And that’s getting harder to say because peaches aren’t at all what they used to be when I was a kid.
When I was young, a peach was heaven. It was a fragrant dark soft thing. The first bite caused a juice explosion and you worked hard to suck it all in. You glorified in every bite, sorry when you were down to the pit which you pulled free of every last strand of peach meat.
Peaches tend to be quite beautiful to look at and usually juiceless, or hard as rocks. They smell good and look good, but taste of nothing. They are probably excellent for packing and storage and that is how they are now bred.
The only ones that I have found that are good are the new white-fleshed variety. I find them with all the qualities of my childhood. I used them for this pie and I can say that I was quite satisfied.
- One recipe for a double crusted pie dough. I have two you can find here and here.
- 2 1/2 lbs of peaches, peeled, sliced (I used about 6)
- 1 c sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- A pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg and salt
- 1 lg egg beaten
- sugar for dusting
- Make the pie crust. Divide in two. Roll out the first and place in the pie plate (deep dish). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to fill.
- Roll out the second and then cut into 8 strips for the lattice (don’t omit this since this is part of why this pie works). (I found that I had nearly half of the 1/2 left after this so I wrapped it and threw it in the freezer for a rustic something or other later). Place the strips on some dusted parchment on a cookie sheet, cover with plastic and put in the fridge as well.
- Place all your peach slices in a large bowl with the cup of sugar. Set aside on the counter for 1 HOUR stirring occasionally to let the juices release.
- Drain the peaches in a colander, reserving 1/4 c of the juices. Place the peaches back in the bowl, with the saved juice, add the rest of the ingredients up to the egg, and mix until the spices and so on are thoroughly distributed.
- Take the cookie sheet with the lattice strips out about 5 minutes before using to let them warm a bit.
- Take the pie plate out and load in the peaches.
- Arrange the lattice atop, weaving 4 strips with 4 strips.
- Paint the lattice with the beaten egg and dust with sugar.
- Place a rimmed cookie sheet on the bottom shelf of the oven and pre-heat to 425°. Place the pie on the cookie sheet and bake about 25 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375° and continue for another 25-35 minutes until nice and bubbly.
- Place on a rack to cool.
NOTES: The point of the lattice and the removing some of the liquid is to avoid using a ton of cornstarch to thicken it, which allows more peach flavor. Use the reserved juice to drink or reduce and use for topping on ice cream. The lattice also lets some of the liquid steam away in the oven. While there was some initial liquid when first sliced, what there was, was little more than an 1/8th of a cup.
SOURCE: Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
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