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.

Blackberry Pie

Blackberry PieI hope you have a place like Swans Island.

Blackberry PieI don’t necessarily mean an island off the coast of Maine with one store and a population of 300 (but I highly recommend it). I mean a place that you find endlessly enchanting. For my parents, it’s Santa Fe. For my older sister, it’s Isla Mujeres, Mexico. For me, it’s this little island four miles out to sea. I just can’t get enough.

Blackberry PieThe appeal of this place isn’t the broad spectrum of activities—in fact, it’s the opposite that keeps me counting the days between trips. Whereas in New York I am constantly bombarded with people and noise and tasks that must be dealt with right-this-second, on Swans Island, a car passes the house once every ten minutes, the only consistent sound is that of a bell on a lobster boat floating a mile away, and there is literally nothing I have to do. As Swans Island has limited phone and internet access too, this is a place where it really is possible to get away from it all.

Blackberry PieBlackberry PieFaced with a lack of activities, each of my friends and I have found ways to pass the time. Almost all of the things we do together (hiking, beaching, cooking, etc.) take place in the afternoons, so we each have to find a way to while away the mornings. Adam has been tearing through a book, VJ has put together 2.5 puzzles, and I have been wandering the sides of the road with a saucepan in hand, foraging for berries.

Blackberry PieThe last time I was here, I found mostly blueberries and raspberries—Blue-Razz Pie was the result. This time, the vast majority of the berries have been blackberries, so Blackberry Pie it is.

Blackberry PieBlackberry PieBlackberry PieThis pie, y’all. It’s made with my Whole Wheat Pie Dough and a super simple blackberry filling. Just fold some sugar, cinnamon, lime, and cornstarch into a few cups of fresh blackberries and it’s good to go. Now you can concentrate on the top crust.

Blackberry PieWhile you may top your pie however you like, may I suggest a lattice? They’re very easy and I love all the pockets of blackberry filling that peek through. Start by laying a few strips of dough parallel across the top of the filling. I cut my strips in different widths because I think it’s cute.

Blackberry PiePeel back a couple of the strips of dough and lay one perpendicularly across the filling. Then place all the strips back in their original positions.

Blackberry PiePull up the strips you didn’t move the first time and lay another strip across. Keep doing this until you don’t have any room left.

Blackberry PieBlackberry PieBlackberry PieCrimp the crust, brush it with egg wash, and give it a good sprinkle of sugar.Blackberry PieBlackberry Pie

Bake until beautiful and serve a la mode.Blackberry PieBlackberry Pie

Share with friends and definitely go back for seconds. It’s vacation, after all.Blackberry PieBlackberry Pie

Blackberry Pie
makes one 9-inch standard pie

1 recipe Whole Wheat Pie Dough or other good crust
4 cups fresh blackberries
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3-4 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
juice of 1/2 lime

Egg Wash:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
sugar, for sprinkling

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 blackberries, sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, salt, and lime. Fold with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until everything is evenly coated. Transfer filling to prepared crust, discarding any excess liquid. Refrigerate.

On a floured surface, roll out the other disc of pie dough to a 12-inch diameter. If you’d like a lattice crust, slice the rolled dough into strips (see photos above for instructions). If you want a full top crust, lay the rolled-out dough on top of the filling and cut a few vents. Trim the edges to 1/2-inch of overhang, and crimp the top and bottom crust edges together. Refrigerate.

Preheat the oven to 375F. 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.

Whole Wheat Pie Dough

Whole Wheat Pie DoughI have a lot of feelings about pie crust. Namely, that it should be easy, homemade, have defined flaky layers, and be insanely delicious. No hard, crunchy, cardboard-flavored crusts for me, thanks.

Whole Wheat Pie DoughWhole Wheat Pie DoughNow, I have a pie crust that is all these things and more. Yes, my Cream Cheese Pie Dough is perfection, as far as I’m concerned. And what’s not to love? The dough is simple to make and never, ever tears during rolling. It goes well with sweet and savory applications. It has so many layers that I have had friends comment that it’s akin to having a pie wrapped in croissant dough. And it really is delicious.

I could go on and on about that crust all day. Really, I could. But as much as I love it, sometimes I just need a change.

Whole Wheat Pie DoughWhole Wheat Pie DoughEnter this Whole Wheat Pie Dough. It has all the ease, flakiness, and versatility of my beloved Cream Cheese Pie Dough, but with a rich whole wheat flavor. It might sound a little odd, the idea of a pie made with a whole grain crust, but trust me when I say that it’s shockingly good. The combination of sweet, jammy fruit and nubbly wheat crust–let’s just say it’s the dessert you never knew you wanted.

If you don’t believe me, just wait–I have a Strawberry Rhubarb Galette coming your way tomorrow 😊🍓Whole Wheat Pie Dough

Whole Wheat Pie Dough
makes two 9-inch pie crusts

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes
2/3-3/4 cup buttermilk, very cold

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add cold butter, and use a handheld pastry blender to cut it into the dry ingredients until the smallest pieces are the size of large peas. Pour in 1/2 cup cold buttermilk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until clumps form. Add more buttermilk by the tablespoon, as necessary. Put your hands* in the bowl to knead the mixture until it comes together. Form the dough into two discs, and wrap them individually in plastic wrap. Chill for one hour, or up to two days.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Take one disc of dough out of the refrigerator, unwrap it, and place it on the surface. Press the dough with the rolling pin. Roll it in one direction 3-4 times, and then turn it 90 degrees. Roll in one direction 3-4 times. Repeat rolling and turning until dough is at least 12 inches in diameter, dusting with more flour as necessary to prevent sticking.

Fold dough in quarters, and place in a pie plate with the scraggly edges hanging over the outside of the pan. Unfold the dough to fill the pan. Trim the excess to 1/2 inch. Fill crust with filling and chill for at least 15 minutes. From here, there are two options.

For a single crust pie, crimp the edges, and brush them with additional buttermilk. and bake at 375F for 45 minutes to one hour, covering the crust with foil halfway through. Let cool at least three hours.

For a double crust pie, roll out the top crust the same way that you did the bottom crust. Cut into strips for a lattice,* or leave whole to cover the whole pie. Trim the excess to 1/2 inch. Crimp the edges, then chill for 15 minutes. Brush the crust with additional buttermilk. Cut vents if the top crust is whole. Bake at 375F for 45 minutes to one hour. Let cool for at least three hours.

Notes:

If your hands are warm, run them under cold water for thirty seconds (and then dry them) before kneading.

Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut Cream PieHappy Pi(e) Day! Oh yes, it’s that one glorious day where we celebrate math (Pi = 3.14) and everyone’s favorite dessert.

When I started thinking about what pie I would celebrate with, it was 65 degrees and sunny outside. Coconut Cream Pie sounded ideal for those conditions. Today, it’s snowing. Coconut Cream Pie still sounds ideal.

Coconut Cream PieThere are many coconut cream pie recipes on the internet, and while I’m sure they are delicious, I am not necessarily interested in making a pie out of boxed pudding mix and cream cheese. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for anything that gets you in the kitchen to make a pie, but when I want Coconut Cream Pie, I skip the pudding mix and reach straight for my second-edition copy of Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book. The book may be held together with tape and prayer, but it is a treasure. Not only does it give the reader a look into how Americans used to eat (so. much. gelatin.), it also contains tons of fantastic old-fashioned desserts that are rarely made from scratch these days.

Coconut Cream PieThis Coconut Cream Pie tastes every bit as good as the pies my grandma used to make. It starts by blitzing a graham cracker crust together in a food processor. Press that into a pie plate and bake it for ten minutes, just to set. Then turn off your oven–that’s all the baking this pie requires.

The filling comes together on the stovetop. Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt, and milk over medium-high until the mixture thickens and boils for one minute. Slowly whisk 1/3 of the mixture into a few egg yolks (so you don’t have scrambled eggs in your pie–gross). Add the mixture back to the pot and let boil for two more minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in vanilla and coconut extracts, followed by two tablespoons of butter. Fold in some sweetened shredded coconut and scrape the filling into the crust. Cover it with plastic wrap and chill for a few hours. This will be agony.Coconut Cream Pie

Once the filling is set, top it with some whipped cream and toasted coconut. Slice up your pie and prepare to fall in love with it. The crumbly, crunchy graham cracker crust. The creamy, coconut-studded filling. The light, sweet layer of whipped cream. What’s not to love?!

Coconut Cream PieLooking for more old-fashioned pies? Check out this Chocolate Cream Pie and this Lemon Meringue Pie!

Coconut Cream Pie
adapted from Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book
makes one 9-inch standard pie

Crust:
9 sheets graham crackers
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon coconut extract (optional, but recommended)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Topping:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2-3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
toasted coconut, for topping (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Make the crust. Place graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and process until no large pieces remain. Add light brown sugar, melted butter, and salt. Process until the mixture resembles wet sand, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch standard pie plate and use clean hands to press the mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake crust for 10 minutes. Cool it on a rack while you prepare the filling.

In a medium-large saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Place the pan over medium-high heat. Whisking constantly, pour the milk into the dry ingredients. Continue to whisk until the mixture boils for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low.

Whisk egg yolks with a fork. Remove 1/3 of the warm pudding mixture from the pot. Whisking constantly, slowly pour milk mixture into the egg yolks until completely combined. Add egg yolk mixture to the pot and turn heat back up to medium-high. Continue to whisk until mixture boils for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in vanilla and coconut extracts and butter. Fold in coconut. Pour filling into prepared crust. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and chill for at least four hours or overnight.

Make the whipped cream. In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla. Use an electric mixer to whip cream until stiff peaks form. Top pie with whipped cream. Top with toasted coconut, if desired.

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

Chocolate Hazelnut Pie

Chocolate Hazelnut PieI’ve only been blogging for a year, but in that limited time I think I’ve given you pie options that will please just about everyone at your holiday table. From a decidedly not-dense Pumpkin Pie to the elegant Black Bottom Pear & Almond Pie to a pecan pie completely devoid of corn syrup, I’ve got you covered. Of course, there’s always that one person who doesn’t care for pie, but they can have Pumpkin Icebox Cake. And for that lunatic who doesn’t like sweets…well, give them thirds on stuffing.

Chocolate Hazelnut PieSo, what else could I think to bake into a pie this close to Thanksgiving? Well, an entire jar of Nutella. And tons of toasted hazelnuts and chocolate chips. Chocolate Hazelnut Pie, y’all. I’d say I’m sorry for throwing a wrench into your dessert menu plans, but I’m not 😊

Chocolate Hazelnut PieThis pie, you guys. It’s a thing to behold. It starts the way most do, by rolling out pie dough and fitting it into a pie plate. Pretty standard stuff, but that’s about as classic as this pie gets. Once that pie crust is crimped and beautiful, fill it with the entire contents of a jar of Nutella. Yes, the whole jar (except that spoonful you’re saving for your mid-baking snack). Spread it around with the back of a spoon until it’s in a mostly-even layer. It may not want to stick to the crust at first due to any residual flour, but keep moving the spoon until it does.

Once all that glorious chocolate-hazelnut spread is in the pie crust, put it in the freezer while you make the filling. Toast some hazelnuts in the oven and then envelop them in a clean kitchen towel. Lay the towel on the counter and rub to release the skins from the hazelnuts. This step doesn’t have to be done perfectly, so don’t stress yourself out. If some hazelnuts still have a bit of skin (or a lot of it), they just do. More of the skins will come off when you chop the nuts, but again, don’t make yourself crazy. They’re going in a pie with a bunch of chocolate and Nutella. Nobody’s going to notice an errant fleck of hazelnut skin.

Chocolate Hazelnut PieRemove the Nutella-filled pie crust from the freezer and scatter the chopped hazelnuts over the top. Throw in a cup of semisweet chocolate chips, too. And then drown everything in a gooey mixture of dark corn syrup,* sugar, eggs, melted butter, apple cider vinegar, vanilla, and salt. Brush the exposed crust with milk and bake the pie for 50-55 minutes, until golden. And then wait for a seemingly never-ending few hours until you can have a slice.

*Note: Dark Corn Syrup is not the same as High Fructose Corn Syrup. If you still don’t care to use it, I’ve written a substitution in the notes below.

Chocolate Hazelnut PieChocolate Hazelnut PieA few words of warning about this Chocolate Hazelnut Pie. 1) It’s a bit gooey and won’t slice completely cleanly, but it isn’t a challenge by any means. 2) This pie is pretty sweet and is best served in small slices. A touch of unsweetened or barely sweetened whipped cream couldn’t hurt. 3) Ignore my suggestions about tiny slices because this nutty, chocolaty pie is a Nutella lover’s dream. Thanksgiving is one day per year. Eat your Nutella-filled pie with gusto and be thankful that it exists. I know I am.

Now, someone come take the last 3/4 of this pie away from me before I eat the whole thing.Chocolate Hazelnut Pie

Chocolate Hazelnut Pie
makes 1 deep-dish (or standard*) 9-inch pie

1 1/2 cups whole raw hazelnuts
1/2 recipe Cream Cheese Pie Dough or other good crust
1 13 ounce jar Nutella (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 cup dark corn syrup*
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
milk, for brushing
whipped cream, for serving

Place oven racks at the top and bottom positions. Preheat the oven to 350F. Lay hazelnuts in an even layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Toast for 5 minutes. Check to see if they are fragrant and the skins are starting to split. If they aren’t, toast an additional 1-2 minutes. Allow the warm hazelnuts to rest for 2-3 minutes before pouring them onto the middle of a kitchen towel on a flat surface. Fold the kitchen towel over the hazelnuts and then use your hands to rub the towel until the skins release from the hazelnuts. Discard the skins. Roughly chop the hazelnuts. Set aside.

On a floured surface, roll pie dough to a 12-inch diameter. Transfer dough to a deep dish (or standard) pie plate. Trim the excess to 1/2-inch and crimp the edges. Freeze crust for 5 minutes. Use the back of a spoon to spread the Nutella in an even layer over the bottom of the pie crust before freezing for at least 15 more minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dark corn syrup and granulated sugar. Add eggs one at a time, whisking completely after each addition. Stir in apple cider vinegar, vanilla, and salt. While whisking constantly, drizzle in melted butter.

Remove pie crust from the freezer and lay it on a baking sheet. Sprinkle chopped hazelnuts and semisweet chocolate chips over the layer of Nutella. Pour liquid mixture over the top.* Brush any exposed crust with milk. Bake pie on the bottom rack of the oven for 25 minutes. Move pie to the top rack and very loosely tent with foil. Bake an additional 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for 5-10 more minutes, until golden. The filling should jiggle a little when it comes out of the oven, but will solidify within ten minutes.

Let pie cool completely on a rack. Serve in small slices with whipped cream, if desired.

Pie will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.

Notes:

1. A deep-dish pie plate is recommended for this pie, but a standard will work. If you use a standard pie plate, you may have some leftover filling.
2. If you do not wish to use dark corn syrup, you may make a substitute with molasses and Lyle’s Golden Syrup (or mild honey). Pour 1/4 cup molasses in the bottom of a liquid measuring cup. Add 3/4 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup. Stir. Continue with recipe as written.
3. If you are using a standard pie plate, you may have some leftover liquid mixture.