for anyone in southern Ontario this summer during peach season, try our Redhavens and other varieties out: just a soupcon of vanilla sugar, to enhance the flavor, is all they need. Bon appetit!

    Boy, William- sure wish I was going to be out that way in August… Too bad gas prices have put so many places “off limits” for so many of us and turned us into armchair travelers! – PJH

    Reply
  15. Alvara

    I also vote for South Carolina peaches! We lived in Little River from 1990 to 1999 and bought peaches every year from a produce stand in Longs on Rt 9. They were the best peaches I ever had. Now I’m in NY and the chain store peaches are hard as rocks. I’ll have to check out the farmer’s markets because that peach pie of PJ’s looks delicious.
    I read the blog just about every day. Love it. Thanks

    Reply
  16. Melissa

    This pie looks spectacular. I am one who bemoans supermarket peaches and the inability to find a decent peach that doesn’t taste like cardboard. I wonder why the growers who ship to said supermarkets decided to grow peaches devoid of any fuzz? Peaches just aren’t peaches without their soft, fuzzy coating.

    I, too, remember eating ripe, sweet peaches with the juices running down my chin and along my forearms. The only thing that could beat a fresh peach was my mom’s peach cobbler which she basically made like a deep-dish square pie: thick bottom crust made from pie dough, filled with peaches and topped with a sugar-coated slab of pie crust. What a treasured gastronomic memory!

    Mary Jane, I also roll my pie crusts with a ziptop bag the way you described. There’s a lot less mess that way.

    Reply
  17. Sue E. Conrad

    Oh, yum!!! I’ll be making a peach pie come July for a friend of mine whose favorite it is. As for where to get peaches, we lived in Vernon, CT in the 70′s. The next town was Ellington where there was a U-pick peach orchard (in addition to apples and strawberries). So far I’ve never tasted better peaches. Made lots of freezer jam as well as peach snow (dessert made in a blender), pies, etc.!!! Regarding piecrust, I’ll admit I belong to the “made with shortening” crowd. Have tried making crust with butter with little success; may have to try again!

    Thanks, P.J., for yet another great blog………and we’ll be making our annual pilgrimage to King Arthur this summer on our way to Fryeburg!!

    Sue, I grew up in Glastonbury, CT in the ’60s – I wonder if your peaches in Ellington were Hale peaches, too? Hey, stop by and say Hi this summer on the way to Fryeburg. Now, talk about pie – I’ve had some GOOD pie at the Fryeburg Fair, that’s for sure! -PJH

    Reply
  18. rita luddon

    i live in st louis and am within an hour (more if we have to wait long for the ferry across the illinois river) from calhoun county, illinois. they have the best peaches on the planet. i get mine at odelehr’s in brussels, illinois. i can hardly wait for this year’s crop. i buy a lot of them and freeze them and bring them out for pies and cobblers during our winters. i am going to try this summertime pie with my first batch this season.

    Reply
  19. Kristin Albrecht

    I travel all over the country for work, and always keep my eye open for the local fruit or veggie specialty. And peaches is one of my favorite things to find. I have found excellent peaches in southern Illinois, Colorado, and Maryland, but never in a grocery store. On several occasions I made room in my carryon for a full bushel of fresh peaches straight from the orchard. Living in central Wisconsin, we don’t get good peaches from any source, so I planted my own. There are 2 varieties that will grow through zone 4–Contender and Reliance (as mentioned by Dee in Saratoga). I’ve had them for 2 years and they already are producing fruit albeit only a couple. I dream of needing to “kill baby peaches”. They are supposed to produce several weeks apart extending the fresh fruit enjoyment.

    This recipe is great. If you are looking for a little pie variety, you can use almost the same recipe, but add 2 eggs and half a cup of milk or cream, reduce the peaches so it fits in the crust and put a crumble top on it. Delicious. It also works with rhubarb.

    Reply
  20. Kathy

    PJ, after you sliced the peaches, did they turn brown, or did they not spend enough time in the open air to turn brown? I have some sliced peaches down in our freezer from last year from our tree, but unfortunately I didn’t put anything in with them to preserve the color. As they defrost, they turn brown and look very unappetizing. Any suggestions? Thanks. I can’t wait to try your pie recipe (with nice fresh peaches!). It looks wonderful.

    Kathy, all I can think of to make with brown peaches would be peach bread – like banana bread – since it kind of turns brown anyway. Or peach muffins, with brown sugar… The peaches didn’t sit around long enough to turn brown when I made the pie. I peeled them, sliced, and pretty much immediately mixed with the sugar and other stuff. They sat around maybe 10 minutes or so… – PJH

    Reply
  21. Kathy

    PJ, I just read your comment about growing up in Glastonbury. I live in Colchester now; grew up in Terryville! Glastonbury still has plenty of farm stands.

    Reply
  22. Elizabeth

    One more vote for the South Carolina Peach! I am from North Carolina and I go South Carolina every year and buy a bushel of peaches. I make pies, and I also freeze some for pies and cobblers in the winter. Yum!! Now just add some good North Carolina BBQ and you have heaven on a plate!!

    Reply
  23. KT

    I live in Cincinnati and just brought home some medium sized California peaches from our supermarket. My daughter declared them absolutely perfect. I am from NY but grew up in southern California. I worked at a surf shop in Huntington Beach and would pack a humungous peach for lunch that I would consume with a half pint of half and half, right out of the carton. WOW…are your arteries screaming yet? It was simply the best. We get peaches here from Indiana at our local apple farm. With late frosts, it can be a little dicey, but I’m trying to buy relatively locally grown produce. There is nothing like fresh local stuff without wax on it, reducing your carbon foot print and supporting your local CSA’s and small farms.

    Reply
  24. Sue E. Conrad

    Hi, P.J.!

    Hm-m-m, have no idea what variety of peaches the place in Ellington grew, but do remember that their season was extended because of at least four or five different varieties. We’ll be visiting relatives in Essex, CT in July; could be we’ll try swinging by Ellington just to check things out!!! And, yes, I’ll be sure to say hi when we visit King Arthur this summer!!!!

    Reply
  25. sharon schweps

    If I had a fresh peach as good as any of the ones you are describing, I certainly wouldn’t drown it in sugar, fat, flavourings and flour and then cook it – I would eat it. And if it was as good as you say, I would then eat another one. delish.

    Seriously, pies are great, but why should one make such a fuss about degrees of excellence in a fruit which is about to be transformed so fundamentally into ‘something else’? I’m sure any of these peaches would do. Probably some considerably less perfect ones would too.

    Reply
  26. deb

    I am lucky and can get great peaches at a farmstand about a mile from my house here in NY starting in mid-July and lasting until about the end of August. I will definitely try this recipe, it looks so good. I have a couple of peach cobbler recipes that I make often during peach season too. One has a biscuit type topping, the other more cakelike.
    I grew up in VT and my brothers still have farms there. When I go up in the summer I take peaches to them and they are all crazy about them.

    Reply
  27. Linda

    I love the peaches I grew up with – we had a tree in front of our suburban home in Clifton, NJ that produced prodigious quanties of juicy, perfectly textured peaches. We canned and froze what we couldn’t eat. I don’t remember pies. I remember peach juice running down my arms and dripping from my elbows as I helped my mother with all the peeling and slicing. They were ‘free stone’ peaches so the prep was easy. I have given up on ever eating a peach like that again and have not bought peaches in years. However, I think I will look around now and try to find some of the varieties that are mentioned above. I love pie – it’s my favorite dessert – I think I have to try this one.

    I know the peachoid tower on Rt. 85 – we pass it when we visit my sister in Georgia. In our family it’s the ‘butt’ of many jokes. Thanks for the website. I enjoyed reading about it.

    Reply
  28. NancyG

    Here in Ohio, on the south shore of Lake Erie, there is an orchard that grows white peaches. To me, they are a bit insipid in taste, but I guess they are prized. Our farm stands have great peaches that are locally grown, & I get my bulk amounts for canning from an auction in Amish country 15 miles south.
    Those are grown in PA- varieties that are like PJ’s: Red Haven& Hale Haven are our favorites. Just be sure they are freestone varieties. As a novice & cheapskate, I bought a 40# box of peaches at a ridiculously-low price w/out asking if they were freestone. They looked like I shredded them w/ a lawn mower….Now, I wait to see what & when the Amish ladies are buying….

    Reply
  29. Nina

    I live in northern California where excellent peaches grow in the valley,
    the foothills, and even in the mountain areas. I prefer the Hale, Elberta.
    and Faye Elberta peaches overall. Fortunately I live near a major fruit-producing area, so I can buy peaches fresh off the tree. I also shop the farmers’ markets to get the premium peaches available seasonally.

    I’m curious about the cooking time listed on the Summertime Peach Pie.
    I can’t believe that the pie should cook for 2 hours total! What variety of peaches were used to test this recipe? If I cooked any pie for that long, the peaches would be nothing but mush! To say nothing of what the crust would be like….

    Nina, I often bake fruit pies for 2 hours. The peaches stay toothsome (not sure what kind they were – they were from Georgia, and weren’t particularly hard to begin with); and the crust, being topped with foil for most of the time, browns slowly. The bottom crust, since it’s insulated by the filling, doesn’t burn, but instead browns very nicely. And the filling of my apple pies gets a very slightly caramelized flavor from the long cooking… Honestly, I swear by this long cooking time. Give it a try! Just be sure to follow the directions and cover with foil for part of the time. – PJH

    Reply
  30. annmartina

    My juices always leak out of a freeform tart. Putting it in a pie pan gave me one of those Doh! moments. Why didn’t I think of that!

    I have those moments myself, annmartina – often!! – PJH

    Reply
  31. Julie Cole

    To Sharon – absolutely, enjoy any fresh peach you can find all by itself. BUT – the quality of the fruit makes a huge difference in both the flavor and consistency of the pie. I lived several years in upstate South Carolina and would give them my vote (I have seen the “peachoid” many times), but here in southern IL, just outside St. Louis, we buy at our local Eckerts farm. Weather permitting, they never let us down for strawberries, peaches or apples. I only wish they would grow blueberries!

    Reply
  32. Steven

    Sharon,

    Because it’s possible to have both — a peach out of hand AND a peach pie. It’s not either/or; I’d never deny myself the pleasure of a peach pie — that “something else” one does in transforming peach to pie is truly something else. Indeed, I think that peaches (my favorite fruit) become even more luscious cooked in pies and cobblers, where their essence is distilled. I have made pies out of lesser peaches, as you suggest, and they don’t “do.” A delicious peach makes a delicious pie, a mediocre peach makes a mediocre pie. This holds true for any ingredient that is so prominent in a finished baked good.

    Thank you, Steven – very well said! – PJH

    Reply
  33. Erik McCarty

    Oh my, that looks good! I need a piece of parchment to keep the drool off the desk…

    I have a couple of questions. Here in the NW, we do have some good peaches from time to time, but we also have wonderful pears, apples and berries (Marionberries are the best). Would each of these fruits work in this recipe, and if so, would any modifications be necessary?

    Finally, and I know some folks will cringe at this suggestion, but off season, would canned peaches work? If so, what modifications would be required?

    Hi, Erik – tricky questions, unfortunately. The main modifications would be sugar (which you could do to taste, so not much or an issue); and thickener. The amount of thickener would have to change for canned peaches, for frozen peaches, for berries, for apples… all I can say is, give it your best guess based on how juicy each fruit is. Frozen peaches are actually juicier than canned (drained). Berries are juicier than apples. Sorry I can’t be any more specific than that. At least your experiments will be tasty! Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  34. saima

    Can I use frozen peaches? also can apples be substituted for peaches?
    Thanks.

    Saima, yes – you’ll just have to guess at the amount of thickener. I’d use less for apples, more for frozen peaches, but more than that I can’t tell you… – PJH

    Reply
  35. Kandis

    PJ… 2 hours in the oven? That wasn’t a typo? I know 350 is lower than usual for most pies, but that seems like a long time! It really does look irresistable. And, I love your Blog…it’s so nice to be able to read everyone’s comments, along with your responses, because so often they address something others of us may have been wondering. I love the way your mind works! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who thinks so much about food, and other ways to approach a recipe, etc. Thanks for this site!

    HI Kandis,

    If you check out PJ’s comment to Nina’s question, she explains the 2 hour bake time a little more, but it is the correct time.

    Happy Baking!

    MaryJane @ The Baker’s Hotline

    Reply
  36. Royce Robertson

    If I can find some good peaches, I would love to try this pie. Unfortunately here in Oregon on the coast, there is no such as a good peach. All of the peaches that come to our store are horrible and I have given upp on buying them here as it is a waste of money. Every season I try, but every year I am disappointed. Maybe if I go to Ca. for a visit. Thanks for the recipe though and I will try to check out other states for their peaches. Maybe somewhere on the internet someone has good peaches for sale.
    Sincerely,
    Royce

    Reply
  37. Karen A

    Originally from the east side of Cleveland OH I frequently yearn for the ‘real apples’ grown in Geauga county. Ohio peaches are second only to those grown here in SC.

    Unfortunately as many have already said, most of the produce grown here is shipped north, leaving poor quality on the store counters at inflated prices. But my local Food Lion had great Carolina peaches this week and I’m off to make this pie from the 5 lbs I bought. My Gran seldom did 2 crusts – she always made the ‘domaca’ (home) pie and that’s what I’ll do. Its great when the pie juice soaks into the dough . . .

    Just an added note – SC and the Charleston restaurants are very active promoting the buy local SC products with the Sustainable Seafood and the SLow Food Movement. We just have a hard time getting the word to the grocery preveyors who insist of selling what the food terminal ships in from where ever.

    Reply
  38. Barbara

    June 20th,2008 5:56P.M.

    This is to Karen who ate the “Indian Peach Pie” or anyone who might be able to help. I too am looking for Indian Peaches. My dad use to have a tree when I was small. The tree died and I have not found these
    peaches sence, I am now sixty four
    I have ask many people over the years and no one has heard of them.
    I live in NC so peaches grow well here. I would be very greatfuf if anyone knows where I could get “Indian peaches” or a tree. God bless

    Reply
  39. Kimberly

    Michigan has great peaches, they are the size of a softball and juicy…….
    I use to buy them at my local orchard but they closed….that makes two closed around me…..I have to try to fine them somewhere else. I do buy the peaches from California and they are hard but I put them in a paper bag till they are soft and they turn out juicy too! I enjoyed my time working at the former orchard baking pies and making cake donuts….it taught me a thing or two about mass producing bake goods! And how to make a great and easy pie crust that people from all over even out of state, would just want to buy the pie crust. It is easy if you ever want to know about it email me. And I peeled enough peaches working there…….and I did it the way you tell everyone to do it. Don’t let them simmer too long in the hot water!

    Reply
  40. genev reed

    Having relatives for a wedding next week end. Have ripe peaches now. Want to serve you delicious peach pie. What is best way to do it?

    Wellllll…. I’m not sure. Probably make the pie, but don’t bake it – freeze it, all filled and ready to go. Put it in the oven frozen, and bake longer than the recipe says… play it by ear. That’s what I’d do, anyway. Good luck! -PJH

    Reply
  41. Sammy

    I absolutely love the “rustic” look of this pie, not to mention I’m lazy and hate making piecrust, so if I can do it once instead of twice, count me in. I’m going to make this as soon as we get some good peaches in Ontario! So far they are hard and crunchy, and not especially flavorful. The local growers will be providing some delicious ones in a month or so. I’ll add some blackberries to the filling, as I love the combination of peaches and blackberries. And homemade ice cream to top it with!

    I absolutely agree with those who have posted that mediocre peaches will make a mediocre pie. I’ve learned from experience, that’s the way it is with most ingredients. If you need wine for a recipe, don’t try to save a few dollars by using an inexpensive one; if you’re working with fruit, get the most flavorful fruit you can find. The rule I go by is: don’t use anything that you wouldn’t eat or drink just as it is. But by all means when you do bring home that perfect peck of peaches, set some aside for eating out of hand.

    Reply
  42. Lisa

    Excellent timing! Living here in England, we don’t get any local (or even semi-local) peaches. But the gorgeous Italian ones just arrived and they so aromatic & sweet. Pie time!!

    I make these rustic, open-top pies all the time (last weekend was bumbleberry while watching the film Waitress). I love how unfiddly they are (no perfect fluting or latices required). The coarse sugar is a must for the crunchy bits. But I have had the same problem with leakage. What a fabulously obvious idea: use a pie dish to hold it!

    Oh, and if I get some some not-so-wonderful peaches, I mix in some raspberries or brambles (blackberries)–I adore blackberries but raspberries give a great colour and they can be easier to get at this time of year. I have had some particularly juicy blackberries make grey pie before…tasty but you must be brave!

    Reply
  43. Anita

    Jackie, I live in Maryland in Anne Arundel county and I know where Lothian is. Which farmers Market do you go to? Is it the one on Truman Pkwy and Riva Rd? I would love to find those peaches.

    Reply
  44. Linda D'Amato

    I live in Westchester County, NewYork and I can not find a good peach. They are all rock hard and even on the counter they rot before they rippen. Can anyone tell me where to find good peaches in my area? Or can you use canned peaches? Thank you.

    Hi Linda,

    Check out PJ’s reply to Erik regarding canned peaches, on June 18th. It should help answer your questions.

    Happy Baking!

    MaryJane @ The Baker’s Hotline

    Reply
  45. Nan Lehmann

    What a wonderful blog! I am fortunate to live in South Carolina, and here we always swear by the “upstate” peaches, even though we live in the Lowcountry. Beware of trying to bake pie with canned peaches. I have had good success with (my own) frozen ones.

    Reply
  46. suzanne in atlanta

    Funny thing about those Georgia peaches….I’ve lived here 24 years and have never had a good Georgia peach yet…which brings to wondering why it’s called the peach state….You want really really good peaches, South Carolina is the place to get them. They are simply wonderful……

    Reply
  47. Sandy

    I live in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Peaches started showing up at the farmer’s market almost a month ago. I went today and there are plenty now, of all varieties. I love the NC peaches as they are sweet and juicy. S. Carolina peaches are also wonderful. I make a fabulous peach cobbler that looks very similar to your rustic pie. The recipe is from Southern Living and I have been making it for many, many years. Can there be anything more wonderful and summery than a peach cobbler or pie?

    Reply
  48. Ann

    Reference your first attempt. I had that exact thing happen to me when I made a peach-raspberry galette. I didn’t think to use a pie pan, though, so now I know how to fix my mistake. I had such a difficult time cleaning the baking sheet I haven’t attempted it again. This looks delicious by the way. Yum!

    Ann, that’s why I LOVE PARCHMENT. It saves me from SO much pan scrubbing… – PJH

    Reply
  49. Barbara

    I served this pie for dessert today and it was greatly enjoyed by all! Our local farm stand had wonderful peaches (not sure where they actually come from, though, and didn’t think to ask, but I will next time) that were sweet and juicy.

    Reply
  50. Kat DeFonce

    I made the peach pie last evening. I baked it at 350 and tented it after 30 minutes. I continued to bake it and after 45 minutes removed the tent to check it. Unfortunately, it was overly well done! I always keep an oven thermometer so I know the temperature of my oven was accurate. Next time, I think I’ll either lower the temp or, check the pie 30 minutes after tenting. What do you suggest? Also, as I have always used flour as my thickener, I did so this time. I think 3/4 C. was a bit too much. Would it have been better if I had used something else? I have never used Almond extract before in my peach pie. What a wonderful flavor it imparted. I was very pleasantly surprised. Also, thank you so much for your instruction on how to peel the peaches. Simmering them really did the trick and with absolutely no peach flesh lost. It was all so very easy. Thanks!

    Sorry, Kat, don’t know what to suggest except do what works in your oven. Ovens are SO “all over the place” – it’s challenging to give hard-and-fast baking times. With very juicy fruits like peaches, I think a more powerful thickener often works better than flour. Try tapioca flour or tapioca beads (the small ones, like Minute Tapioca). We also sell various pie filling thickeners through our catalogue, online at kingarthurflour.com. Can I tell you how much to use? No, not exactly. Again, every piece of fruit has its own juiciness quotient. So it’s always kind of a roll of the dice… One thing you can experiment with is pre-cooking the fruit and thickener till it starts to thicken, then putting it in the crust and baking the rest of the way. Can I give you precise cooking times and precise thickener amounts. Again, no… Sorry – can you see where I’m going here? Fruit pie filling is one of those things with so many variables, it’s simply impossible to give precise directions and expect the filling to come out the same way every time. Esp. with fruit that can vary so much (think a rock hard peach vs. a soft, dripping-juice peach…) – All I can say is, keep experimenting, and the more you bake, the more you learn. And the experiments are always fun! – PJH

    Reply
  51. Kat DeFonce

    Sorry but, I forgot to mention that I LOVED making the crust this way! I think that I will probably make most of my pies this way from now on. I also made a sour black cherry this way last evening. THANKS!

    Yeah, it’s kind of liberating, huh? “This is not your mother’s piecrust.” (Unless your mother was a French woman from the country…) :) PJH

    Reply
  52. Sherri

    I have to agree with William, Canada has great peaches! I live in Calgary, so we get all of our peaches from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia and they are amazing! I spend a lot of time in NYC and even in the gourmet grocery stores, their peaches don’t come close. And if you are feeling really adventurous, there is a small family run farm in Okanagan Falls (Matheson’s), and their peaches are like candy, I actually do a eight hour drive out every August for peaches just for canning (the Sunrise apples are really good as well, but they don’t keep long), my family thinks I’m crazy, but they are pretty happy in the winter eating the peaches! Now, if only we could get King Arthur Flour here, with all the luggage restrictions, it’s getting harder to bring flour home!

    Reply
  53. Pam Vaughn

    To all of you living near northern Utah…they have some of the best peaches you’ll ever taste. I lived in the Ogden area for years even though I’m not from there, and used to travel north 15 minutes or so to go to Pettingills produce. Absolultely the best peaches ever! They usually have 12 or so varieties throughout the season and will continue until the first hard freeze, usually in oct. I’m back in calif. again but what I wouldn’t give for those peaches. I made great jam, pies, canned them, oh and ate a few too. I go and visit family from time to time and get my fill. If you are ever in that area in the summer until early fall…you must go there. Enjoy if you do.

    Reply
  54. Marion

    I’m in Atlanta and I have been getting great peaches at Kroger for $1.00 a pound. They are either from Georgia or S. Carolina. I’ve had good peaches from both states and we used to go pick our own south of town so I know for a fact that they do grow peaches here and they taste good :-) I think right now my peaches are costing per pound about the same as my flour!

    Reply
  55. Linda

    So nice to see another Canadian (Sherri from Calgary) who agrees with me that the Okagan Valley in British Columbia grows the best peaches in the world. Bar none. I live on the west coast near Vancouver and peaches don’t grow well around here because our weather is too wet and cool but the Okanagan Valley is hot and dry and their fruit, including cherries, apricots, apples and pears are divine. It’s worth a three hour drive to buy the best from the stands along the highway.
    Love this website. Unfortunately, we can’t get King Arthur flour here. I guess I’ll have to improvise with what I can get. Thanks for the great recipes and the beautiful pictures showing every step.

    Reply
  56. Caryl Ponti

    PJ, I just love this Blog. I also live in South Carolina and am just amazed that you all are unaware of our wonderful peaches. They are the best! I am a Master Gardener with Clemson University and will make it a point that the University and the South Carolina Department of Agriculture gets the word out. Shame on them!

    In 35 year, I’ve never seen a South Carolina peach in New England – only those from California, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. Get your farmers to send some up! – PJH

    Reply
  57. Caryl Ponti

    PJ, After posting earlier re the lack of knowledge of wonderful South Carolina peaches I thought I would do some personal investigation. Last week I drove to MacLead’s Peach Orchard in McBee, South Carolina which is in the Hartsfield/Florence area. It was a really fun trip and the place is amazing – they were so busy with people carrying away boxes and boxes of peaches. I noticed a lot of northern license plates so believe there were a lot of tourists returning from Myrtle Beach. I bought two peck baskets of “seconds” ($4.00 each) which are considered too ripe to ship. I don’t even know what varieties they were, but they were all freestone. I froze them this morning and they were beautiful! I just followed the directions on the Fruit Fresh container – 1 TBS. Fruit Fresh to each four/five peaches and added 1/4 cup of sugar. You could add more sugar, but that is personal preference. They are so juicy! Here is the contact info: McLeod’s Orchards, Rt. 151, 8 miles north of the intersection of 15 and 151 in Hartsville, SC. Their website is http://www.MacsPride.com and their toll-free number is: 1-877-789-9252. They are open 8-6:30 Mon. thru Thurs. and 8-7 Fri. thru Sun. I hope you all will be able to enjoy this wonderful South Carolina product!

    Reply
  58. Pat Harford

    I’m searching for Bill Harris’ orchard for peaches in Lothian, MD on Lower Pindell Rd. I found the location on a map. It’s almost to Calvert County. Can’t find a phone # to call him. Does he go to the Farmers Market at Riva Rd and Truman Parkway? I’m looking for freestone peaches. Picked some in Delaware outside of Ocean City, MD last week and need more without hoofing it to Delaware. HELP!!!!

    Reply
  59. cindy hayes

    I live in East Texas — we can get fresh peaches at Efurd Orchard from June until….well, this is August, and they still have peaches. Different varieties come off at different times, so they always have a delicious peach available all summer. I make ingredients as I would for a fresh peach pie, but I place it in a pie plate, freeze it, then pop it in one of those seal-a-meal bags that keeps the air out. Anytime we want fresh peach pie, all I do is make a pie crust, pop in the peaches, pat of butter on top, top crust and fresh peach pie. Since the peaches are frozen, I cook it with foil on top about half way through to make sure peaches are done.

    Reply
  60. Janeen

    I’m a midwest yankee from Michigan and Michigan is a great state for fruit!! Traverse City area is the worlds largest cherry producer and in the area where I grew up ( eastern side of the state along Lake Huron and Lake St Claire)we had large commerical apple and peach orchards. My father had honeybees and we would place hives in these orchards to help with pollunation. Romeo Michigan has a big peach fesitval every August. I know from my experience getting the peaches (or any fruit) fresh from the tree and local grower is always better tasting. The fruit in the supermarket has to be picked sooo early to get it to the market before it spoils makes the end products not as tastey.

    Reply
  61. fran

    Normally, I am a peach cobbler gal, but after checking out the blog and finding this beautiful peach pie – - I just had to make it. My peaches were awesome – - large and so juicy. I had some questions concerning using flour as a thickner as I didn’t have the other items. The help desk assured me that flour was okay to use. I made the recipe as stated, but I did take a short cut and used the “already made” pie crusts that you just roll out and use. I cut stars out of crust for the top. My pie really looked great, but I don’t know why it tasted a bit bitter. I think the almond extract threw me off. All of my family thought it was bitter too. Next time, I will try making my own crust and maybe adding a bit more vanilla and some nutmeg and cinnamon. Any suggestions as to why it was so bitter tasting???? Thanks.

    Fran, you may have been tasting the bleach in the ready-made piecrust. Those piecrusts are made with bleached flour, which means the flour mfr. pours powdered bleach into the flour. All of us here at King Arthur, since we only bake with our own UNbleached flour, can taste that bitterness/chemical taste in bleached flour. Don’t know about you, but I’d rather not take a box of Clorox and pour it into my mouth… :) – PJH

    Reply
  62. Linda

    I finally made this peach pie – oh my! I got up early this morning (4 am!) to bake before leaving for work so that we could have it for dessert tonight. The aroma that filled my house was heavenly. I pulled it from the oven at 8 and left for the office. Can’t wait to get back home. I did have a lot of trouble rolling the crust. I rolled it on plastic wrap and even put the partially rolled crust, plastic wrap and all, back in the fridge to harden a little at one point. I have a terrible time with pie crusts and pies are my favorite dessert of all! I ended up piecing a lot of the crust together but the rustic look of this pie is very forgiving. Once I cut into it I will know if all of my piecing affected the texture of the bottom crust. If the crust works, I will try this with my other fruit pies – I’d much rather struggle with rolling one crust than rolling two; maybe I have stumbled into the only look – rustic – that I can consistently produce! Thanks for all of the pictures and tips of how to make the crust and filling. I love to bake and have been baking since I could stand at the table and help my mom but they still help me and I still run into the tip that I hadn’t heard before. (And, yes, my mother was an expert pie crust maker which is why I never learned!) Now, I have to go read up on those chocolate chip muffins that you posted yesterday….

    Linda, piecrust is a constant process for me. I LOVE pie, but have never been an “expert” crust maker. Always a work in progress. Like you, I think the rustic look covers a multitude of sins… PJH

    Reply
  63. Gail

    I have browsed many, many “foodie” blogs… I have read many of your poss and this is, by far, the best blog I have seen so far. Keep up the good work!! I will keep checking in. :)

    Thanks so much, Gail – we look forward to hearing more from you! – PJH

    Reply
  64. Melissa

    Awesome! What a way to say goodbye to Summer 08`…My husband will love this!! I confidently use KAF recipies weekly, and am tickled to have such a reputable Co. to offer such fine quality recipies and ingredients. Thank you!

    Reply
  65. Stephanie R.

    May I respectfully, but strongly, recommend AGAINST the egg? While it does offer the benefit of leaving the dough easier to work, it also makes the crust VERY tough. The reason for using low gluten flour is to eliminate as much protein as possible in the flour. You want the molecules to make short, weak chains for tenderness, and egg strengthens chains (which is why you normally add egg to things–it is a “binder”, making things stick together).

    Today I made pie crust for freezing using the same recipe: 1.5 cups flour, 12 T butter, 3/4 tsp salt, additional water as needed and either WITH one egg white or WITHOUT one egg white (egg beaters).

    I made 5 pie crusts. 2 with the egg, 3 without the egg. I was not sure what the egg would do, so I only used the egg in two. It was obvious during cooking of the “trimmings” (for a nummy snack) from the first egg crust that there was a difference: the egg crust had butter weeping so much that the crusts were literally frying in butter in the oven. In fact, I had to actually remove from the foil they were on and transfer them (sans the butter that had weeped out) to another tray to finish cooking. The resulting crust snacks were VERY flaky, to be sure, but VERY tough…so much so that my extremely non-picky husband told me to toss them.

    The crust snacks from the non-egg crusts were also flaky, but the butter seemed to stay incorporated (no weeping) AND the resulting crusts were so flaky that they crumbled if you put too much weight on them (for example, I had to make sure that I supported a half dollar sized snack, not just hold it by the corner or by the edges). They were flaky, but also very delicate and the butter did not weep out of the crust.

    I tried again with a different batch of egg dough and non egg dough with the same results–the egg dough was tough, the non-egg dough was tender, but they were both flaky. VISUALLY they were both stunning in terms of flakiness (with the egg dough probably being more flaky looking), but the chew was expontentially different…the egg dough was just tough, tough, tough.

    This left me in a bit of a dilemma–what to do with the two egg crusts? I ended up marking them “for pecan pie only” (as per my husband’s instructions) so that even if the crusts were tough, the insides were good enough to stand alone.

    Yes, the egg dough was MUCH eaiser to work than the non-egg dough, but the cooked crust was SO INCREDIBLY tougher that it was very much a disappointment.

    Now, I did use a different brand of soft winter wheat flour (I did not have any KA on hand). And I used an egg white instead of a whole egg. Perhaps that was the difference, but I doubt it. Egg is a notorious binder and it would stand to reason that an egg in the dough would cause the strengthening of the chains of proteins. However, do your own experiment and see, just in case I missed something, and if I am totally off base, please delete this comment. I do not want to lead anyone astray!

    Stephanie

    Stephanie, very interesting and thorough research. It’s amazing how many different ways there are to make something as simple as piecrust, eh? Thanks for the lesson – and I hope whoever’s reading this tries Stephanie’s experiment sometime and reports back. PJH

    Reply
  66. Kat

    Woah! No love for the Georgia peach!

    I have lived in north or central Georgia for my entire life, and I’ve got to say, if you have never had a good Georgia peach then you must be living under a rock!

    If you drive down any Interstate in Georgia, particularly I-75 around the Macon area, you will find numerous signs hand painted with the magical words “Peaches Next Exit”. There are tons of local farmers who grow peaches, and you can find their on almost every moderately suburban/rural street corner. There is nothing better than a juicy Georgia peach!

    I know for a fact that Publixes in the metro Atlanta area were recently selling peaches from a great little place called Lane Packing (in Byron, Georgia) for only $1.25 / lb…. about 75 cents cheaper than the California variety.

    I look forward to summer produce, especially peaches and Vidalia onions, every year here in Georgia! Give it some love!

    Reply

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *