Peaches are my favourite stone fruit. Under the vibrant marbled, fuzzy skin you find the sweet, juicy fruit. Savoury or sweet peaches are so versatile – they can be enjoyed fresh or cooked, grilled or baked. I love them sliced and fried with a bit of butter and rosemary, drenched in honey and folded into a tortilla or yes, baked in a buttery, flaky pie!
If you’ve been following me for a while now, then you know that I left my little farm house in the Kawarthas to move back to the city. I can’t believe that it’s been 6 months since I’ve been back experiencing city living! And I have to say it’s been thrilling and exhausting. My life has definitely taken a turn and my days spent in the kitchen have been fewer or next to none. Time spent putting around my gardens, picking fresh flowers has turned into late nights exploring and dining around the city. Not that I’m complaining as I do love to learn and discover new foods and adventures but I’m afraid it’s kept me from my own kitchen and keeping up with my blog. I’ve attempted a vertical garden in my city backyard, and am still dealing with city raccoons and squirrels that dig, steal, and crush my fruits and veggies (now my rabbit problem in Lakefield seems like a breeze). I haven’t gotten one strawberry yet, every time I see a few bunches of pretty white blooming berries, they’re gone/stolen before the slightest hint of red touches their seeded skin.
Don’t get me wrong, I still daydream of all the recipes I want to create and have stacks on stacks of recipes aching to be tested. There just doesn’t seem to be any time lately (I always hate it when people say that)! And there are so many cafés, restaurants, and bistros to try! I’ve been working long hours modelling and on TV sets, keeping me from my creative outlet.
With peach season in full bloom, I promised myself I’d spend my next available Saturday doing what I love, creating and baking with some juicy, fresh peaches (whether it’s out of guilt or to try and find my balance here in the city, either way I needed it). So I jumped on my bike, and headed to St. Lawrence Market, on what felt like the hottest day of summer. Hot and sweaty from biking the muggy city I found myself wandering the aisles, enjoying all the eye candy for my senses to indulge.
Once I finally made it home with my bags of fresh fruit (I have to bike uphill the whole way home), I started my pastry and decided to make something comforting – one of my mom’s favourites; Peach Pie. Lately I’ve been seeing some pretty cool and creative pies on instagram, so I was inspired to try something new with the pastry. I had no idea what was going to happen, but if you don’t try something new, how will you ever know what you are capable of?! Time wasn’t on my side, as I ran out of daylight for shooting my pretty peach pie. Sadly I didn’t get the photos that I’d like to have. But it reminded me to relax and enjoy my baking. Since I’ve started blogging my desserts I find sometimes I can forget why I started baking in the first place, and need to remind myself that I don’t always have to post everything that I bake (although I do try)! Baking for me can be very therapeutic and I needed that reminder!
I hope you’ll try something new when you make your next pie. I added some tips in the recipe that I found helpful while making the braiding and playing with the pastry top.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup Stirling Churn 84 Unsalted Butter (cold and cut into cubes)
- ½ cup Crisco/shortening (cold)
- ¼ cup ice-cold water
- 10 -12 ripe peaches (peeled, pitted, and sliced)
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon milk to brush the pastry before baking
- In a food processor add flour and salt, blend until incorporated
- Add cold butter cubes and pulse until butter resembles fine little crumbs
- Add crisco/shortening and pulse until butter resembles fine little crumbs (don't overdo it)
- Slowly add your cold water and pulse until the dough forms into a ball, or gently shape it into a ball by hand
- Flatten dough into 2 discs, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes
- Meanwhile prep your peaches, peel and slice peaches and add to a large bowl
- Add your sugar, flour and cinnamon; mix well to coat (note: if your peaches are really juicy add more flour, if they aren't very juicy use less flour)
- Let peaches rest while pastry is in the fridge (this is so the sugar can draw out more juice from the peaches)
- Preheat the oven to 450˚F
- On a prepared floured work surface roll out pastry to about ¼ inch thick keeping a round shape (approx. 2 inches larger than your pie dish) gently place the dough into the pie dish. Using a fork gently pierce the bottom of the pastry all over. Cover and place in the fridge while you make your top pastry.
- For a pretty top, roll pastry and cut into strips (assortment of lengths and widths). Gently braid smaller strips of pastry and set aside. Roll small strips into roses.
- Once you are ready to cover your pie, pull the unfilled pie out of the fridge and fill with peach mixture. Have fun placing your pastry strips on top and create your own pattern. Pinch the edges down and brush the top with milk.
- Place the pie into the oven on the bottom rack and bake for 10mins.
- Turn the oven down to 350˚F and place the pie in the middle of the oven, bake for another 30 -35 minutes, until brown and bubbly.
- Let pie sit 10 minutes before enjoying!
When making braids and roses, etc. I placed the pastry dough on a smaller cutting board and placed an ice pack under it. That way my pastry stayed cool while I worked with it and made it easy to handle. If you have a marble stone that would work as well as it will stay cool.
Squeeze fresh lemon juice on the cut peaches to keep them from browning