I suck at baking pies.
But I am a pie-phobe. And it’s all because of the crust. Why is it so intimidating? Why does mine never seem to come together just right or look perfectly crimped along the edges?
I think I have finally found the secret to perfect pie crust.
Sorry folks at sea level, it might just be clean mountain air.
We spent the weekend at our friend’s cabin where it seems like whatever we cook turns pretty much into gold.
Including golden crusted gorgeous peach pie. I mean seriously, I may have to retire from cooking and blogging. I’ve just conquered one of my top 3 fears in the kitchen. And I’m not sure what the other two are.
But for pie making, this is it. Maybe it’s the cold, fresh from the river mountain water, or perhaps its the altitude chilled just right with the christening of the arrival of fall or maybe its baking with friends.
Whatever it is, I want to bottle it. Because this pie crust worked.
But the star of the show was the fresh of the fresh, super sweet local Elberta peaches from Northern Utah spiked with orange zest, orange juice and warming spices. Other than the addition of orange, this peach pie recipe doesn’t stray too far from a traditional pie, but Utah cookbook author Marguerite Henderson took it to a new level.
Marguerite’s version of the recipe uses a combo of shortening and butter, but I went straight butter. She baked her peaches still in their skins, but I found them a little stringy so next time I’m leaving them out. But that’s just me. It’s your recipe, so you choose.
I did use nearly ¼ cup more water than the original recipe called for, but that I’m attributing to the altitude. Or the cold water. Or the hungry diners. Or all of the above.
But one thing I do know. I’m no pie-phobe no more.
Mountain Peach Pie Recipe
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 12 tablespoons unsalted cold butter cut into 1/2 inch chunks
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup ice cold water
- 5 pounds peaches
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- zest and juice of one orange
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
- 2 tablespoons sugar
For the crust, add flour, butter, salt, sugar and orange zest to the bowl of a food processor and pulse 4-5 times until butter is the sized of small peas. Do not over mix, add 1/4 cup iced water and pulse on and off until pastry is just combined. Add more water 1 tablespoon at a time until dough comes together when pressed. Put out mixture on a floured surface. Knead a few times and form a ball, divide into two discs and wrap in plastic wrap for 1 hour or until ready to use.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Place one crust in a deep dish pie pan with excess pastry hanging over the sides of the pan. Save the second circle of dough for top of pie.
For the filling, peel and pit the peaches and slice 1/2 inch thick. In a large bowl, combine peaches with brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt, orange zest and orange juice. Pour into prepared pie crust, piling the peaches high in the center.
Top with second prepared pie crust, fold edges of top crust under edge of bottom crust and crimp edges. Cut four 2-inch slits in the dough and brush top of pie crust with egg wash and top with sugar.
Place pie on a baking sheet and bake for 50-55 minutes at 375 degrees. Allow pie to rest for about 30 minutes before serving.
slightly adapted from Small Parties by Marguerite Marceau Henderson
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