A Summer Pie Recipe from Adrienne Kane, author of United States of Pie

It’s summer! Which means one thing—it’s pie season.

My book, United States of Pie, is all about updating classics. Often times that meant using fresh fruit, less sugar, and a lighter hand when it came to spices. That’s exactly what I did when creating the recipe for Southern Peach Pie. Most of the classic recipes I looked at used cups of sugar and canned peaches (in syrup), making a peach pie possible year-round. My modern recipe uses blushing, fresh peaches. Sure, you won’t be baking this pie in the dead of a winter, but you’ll remember those fleeting, summer days fondly!

When baking a summer fruit pie, the one rule that I swear by is to keep it simple. The fruit is exemplary—sweet and juicy—so you won’t need a lot of extraneous ingredients to make a standout pie. Besides turning on the oven (a bit of a feat in the sweltering warmer months), you don’t even need anything automated in order to bake this delicious, seasonal dessert.

The recipe that follows is for both a standard pie dough and the luscious peach filling. A lot of bakers will shy away from making their own crusts. I say shy away no more, it’s time to learn! Be bold! Read the instructions carefully, tie on your apron, and roll away. There’s pie to be made!

Standard Pie Dough

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 6-10 tablespoons iced water

Makes enough for one 9-inch double-crusted pie, or two 9-inch pie shells.

With a whisk, in a large bowl, stir flour, sugar, and salt together until well blended, and free of lumps.  Add the butter and the shortening, tossing gently in the flour.  With your fingertips, blend until mixture resembles a coarse meal.  Work the fats into the flour, rubbing the larger pieces of butter and shortening until the mixture resembles gravel.

Sprinkle on the water, one tablespoon at a time, starting with 3 tablespoons, then gradually adding more water if needed.  Blend with your fingertips, as little as possible, pulling the meal together and creating a dough.  The dough will become less sticky, and more of a mass when enough water has been added. Finally, knead minimally in the bowl to make sure the dough has just enough moisture.

Separate the dough in half.  One mound of dough should weigh approximately 10½   ounces.  Gently form into a disk, roughly ¾ inch tall.  Place disks in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to two days before rolling out.  Dough can be frozen for up to 1 month, and defrosted in the refrigerator before using.

Southern Peach Pie

  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 cups peaches, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch pieces, about 7-8 medium peaches [approximately 2 lbs.]
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes

optional:

  • 1 tablespoon cream
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado or sanding sugar

Preheat oven to 425°.

In a medium-size bowl, combine the sugars, flour, cinnamon, and salt and mix well.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sliced peaches, almond extract, and the sugar mixture. Toss gently, and set aside.

On a well-floured surface, roll out one portion of the dough until it is about 1/8 of an inch thick, and will fit a 9-inch pie plate. Gently pick up the dough and center it over the pie plate.  Ease the dough into the inner ring of the plate. Pour in the filling and spread evenly. Dot the surface of the pie with the remaining butter.

Roll out the second portion of the dough, to equal proportions. Lay the dough over the filling. Trim the sides of dough to leave a one-inch overhang. Fold the two pieces under and together, and then decoratively crimp the perimeter. With a sharp knife cut 5 vents into the surface of the pie.

If using, with a pastry brush paint the surface of the pie with cream, and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375° and continue baking for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool pie to room temperature before enjoying.

Adrienne Kane is the author of the memoir Cooking and Screaming and of the popular food blog http://www.nosheteria.com/. She is a food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer whose work has appeared in Natural Health and Prevention and on Chow and foodandwine.com. She lives and cooks in New Haven, Connecticut.

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