However. They are NOT the easiest fruit in the world to work with when you are baking with them. You have to boil them for a few minutes in order to peel them, and then you have to deal with getting the dang peach pit out of the center. All the peaches I have ever met hang on to that pit for dear life, and so I usually end up spending a lot of quality time with my paring knife and peach juice running down my arm. So if I am going to go through all that (and who knows, maybe it is just me and the rest of the world only runs into well-behaved peaches), then whatever I am making better be worth it.
Ladies and gentlemen, please meet Peaches and Cream Pie, otherwise known as Worth It.
One of my other issues is usually with peach pies…actually with most fruit pies…and that is that while they are usually scrumptious, they are also, well, super-messy. All that lovely juice quadruples in volume in the oven, and when you cut into your gorgeous pie it kind of collapses on you into a delicious but soupy puddle of fruit and crust. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but just once I wanted to make a well-behaved pie. And here it is…and here’s the secret.
You still have to wrangle with the peaches – the peeling, the pitting, etc – but once you have your peaches peeled and pitted and cut in half, you lay them on a foil-lined cookie sheet and sprinkle them with some sugar, and then you bake them until they have caramelized and released some of that juice I was talking about. (And as an extra added bonus, you can also pre-bake your pie shell in the very same oven. Better and better!).
Then you slice up the caramelized peaches, drop them in your conveniently pre-baked pie-shell, and cover the whole thing with a custard mixture of eggs and cream and bake it until it is golden and wonderful and perfect. You can tell when people start wandering into the kitchen and lurking around near the oven. You then have to break the news that not only does it have to cool for about three hours, but you were actually planning to serve it AFTER dinner and not before.
Of course, you could make an exception, just this once.
- One 9 inch unbaked pie shell
- 2 pounds ripe peaches, peeled, halved and pitted
- 2 tablespoons plus ½ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 2 large egg yolks
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cover pie shell with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 40 minutes, then freeze for 20 minutes. Adjust oven racks to upper middle and lower middle positions and preheat to 375.
- Line chilled pie shell with foil and top with pie weights.
- Place peach halves cut side up on foil-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake on the upper middle rack until softened and juice starts to release, about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through baking.
- Now add pie crust to oven on the lower middle rack and bake for 15 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights and bake crust and peaches for 5 minutes more. Remove and cool both crust and peaches for 15 minutes.
- Reduce oven to 325. Cut peaches length-wise in quarters and arrange in a single layer over crust.
- Combine remaining sugar, flour and salt in bowl. Whisk in cream, egg yolks and vanilla until smooth and pour the mixture over the peaches.
- Bake until filling is light golden and set, about 45-55 minutes. Cool for three hours before serving.
Adapted from Cooks Country