How is it Labor Day weekend already, the last official weekend of Summer, and I have only managed to bake one – exactly ONE – pie all season?
And it was weeks ago.
Sure, I’ve whipped up a couple of no-bake beauties, but this serious lack of buttery pastry and gooey fruit filling is troubling.
I plan to make up for my failings in spades once we get into the swing of Fall baking, rest assured.
Fruit pies are one of my very favorite things to bake, and just in the nick of time for your long weekend celebrations – I give you this wonderfully indulgent brown sugar peach pie.
Peach pie was one of the first recipes I learned to bake, out of the well-worn pages of the Joy of Cooking, and it remains a favorite.
I spent a week back home in Santa Barbara a few weeks ago and baked this brown sugar peach pie for my parents (thanks, Mama for being my model!). It takes cues from the classics, but is heavy on the brown sugar (obviously), and uses my favorite, easy-to-work-with all-butter pie crust.
As the pie cooks, and the peach juices release and bubble, the brown sugar in the filling adds a welcome caramel element, which is further enhanced with vanilla and warming spices – cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.
Sweet, sweet magic.
Let’s be honest, though, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with perfectly ripe August peaches, a good dose of brown sugar and cinnamon and vanilla, and of course deliciously flaky pastry!
Double 9-inch All-Butter Pie Crust
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 1 Tbsp organic cane sugar
- 1 tsp fine grain sea salt
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 8-12 Tbsp ice water
Brown Sugar Peach Pie Filling
- 6-8 (about 6 cups) large peaches, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup + 1 tsp organic cane sugar, divided
- 1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup arrowroot starch
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp all-purpose flour
- butter, for greasing
- optional: egg wash (1 egg yolk plus 1 Tbsp cream or whole milk)
- optional: Demerara sugar, for sprinkling
All-Butter Pie Crust
- Cut the butter into quarter-inch cubes. Place the butter in the freezer for at least ten minutes or until ready to use.
- Pulse together the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor, once or twice until just combined. Add the butter cubes to the flour mixture and pulse a few times until the butter is evenly distributed, with the largest butter bits about the size of large peas.
- Add the vinegar and ice water, pulsing once or twice between each tablespoon addition. The dough is ready when it appears crumbly, but will easily hold together when pinched between two fingers.
- Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured work surface and divide into two halves. Form each half into a round disk, working quickly and being careful not to over-handle the dough.
- Wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes prior to rolling it out. The pastry may be made in advance and stored for up to a day in the refrigerator or – if wrapped very tightly in plastic wrap – about a month in the freezer.
Brown Sugar Peach Pie
- Prepare the bottom crust: Remove one disk of dough from the fridge. Wait about 5 minutes for the dough to warm slightly and become pliable. Meanwhile, generously butter the pie pan. Set aside.
- Place the dough in the center of a clean, lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin – I prefer to use a French (tapered) rolling pin – start in the center of the disk, and roll outwards, with firm but gentle pressure. Turn the dough and continue rolling towards the edges. As you work, don’t be afraid to sprinkle additional flour on top of the dough and underneath, as well as on the rolling pin to avoid sticking.
- Continue rolling until the dough is about 2-inches larger in diameter than your pie pan and about 1/8-inch thick. As the dough gets larger, be careful to apply even pressure with the rolling pin across the entire surface of the dough.
- Gently transfer the dough to your buttered pie pan, being careful not to pull or tear the dough. Use your fingers to gently fit the dough against the sides and bottom of the pan. Using kitchen shears, trim the overhanging dough, leaving about an inch of excess (from the edge of the pan). Place in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
- Prepare the brown sugar peach filling: In a large mixing bowl, stir together the brown sugar, sugar, vanilla, arrowroot starch, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, until combined. Toss with the peaches. Set aside while you roll out the top crust (about 10 minutes).
- Prepare the top crust: Roll the second disk of dough out as directed above, to about 10-inches in diameter and 1/8-inch thick. Use a pastry cutter, sharp knife or pizza wheel to cut out 8-10 equal-width strips for the lattice top. Discard (munch on) the pie scraps.
- Assemble the pie: Remove the bottom crust from the refrigerator and sprinkle with 1 tsp each sugar and flour. Fill with the peach mixture. Weave your lattice crust across the pie and crimp the edges. Place the pie in the refrigerator to chill for 10-15 minutes.
- Bake the pie: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Brush the pie pastry with the egg wash, being careful not to drag any of the fruit filling onto the pastry (it will burn). Sprinkle with Demerara sugar (if using).
- Bake for 20-25 minutes on a nonstick or parchment paper lined rimmed sheet pan on the bottom rack of the oven until the crust is golden brown.
- Turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees F., move the pie to the middle rack, and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes until the filling is bubbly and the pie is golden brown and cooked through. Use a pie crust shield or aluminum foil tent as necessary to prevent the crust from burning.
- Remove the pie from the oven and let sit on a baking rack to cool for at least an hour before slicing. It will take a few hours to completely cool to room-temperature and fully set up.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with big scoops of vanilla ice cream. Will keep for up to a day at room temperature or up to week in the refrigerator.