Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fresh Peach Pie

We were watching Alton Brown's Good Eats one day when he made the pronouncement that Utah does not produce good peaches. I was shocked and awed. We most certainly do!

My co-worker Kent, who grew up in Georgia, told me that his mom would take Utah peaches back to Georgia to show off how great they were.

They're just so great! And before they cut down any more peach orchards in favor of housing or strip malls, and before this season is over and you can no longer get some fresh peaches from Brigham City or Stratton's in Orem, you must try this fresh peach pie recipe.

It's a recipe from Kulani's mom. Kulani's mom wasn't a "fancy chef," but the few things she did cook, she hit out of the ballpark. This is one of those recipes.

When Kulani and I had only been married for a few months, he told me how much he loved peach pie. I wanted to impress him one Sunday, so I got out my Betty Crocker recipe-of-all-recipe cookbooks I received as a wedding gift from some sweet person, and that I still use faithfully almost every week for good tried-and-true recipes. (I used to know who gave me every single wedding gift we received. I was overwhelmed with love for all the people who gave us a gift, and I only had to return three items. We needed everything.)

I found the recipe for peach pie. I found fresh peaches. I pealed them, sliced them, put them into the pie, and then I ... baked the pie.

Kulani said, "This is good, but it's not fresh peaches."

"Yes, it is," I told him. "I bought the peaches and pealed them myself."

"The peach pie I like doesn't cook the peaches."

And so I asked his mom for the recipe. And he is so right: peach pie should NOT be cooked. Don't go to the trouble of finding fresh, in-season peaches if you're just going to bake the pie. Use peach filling instead.

This recipe will have you yearning for fresh peach season. Especially Utah peaches, you hear me, Mr. Brown? Utah peaches!

This has three procedures: the crust, preparing the peaches, and the glaze that goes over the peaches.

For the peaches:
You need 8 or so peaches that are perfect. I hope I don't have to explain a perfect peach. Okay, I will anyway. It should be not too smooshy, but not too ripe. An old trick is that if the peaches are still a little hard when giving them the "gentle squeeze," put the peaches in a brown paper sack for a day or two, and then they should ripen up.
Peel the peaches.
Core and slice the peaches into a bowl and set aside.

For the crust:

Note: This recipe is for one pie crust.

1 cube of butter (either cold or room temparture; they both work)
1 cup flour
2 tbsp. sugar
dash of salt
few drops of almond extract
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In your Kitchenaid mixer with the cookie-dough mixer paddle, or by hand in a bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until the consistency of cookie dough. This crust resembles shortbread cookie dough, as it basically is.
  3. Press the dough into a pie pan.
  4. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, or the crust is a very soft brown. It doesn't hurt to poke holes all over the crust before putting it into the oven.
  5. Remove and let cool.
For the Glaze

Note: This recipe is for three pies.

2 cups boiling water
2 1/2 cups of sugar
3/4 cup cornstarch
3 ounces of orange/pineapple mix Jello. (They don't make this variety anymore, so I mix half a package of orange and half a package of pineapple. However, you can't always find pineapple Jello, so I've also just tried the peach-flavored Jello, and it also works.)
1 1/2 cups cold water
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
  1. In a pot on your stove, mix the sugar, 1 1/2 cups cold water, cornstarch, and salt until boiling and thick. I usually set the stove to medium-high. This may take around four minutes or so. Sometimes it seems like it takes forever to get it thick. If it's not to a syrupy thickness after about five minutes, add a tablespoon more of cornstarch. Stir some more, and then just go onto the next step. You have to do it to know what I'm talking about, but after I add the next step, sometimes the mixture suddenly comes together.
  2. Add two cups boiling water and continue to stir for about one minute. Here is where you should see the consistency turn into a weird, gellatenous caramel-like consistency. Turn off the heat. Add the Jello and lemon juice, and stir to combine.
  3. Let the mixture cool slightly, for about five to 10 minutes, before assembling the pie.
Final steps:
  1. Place the cut-up peaches in the crust.
  2. Pour one-third of the glaze over the peaches in the crust. Sometimes I like to stir the peaches in the crust, so that the glaze gets over the peaches at the bottom. Save the rest of the glaze for when you make other pies. 
  3. You can serve the pie right then, or refrigerate for later. I always add a dollup of whippedcream to the top.


JL said...

There may be a better way to interpret what A.B. said about Utah peaches. If I remember correctly (do I?) he said something like, Utah peaches will look better than they taste.

So, if you think about it, that statment says nothing directly about how good they taste, just that they will look even better.

So maybe he was thinking that Utah peaches taste really good and look even better.

JL said...

I tried the recipe. It worked out great. I just used peach jello mix. I overdid it with the corn starch because I didn't realize what was going to happen when I added the 2 cups boiling water.

Good stuff.

Ed and Amanda said...

Cindy, THANK YOU. I have been dreaming of this peach pie since you had us over for dinner and served it. I too, a Georgia girl must say that it is the best peach pie I have ever had the privilege of eating. I can't wait to make it this summer!