Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Homemade Peach Pie with Vanilla Bean Crust

So, apparently August was National Peach Month.  Had no idea.  Peaches are just about my favorite thing to eat in the summertime.  I usually buy a bushel of local peaches every summer to can and freeze but this year they kept evading me!  Finally I got my hands on some and couldn't wait to bring them home.

So, after I took care of most of the peaches I asked my husband if he wanted me to make anything special with them. He immediately went to pie.  Surprised?  Not a bit.  He likes pie, I don't so much, hence the lack of pie posts on the blog.  However, it is my duty to be a good wife and actually bake him what he wants once in a while.  So, I happily obliged.

I get a bit obsessive when trying to find a recipe, because it has to be PERFECT!  This time was no exception, I think I combined about three recipes to get what I wanted.  The result: hubby loved it! The crust was nice and flaky with just a hint of vanilla bean and the filling was every bit as it should have been; soft, juicy peaches, nice warm spices and slightly sweetened.

Since I don't do pie, the crust kinda freaks me out.  Obviously I wanted it to look perfect but since I hardly ever make it, I have little experience.  Instead of lopping one whole crust on the top and pinching and pressing until it could get it to look right, I decided little circles would be perfect and a little unique to boot.

Peach Pie with Vanilla Bean Crust
for the crust:
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
1/2 cup ice water
1 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste (or 1 vanilla bean, scraped)

for the filling:
8 cups fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (about 1 small lemon or 1/2 a large)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
pinch sea salt
3 Tbsp. flour

1 Tbsp. milk
Coarse sugar, for sprinkling

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the flour, salt, sugar and chilled butter.  Pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal.  Transfer to a mixing bowl.  Add ice water and vanilla bean paste. Fold dough until it comes together and forms a ball.  Don't work it too much or it will turn out chewy.  It's ok if there's a few crumbs, just press it into the dough.  Divide the dough in half and form two discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, add peaches, lemon juice, sugars and spices, salt and flour.  Stir to combine.

Roll out each disc of dough into about a 13-inch round.  Lay the first one into the pie pan, cutting off any extra and fluting the edges.  Pour the pie filling on top of the crust.  Using a cookie cutter or whatever you can find, cut small circles, about 1 1/2-2-inches, from the second round of dough and place them on top of the filling, in concentric circles.

Brush the top and edges of pie with milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar.  Place pie pan on a cookie sheet and put in the oven.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Reduce heat to 375 degrees F and continue baking another 40 minutes or until filling is bubbling and crust is slightly browned.

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack at least 3 hours.

Source: Crust adapted from Hot Polka Dot, and filling adapted from Sift and Whisk.

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