I’ve eaten a slice of peach pie every day since Thursday.
I just can’t help myself.
In just a few weeks, the good peaches will be a memory. Like the afternoon I spent with my nephews, snacking on mini peach pies and playing “Connect Four.” Or the big summer lunch with all of the ladies in the family, eating warm peach cobbler while my baby niece squealed and flashed her new teeth.
The time to indulge is NOW.
I can’t think of a more indulgent peach pie recipe than Ken Haedrich’s Triple Vanilla Bean-Scented All-Peach Pie. Vanilla sugar sprinkled like fairy dust over the peaches in the filling, the pie crust – even the whipped cream. That combination of sweet, delicate vanilla and bold, sultry peaches is as heady and powerful and fleeting as a first kiss. Which is why one slice won’t do.
Thank God swimsuit season is almost over.
Triple Vanilla Bean-Scented All-Peach Pie
Adapted from Ken Haedrich’s “Pie”
- 1 recipe Basic Flaky Pie Pastry (see below)
- 1 plump vanilla bean
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 5 cups peeled, pitted, and thickly sliced ripe peaches
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup cold heavy or whipping cream
- Prepare the pastry and refrigerate until firm enough to roll, about 1 hour.
- On a sheet of lightly floured wax paper, roll the larger portion of the pastry into a 12-inch circle with a floured rolling pin. Invert the pastry over a 9-inch standard pie pan center, and peel off the paper. Gently tuck the pastry into the pan, without stretching it, and let the overhang drape over the edge. Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Slit the vanilla bean lengthwise. Scrape the seeds out of the bean, and place them in a food processor. Add the sugar, and process for about 1 minute. Transfer the sugar to a small bowl. Mix 1/2 cup of the sugar with the cornstarch in another bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the peaches, sugar-cornstarch mixture and lemon juice. Set aside.
- On another sheet of floured waxed paper, roll the other half of the pastry into a 10-inch circle with a floured rolling pin. Turn the filling into the chilled pie shell, smoothing the top with a spoon. Dot the top of the fruit with the butter. Lightly moisten the rim of the pie shell. Invert the top pastry over the filling, center, and peel off the paper. Press the top and bottom pastries together along the dampened edge. Using the back of a butter knife, trim the pastry flush with the edge of the pan. Poke several steam vents in the top of the pie with a fork or paring knife. Put a couple of the vents near the edge of the crust so you can check the juices there later.
- Place the pie on the center oven rack, and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F, and rotate the pie 180 degrees. Slide a large baking sheet onto the rack below to catch any spills. Continue to bake until the top is a deep golden brown and the juices visible at the side vents bubble thickly, about 30 minutes.
- Transfer the pie to a wire rack, and immediately sprinkle half the remaining vanilla sugar (about 1/4 cup) over the top. Let it cool for at least 2 hours.
- Shortly before serving, whip the cream with an electric mixer until it holds soft peaks. Add the remaining vanilla sugar, and beat until stiff but not grainy. Serve a large dollop of whipped cream with each slice of pie.
Basic Flaky Pie Pastry
Makes a double crust for a 9-inch standard pie
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup cold water
- Put the flour, sugar and salt in the food processor. Pulse several times to mix.
- Scatter the butter over the dry ingredients, and pulse the machine 5 or 6 times to cut it in. Fluff the mixture with a fork.
- Scatter the shortening over the flour, and pulse 5 or 6 times. Fluff the mixture again.
- Drizzle half of the water over the flour mixture, and pulse 5 or 6 times, until the dough starts to form clumps. (It should look like coarse crumbs.)
- Transfer the dough into a large bowl. Squeeze some of the pastry between your fingers. If it seems a little dry, drizzle a teaspoon of cold water over the pastry, and work it in with your fingertips.
- Using your hands, form the pastry into two balls – one slightly larger for the bottom crust. Knead each ball once or twice on a floured work surface, then flatten the balls into 3/4-inch-thick disks.
- Wrap the disks in plastic, and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight before rolling.