I could wax on and on about my love for pie. The flake of the crust, the sweet filling, that sparkle of sugar on the crust — but I’ll spare you.
Peach pie is right up there on my list of favorite things to make and eat. One of my very first memories is of riding my grandfather’s shoulders, picking peaches right off the trees in a California orchard, taking that first bite, and letting the juices flow down my arm.
This is the memory of summer for me, and peach pie is a recipe I think every baker should have in their recipe box.
I like to use fresh, ripe peaches, and I peel them before slicing. It is extra work, but I think it’s well worth it. This said, frozen peaches totally work as well. (I’ve tested this pie with both.)
I like to thicken my peach pies with cornstarch instead of tapioca or flour. I find that tapioca can become gummy as the pie cools (especially if the pie has leaked) and I just don’t like using flour as a thickener in pies.
Cornstarch, on the other hand, has a neutral flavor, bakes up clear, and doesn’t get as gummy as tapioca when the pie cools.
I know there’s a lot of pie fear out there, but I think with some know-how and a little acceptance, there’s really nothing to fear at all.
Sometimes pies just end up looking less than perfect. Sometimes the crust slides a little or shrinks. Sometimes the pie is too tart, or too runny, or it’s not perfectly-Earth-shattering in its flakiness.
But I am here to tell you that it is OKAY. As with all things, practice makes perfect. And no matter what, you still have pie at the end of the day!
I’d also argue that a perfect pie isn’t nearly as charming or beautiful as a rustic one. That said, read on for my tips to reduce pie stress and increase pie success!
Best Tips for Pie Success:
- Work with cold ingredients, especially butter!
- Chill the dough at every opportunity. This is how you get a stunner of a pie that holds its shape.
- Pies can seem like they’re taking forever to bake, and that can feel a little stressful. Don’t worry. It can take an hour or more for a fruit pie like this one to fully bake — especially if your filling was cold to start (like if you’re using frozen fruit).
- In the oven, watch for your filling to bubble all the way through the center of the pie. This is how you know that it’s done. Thickeners like cornstarch don’t react and start to thicken until they reach the boiling point.
- Don’t stress about the crust burning. It’s unlikely the bottom will burn because it’s well insulated thanks to the pie plate (especially if you’re using a glass or ceramic dish), and also thanks to the weight of the filling.
- If the edges of the crust begin to darken too much, fashion a foil ring to place over the edges. Or invest in a cheap pie crust shield (I love mine).
- Finally, resist the urge to cut the pie before it has cooled completely. The filling needs to set or all those juices will pour out! If you want a warm slice of pie, gently rewarm it in the oven or microwave.
- Bonus tip! If you want a super-tightly woven lattice (like the one you see here) or one with lots of decorative touches, it’s best to make three single crusts (or 1 1/2 recipes of the no-fail pie dough).
Old-Fashioned Peach Pie Recipe
If you are using fresh peaches, it is a little bit extra work but I think it’s worth it. Simply cut an “x” on the blossom end of the peach (the tip of the fruit opposite the stem side) and dunk each peach into boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds before dunking into an ice bath. The skins should easily peel off.
If you are using frozen peaches, let them thaw and then drain off the liquid before adding to the pie crust.
If you'd like to make a very tight lattice crust, as I did, or if you want to decorate your pie with extra cut-out decorations, prepare 3 single crusts of dough (1 1/2 recipes of the Perfect Pie Crust) so that you're sure to have enough.
Elise's No-Fail Sour Cream Pie Crust also works well with this recipe.
- 1 full recipe Perfect Pie Crust (2 single crusts)
- 3 pounds fresh or frozen ripe peaches, peeled and sliced (about 8 cups sliced peaches; see Recipe Note)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Tiny pinch of kosher salt
- 4 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Sanding sugar or any coarse sugar
1 Prepare the pie dough through dividing the dough into two disks and chilling: Instructions for preparing your pie dough can be found here.
2 Roll out the bottom crust: Remove one of the chilled disks of pie dough from the refrigerator and let it stand a few minutes at room temperature until it is pliable.
Roll the dough out into a large circle, about 11 to 12 inches in diameter. Fit the dough into the pie plate and refrigerate while you prepare the filling. Don’t bother trimming the edges just yet; leave it until the end.
3 Make the peach filling: In a large mixing bowl combine the peeled and sliced peaches, sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, and salt, folding gently to combine. Taste one of the peaches and add additional sugar for sweetness or lemon juice for tartness if you think it's necessary.
Sprinkle the corn starch evenly over stop and gently stir to mix it in.
Spread the filling into the chilled pie crust and place the entire thing back into the refrigerator to chill.
4 Roll out the top crust (and lattice weave, if desired): Remove the second pie crust (and third, if using; see Recipe Note) from the fridge. For a simple rolled-out top crust, roll the pie crust into a 9-inch circle and transfer it to the top of the chilled pie. Slash vents in a few places using a sharp knife.
For a lattice crust, like the one pictured, and roll out the dough into a wide rectangle. Cut evenly-sized strips of dough -- I like to use a pizza wheel to cut the strips and a ruler as a guide (the width of most rulers is also a good width for the strips of lattice). Weave the strips into a lattice top for the pie.
Trim the edges of the top crust and the bottom crust, leaving enough bottom crust to cover the edge of the top crust neatly. Crimp the dough to seal the edges.
5 Chill the assembled pie in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
6 While the pie chills, preheat the oven to 400°F. Place an oven rack in the bottom third of the oven. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil to catch any pie leakage. Whisk the egg and tablespoon of milk together.
7 Bake the pie: Remove the chilled pie from the fridge and brush the top with the egg-milk mixture. Sprinkle with sanding sugar. Place the pie on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake the pie in the bottom third of the oven for about 1 hour, or until the filling is bubbling in the center of the pie.
8 Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before serving. If you'd like to serve warm pie, let the pie cool completely and the warm briefly in the oven before serving. (Or warm individual slices in the microwave.)
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