Peaches are ready! They are plentiful, sweet and delicious. All of this heat might not be good for us as humans, but it is doing good things for the peaches.
This past week I bought a 1/2 peck from the Westerville Market. I ate 3 fresh peaches in a matter of minutes. They were that good. Sweet, ripe, juicy. Peach season runs through Mid-September, with different varieties coming to market every few weeks. Find a near-by farm market and get in line. They sell out fast!
There are so many ways to enjoy peaches, besides eating numerous straight from the box. I decided it was time to make a peach pie. I used a standard double-crust recipe. Use your favorite (even if it is store-bought). The peach filling is pretty straight forward, nothing too fancy. My pie came out great. I plan on making many more this summer.
Summer Peach Pie
5 pounds peaches
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 sticks of cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup shortening
4-6 tablespoons cold water
For the crust: In the bowl of your mixer, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Cut the cold butter into 1/2-inch size cubes; add it and the shortening to the mixer. Mix until the butter is the size of small peas, and the mixture is crumbly. With the mixer running, add the cold water one tablespoon at a time until the dough forms into moist clumps. Dump the dough onto a flat surface; gather into a ball. Divide the dough in half. Flatten each piece into a disk; wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Peach Filling: Cut the peaches into 1/2-inch pieces. I do not peal the skin. It adds great color to the filling. Place the peaches into a large bowl. Add the sugar, flour, spices and lemon juice. Gently stir to combine. (My peaches were very juicy, I added 2 additional tablespoons of flour.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Roll out 1 disk into a 12-inch round on a well-floured surface. Transfer to a 9-inch deep dish pie pan. Transfer the peach mixture to the pie pan, smoothing into a even layer. Roll out the second disk. Top the peaches with the second crust. Trim the edges, crimp, and cut slits into the top crust to allow steam to escape while baking.
Bake until the crust is golden brown, and juices are bubbling through the slits. I covered the crust edge with a foil collar so that it would not brown too quickly before the rest of the pie was done. Remove the foil collar about half-way through the baking time. Bake for roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 4 hours before cutting into the pie.
If you prefer to peal the peaches: Peaches peel easily by blanching them first in simmering water for several minutes; then plunging them directly into ice water for an equal amount of time. Cut an "X" into the bottom of the peach before adding it to the simmering water. The skin will slip off easily.