Peach Pie

Peach PieY’all, I have never wanted Peach Pie in my life—cooked stone fruit has never been a favorite of mine. But after making Blackberry Pie in Maine and coming home to ripe peaches in the markets, I just had to make one. What can I say? I love to make pie.

Peach PieBaking with peaches isn’t quite as simple as just slicing up ripe fruit and crimping some pie dough. For one thing, if you find perfectly ripe, fragrant peaches, please just eat them as-is. There is very little more delicious. Plus, perfectly ripe peaches might make for an overly juicy pie.

For pie, you’ll need peaches that are just barely ripe. You certainly don’t want them to be overly soft, and they shouldn’t have any dark spots. They should have a little give if you squeeze them lightly, and they should be a little fragrant. Good pie peaches can be difficult to find—I recommend buying some that aren’t quite ready for eating and keeping them in a paper bag for a day or two, just until they are a little soft. This recipe only requires about eight peaches, but I usually buy a few extra since they are so delicate and temperamental.

Peach PieNow, let’s talk about pie. First things first—make yourself some pie dough. I’m partial to this whole wheat version right now. Put your dough in the fridge to chill and then peel all those peaches.

Peach PiePeach PieAgain, peaches are fussy. Peeling them isn’t as simple as breaking out a vegetable peeler or a paring knife—both of those will remove a ton of fruit along with the skin. The best way to peel peaches is to blanch and shock them. If you’ve never heard those terms, they basically mean boiling briefly and then plunging them into ice water to stop the cooking immediately.

Peach PieTo do this, start by cutting an “x” into the bottom of each peach. This will loosen the skin a bit and make it easier to remove.

Peach PieBoil each one for about 30 seconds before plunging it into ice water.

Peach PieOnce you can handle the fruit, use your fingers to start peeling at the “x.”

Peach PieThen slice them up! Aren’t they beautiful?

Peach PieAfter the peaches are peeled and sliced, this pie is a breeze. Toss the fruit with dark brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, and just hint of cinnamon and nutmeg. Peaches don’t need much to be delicious.

Let the filling sit for a few minutes to release any excess juice before transferring it into the bottom crust. Drape more crust over the top, then crimp and vent it before giving it a brush of egg wash and a good sprinkle of sugar. Bake your pie for about 45 minutes and let it cool to room temperature before slicing it up and serving it a la mode. I found Gifford’s Maine Wild Blueberry Ice Cream at Fairway the day after we returned from vacation 💙💙💙

Peach PieYeah, I take back everything I’ve ever said about not liking cooked stone fruit. This is a Peach Pie worth craving.Peach Pie

Peach Pie
makes one 9-inch standard pie

2 1/2-3 pounds whole fresh yellow peaches (about 8 medium peaches)
1 recipe Whole Wheat Pie Dough, or other good crust
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
3-4 tablespoons cornstarch, depending on juiciness of peaches

Egg Wash:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water

For Serving:
ice cream

Peel the peaches. Fill a 4-6 quart pot with water and bring it to a rolling boil. Fill a medium-large mixing bowl with ice water. Use a paring knife to cut a small “x” into the bottom of each peach. Blanch peach individually in boiling water for 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to remove it from the pot and plunge it into the ice water for 15-30 seconds, or until they can be handled. Remove the peach from the water and continue with all remaining fruit. Starting at the “x,” use your fingers to peel peaches. Once all peaches are peeled, pit and slice them. 

Preheat oven to 375F. On a floured surface, roll out one disc of pie dough to a 12-inch diameter and fit it in the pan. Trim the edges to 1/2-inch of overhang. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

In a large mixing bowl, combine peach slices, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cornstarch. Let sit 10 minutes to release some liquid. Transfer filling to prepared crust, leaving behind any excess liquid (there may be a lot). Refrigerate while you roll out the top crust.

On a floured surface, roll the remaining disc of pie dough to a 12-inch diameter. Lay it over the peach filling. Trim the overhang to 1/2-inch and crimp the edges. Use a small, thin knife to cut vents in the top crust.

Make the egg wash. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together egg and water. Use a pastry brush to brush the entire exposed crust with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 45-50 minutes, tenting with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly.

Let pie cool completely on a rack. Slice and serve with ice cream, if desired.

Pie will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}A few weeks ago, my boss asked me to cater a small engagement dinner for two of her friends. Normally, my job consists of grocery shopping and making dinner for her, her husband, and twin teenage boys, but every once in a while, she’ll ask me to pull out the big guns and cater a party. This wasn’t my first rodeo (I cater frequently for different people and organizations around Brooklyn), but this party had me a little nervous.

You see, the grooms-to-be are paleo. As in, they don’t eat grains, legumes, sugar, or dairy, among other things. I am used to having specific guidelines when I cook for others, but they’re usually something akin to “cut the salt” or “no nightshades,” not “cut out four food groups.”

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}I spent the days leading up to the party scouring the Internet for dinner party-worthy paleo recipes. I was apprehensive about choosing any of them–I am not paleo and don’t know many people who ascribe to that lifestyle, so I really felt like I was walking in blind. After much agonizing and many frantic late-night emails to my boss, I settled on this paleo Shrimp & Grits recipe (which is fantastic, by the way). One thing I didn’t have to worry about was dessert. I had seen a paleo cheesecake on Brown Eyed Baker several months before, and knew it would be perfect topped with ripe peaches. It was such a huge hit with the guests of honor that I knew I had to put it on here.

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}This Peachy Paleo Cheesecake is vegan, grain-free, and refined sugar-free, but is definitely still dessert. It’s sweet and creamy, with a nutty cinnamon-spiced date crust, and a topping of sliced late-summer peaches and a drizzle of maple syrup. It may not be anything like traditional cheesecake, but it is really delicious.

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}Let’s talk ingredients. As you may have gathered, this cheesecake contains no actual cheese. Here, the smooth and creamy filling comes from a combination of coconut cream, coconut oil, and cashews that have been soaked in water. When those three ingredients are combined in a food processor with some Grade B maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and a touch of salt, the result is ultra-velvety, coconut-scented magic.

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}The filling gets poured over a simple three-ingredient crust. To make the crust, combine 13 dates, a cup of almonds, and four tablespoons of cinnamon* in the bowl of your food processor. Whirl everything until the almonds are completely broken down, and the mixture holds together when you pinch it between your fingers. Then press it into an even layer on the bottom of a springform pan and top it with the filling.

*Yes, I said four tablespoons of cinnamon. When I first made this recipe, I thought that had to be a typo, but it’s not. I promise that this crust is not overly-spiced.

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}This cheesecake requires a long chill: eight hours in the refrigerator. It will seem absolutely endless. Lucky for you, I am the queen of impatience when it comes to waiting for my desserts to set up, so I found a little shortcut. The cake pictured was frozen for two hours after assembly, and looked and acted just like the paleo cheesecakes I’ve chilled in the refrigerator. Once your cheesecake is nice and cold, top it with sliced peaches (or any fruit you like) and drizzle it with a little more maple syrup!

This Peachy Paleo Cheesecake is delightfully smooth and creamy, with a crumbly crust and delicious fresh peaches. It’s absolutely delicious and guaranteed to be a hit with your paleo and non-paleo friends alike! Peaches will only be in season for a few more weeks, but I already have plans to try this recipe with sliced pears over the coming months.

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}Let me know if you try this or any of my other recipes! I’m on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter @e2bakesbrooklyn 💗

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}
adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
makes one 9-inch round cheesecake

Crust:
13 Medjool dates, pitted
1 cup raw almonds
4 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Filling:
2/3 cup raw cashews
1 14 ounce can coconut cream* (not cream of coconut)
1/3 cup Grade B maple syrup (or raw honey)
juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2/3 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled

Topping:
2 large peaches, thinly sliced
Grade B maple syrup (or raw honey), for drizzling

Place cashews in a small Tupperware. Cover with water. Refrigerate for 4-12 hours.

Place coconut cream in the refrigerator for 4-12 hours.

Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan with coconut oil.

Make the crust. Combine dates, almonds, and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor, and process until the almonds are broken down (about 15-20 seconds). Mixture will look dry, but should hold together when pinched. Pour crust mixture into prepared pan, and press it to the edges to form an even layer. Set aside.

Wash and dry the food processor, or wipe it out very well with a paper towel.

Make the filling. Drain cashews and place them in the food processor. Open coconut cream. Scoop the chilled cream from the top of the can, and discard the water accumulated in the bottom. Add coconut cream, maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt to the food processor. Process until the mixture is completely smooth. With the food processor running, drizzle coconut oil through the feed tube. Continue processing until everything is fully combined.

Pour filling mixture over crust. Refrigerate for 8 hours (or freeze for 2 hours). Release the cheesecake from the springform pan, and allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Top with sliced peaches and a drizzle of maple syrup, and serve immediately.

Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Note:

If you cannot find coconut cream, use two 13.5-ounce cans of full-fat coconut milk. Chill them and scoop off the coconut cream, as written in the recipe.