Back to previous post: “Dear Twelve Rabid Weasels of SFWA, please shut the fuck up.”

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Friends, Photons, Fluorospherians, lend me your sense-organs!

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

July 6, 2013

Peach Pie
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 07:08 PM * 35 comments

Since it’s the season (and the perfect dessert for a nice summery dinner):

Peach Pie

  • 2 lbs ripe peaches
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsifted all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup granulated (white) sugar
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp half&half or light cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 9” unbaked pie shell in pie plate

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Wash, peel, and slice the peaches.

Combine the brown sugar and flour in a bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter to form a coarse crumbly mixture.

Place about ½ cup of the brown-sugar-flour-butter mixture evenly into the bottom of the pie shell. Add the sliced peaches (you should have roughly 4 cups).

Mix the white sugar with the nutmeg. Sprinkle on top of the peaches.

Put the egg, half&half, and vanilla into a bowl. Stir until combined. Pour over the peaches.

Spread the rest of the brown-sugar-flour-butter mixture evenly (or as evenly as possible) on top of the peaches. Put into the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. The top should be golden-brown all over.

Allow to cool. Serve it forth.

Cooking With Light (recipe index)
Comments on Peach Pie:
#1 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2013, 09:22 PM:

If you like, it's okay to leave out the 1/2 cup of white sugar and add the nutmeg to the milk/egg mixture.

#2 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2013, 09:35 PM:

It is not "the season". "The season" would be some month when turning the oven on is an imaginable task.

(New England: sort of uncomfortable right now. My air conditioning is not up to it. We hear rumors of rain tomorrow evening, but we dismiss them as propaganda by the Dark Lord of Sunlight.)

#3 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2013, 09:55 PM:

Will you hate me if I tell you it's 68 degrees outside?

#4 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2013, 10:03 PM:

Jim Macdonald (3): Considering it hit 94°F here today, yes.

My reaction to this recipe was much like Andrew Plotkin's; I don't turn the oven on at all for about four straight months, in the summer.

#5 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2013, 10:05 PM:

Okay! Up next, pan frying a steak!

#6 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2013, 10:09 PM:

Peach cobbler, with vanilla ice cream. (Topping: lightly sweetened biscuit dough, with, say, a little allspice in it.)

#7 ::: Darice Moore ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2013, 10:23 PM:

We do a "soda cracker pie" for peaches -- you make an egg white-based crust that includes crushed saltines and pecans, bake it, then let it cool. Then you peel and slice your peaches or nectarines -- they need to be really juicy, almost to the point of being overripe -- and pour the peaches and their juice into the crust. You let it sit so the juices sink into the crust (which will collapse a bit under the weight), and top it with whipped cream right before serving. If we aren't going to serve it all at one go, I top each slice with whipped cream as served.

I'd put the recipe for the crust here but I need to find the family one. The one I found online wasn't the same. (Also, note that you can put any other juicy sliced fruit on top of the crust; it's just always been peaches for my family.)

#8 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2013, 12:23 AM:

We do turn on the oven, a benefit of our ancient house is that the kitchen is on the back and does not heat up the rest of it. I WANT.

I will likely be baking one in the next week or so.

#9 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2013, 02:21 AM:

I'd add almonds to the crumbly mixture, and a very little almond essence (safer than using peach kernels).

Also, if you happen to be near a Middle-Eastern or Pakistani grocery, rosewater goes extremely well well with peaches. Mix a little into whipped cream or Greek yoghurt.

#10 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2013, 02:41 AM:

A peach dessert you can make without turning your oven on, if you like:

Peach & Ice Wine Soup


200 ml (7 oz) Ice Wine
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) Cinnamon
1.25 ml (1/4) tsp) Nutmeg
700 g (1.5 lbs) Peaches, quite ripe, peeled and chunked (5 or 6 medium peaches, -ish)
4 scoops vanilla ice cream (or your favourite flavour)
8 Cinnamon sticks
500 ml (2 cups) Fresh berries, macerated in Drambuie – Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Gooseberries, Etc.


To make peaches easier to peel, put them in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then transfer them immediately to ice water.

Place ice wine, peach chunks, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a pot and stir. Cook over high heat for 15 minutes to allow peaches to cook down. Stir frequently and reduce heat if necessary.

Remove from heat when peaches are tender. Cool to a safe temperature for blending.

Place in a food processor or blender and process until completely smooth.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Into a conveniently sized bowl, spoon 1/4 of the soup. Arrange 2 cinnamon sticks so they form a V shape. Spoon ice cream into the V. Spoon 1/4 of the macerated berries over the ice cream.
Maybe decorate with wafers and fresh mint, if you like.

Serves 4.

I actually lost this recipe and had to recreate it from memory (and some input from former dinner party guests). I'm still not sure I got it exactly right, but it still really very good.

Ice wine, of course, may be unavailable in your region. It's a dessert wine, very sweet and fruity, comparable to port, if you're looking to substitute something else. Let me know how it turns out if you do!

#11 ::: Andrew Wells ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2013, 04:29 AM:

What would the "vanilla" in the original recipe be? Vanilla extract? essence? something else?

#12 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2013, 10:04 AM:

Assume vanilla extract unless it's otherwise specified.

#13 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2013, 10:16 AM:

Thank you for immediately answering my question: is all that sugar necessary? I'm thinking that there will be peach pie around here soon.

#14 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2013, 10:16 AM:

I'll add "extract" to make it clear.

#15 ::: Andrew Wells ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2013, 10:21 AM:

P J @ 12, Jim @ 14, thank you.

Beth @ 13, I'm not sure I would have called that "all that" sugar, as it is less than 25% of the ingredients; but then, I do have a famously sweet tooth :-)

#16 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2013, 11:07 AM:

Too bad we ate up all the peaches, with vanilla ice cream, before I got round to reading this and getting inspired. DH is a huge fan of pie.

#17 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2013, 11:22 AM:

Beth @13, I haven't made this peach pie, but speaking as someone who once baked pies for 22 hours straight the day before Thanksgiving, I would say that a) that's about how much sugar I'd put in a standard fruit pie, b) the brown sugar is essential to the texture of the streusel mixture, c) the white sugar helps create the nice syrupy texture of the juice, and so will help thicken the custard produced by the cream and egg, and d) you could probably cut the white sugar down to 1/3 cup without seriously affecting the custard, but I'd be wary of dropping it lower.

You might be able to reduce it to 1/4 cup by sifting a tablespoon or so of cornstarch with the sugar, but that will tend to deaden the fresh flavor of the peaches. It's fine, even necessary for a peach pie done with frozen peaches, but for fresh peaches? Why spoil it?

#18 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2013, 12:06 PM:

I just asked Macdonald, and he says he didn't use any white sugar at all in last night's peach pie. And I can testify that it worked just fine (mmmmm...leftover pie for breakfast!)

Then again, those peaches were so dead ripe they were at the looks-like-sin stage, oozing juice and practically slipping out of their skins. Adding any more sugar to them would have been overkill.

I suppose the general guideline would be "vary the sugar according to the ripeness of your peaches." If they aren't ripe enough when you buy them -- and they probably won't be because truly ripe peaches are too soft to ship -- a day or so at room temperature inside a brown paper bag does the trick.

#19 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2013, 04:05 AM:

I'm surprised Jim's comment about "the perfect desert for a nice summery dinner" hasn't got more response.

I've always been a fan of the Atacama, myself.

#20 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2013, 11:19 AM:

On the one hand, turning on the oven in a Maryland summer is all but unimaginable. On the other hand, the season for sour cherries is very brief indeed, and a fresh sour cherry pie is worth it.

Make your favorite pie crust recipe (I like an all-butter crust) or use a packaged crust. You'll need two crusts, this is a lattice-top pie. Pit the sour cherries, which takes an eternity and is why you make this only for people you love. You need about 6 cups, depending on the size of your pie pan - I have a 9.5" pan and scaled up the recipe from a 9" pan that required 5 cups. This was about two quart-sized baskets from the farmers' market. The original recipe said two pounds, but I didn't weight them. Whisk together a cup of sugar, 3 T of cornstarch for 5 cups cherries plus a little more if you're scaling it up like I did (this still gives a very juicy filling), and a quarter-teaspoon of salt. Mix the cherries into this, add a teaspoon of lemon juice and a half-teaspoon of almond extract, and let it sit for a while. (If you're allergic to or don't like almonds you could use vanilla extract, it's what the original recipe called for anyway, or just leave it out.) Roll out the crust if you made it yourself, and put it into your pie pan. Fill with the cherries; it should be mounded up in the middle. Now would be a good time to start preheating the oven to 425 F. Cut the other crust into 1" strips and make a lattice top by crisscrossing the strips. Seal the edges of the crust. Cover the edges of the crust with foil; it gets too brown otherwise, and it's much easier to get the foil on evenly if you do it now than if you try to do it when everything's hot halfway through. Put the pie in the oven. After 15 minutes turn the heat down to 375 and bake for about another hour, taking the foil off after about another 15 minutes.

#21 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2013, 12:56 PM:

Things have cooled off enough that I could contemplate making a grilled-cheese sandwich, at least.

I still intend to make gazpacho this week. *Bucket of gazpacho*. But there may be pie as well.

#22 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2013, 01:42 PM:

Here's a recipe for a fruit tart crust that I recently worked out. One recipe is enough for a 12" tart shell (or pizza pan in a pinch). It's probably enough for 2 9" pie shells. I use the metric amounts, but have given approximate non-metric amounts.

5/8c (120g) sugar
1/2c (90g) shortening
1/4c (45g) margarine
1 egg
1 TB milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (320g) flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Cream fats and sugar. Add egg, milk and vanilla; blend well. Add dry ingredients.

Roll out or press dough into greased pan. Prick with fork. Bake at 375F/180C for about 20 minutes. If using tart shell, remove crust from form. Let cool.

This can be filled with fresh or canned fruit, with or without a cream base. I spread the cooled crust with apricot jam, then top with strawberries, peaches, or mixed fruit, then glaze. You can freeze the dough, and/or bake the crust in the evening when it's not quite so hot.

This is actually a modified sugar cookie recipe. I've been unhappy with shortbread crust (flavor's good, but too hard and crumbly IMO), and another traditional German tart recipe (more pliable, but too egg-y). This is a little chewier than shortbread crust, but isn't overly sweet. Maybe the baking powder makes a difference.

#23 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2013, 04:48 PM:

Paul A. @19: I noticed the typo, thought "meh", and moved on.

Andrew Plotkin @21: I've already made gazpacho three times this summer. (Katie really likes gazpacho.)

N.B.: that's "three times since late May" not "three times since the solstice". I live in Texas.

#24 ::: Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2013, 06:24 PM:

I made this without the half cup of white sugar for my diabetic husband and it is still very tasty and naturally sweet. Thanks for a great recipe.

#25 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 01:26 AM:

Just this weekend, despite the heat, I pulled some apples I'd put up last fall out of the freezer and made an apple pie according to Grandma's recipe, save only for substituting gluten-free flour for the wheat. (Baking it was like setting off high explosives -- I shoved the pie in the oven and ran from the room.) The pie turned out quite well, all things considered, but I was out of apples and had enough crust for another pie.

It was at that point that I started jonesing for a peach pie -- but sadly, Grandma being of good Scandinavian-Lutheran extraction, her recipe box had a dozen ways each to do apples and rhubarb, but no peach pie. "Well," I says to myself, without much enthusiasm, "maybe I can find something on the Internet," but I didn't actually go looking, because the commercial recipe sites are a giant uncurated morass. And lo! behold! the prayers I hadn't known myself to be making are answered.

Now, how the heck do you have ripe-to-bursting peaches in New Hampshire and I have seen not a one in Boston? Is the yuppie farmer's market holding out on me?

#26 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 06:48 PM:

My peaches, here in Southern California, aren't quite ripe, yet, and with frequent triple-diget days and no AC I'm not about to even think of pies.... but I'll try to work out a slow-cooker peach cobbler.

The trees I have are umpteenth-generation seedlings of a flowering/fruiting variety producing fruit that are edible & quite tasty for pies, cobblers, &cet for a period of about four hours before becoming compost. *sigh*

#27 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 07:02 PM:

Don, if you can get hold of 'Crock-It', it has a couple of recipes for peaches done in a slow cooker. (It's my go-to slow-cooker cook book, because it's not exotic ingredients and doing lots of stuff in pans first.)

#28 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 08:42 PM:

Don Fitch @26, one can cook cobblers in slow cookers???

Recipe, please?

#29 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 10:24 AM:

One alternative to baking -- for those of us suffering the heat -- is to microwave the fresh peach, with (or without) sugar, cinnamon, etc., and after heating, to top it with cream (ice or whipped). I halve the peach and pit it; place it in my microwave-safe bowl, and zap it for at least one minute. It's not pie, but it's warm peach with cream, and it doesn't heat the house.

I also do this with applesauce, but only for about 30 seconds per cup; topping it with cinnamon pre-zap and ice cream post-zap.

#30 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2013, 09:34 PM:

Evil Mad Scientist Labs has a recipe up for peach chutney.

#31 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2013, 11:02 PM:

Our annual treat is half raspberry-half rhubarb pie, both the raspberry and the rhubarb grown on our land, with lots of ginger. However, this year I can't find any pre-made pie crust that doesn't have artificial food coloring in it. I guess I'll have to find the time to practice making old-fashioned pie crust with lard.

#32 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2013, 09:41 AM:

Grilled peaches are also very nice, on days when it's too hot to breathe, much less run the oven. Make sure your grill is scrupulously clean, of course, so you don't end up with peaches tasting vaguely of onions and charred meat. If you're feeling extravagant, serve them with a little blue or mascarpone cheese and a little good balsamic vinegar.

#33 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2013, 09:59 PM:

I had a near-disaster with my second attempt at gluten-free pie crust, using a blend of flours -- pie crust should not boil -- such that I'm going back to straight King Arthur gluten-free all-purpose next time. Thankfully I caught it before I ended up with smoked peach pie, and not the good kind of smoked.

That disaster averted, I must say, this recipe makes a mighty fine pie. I made two, one which is almost gone and one which will be coming with me to work tomorrow.

#34 ::: Mina W ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2013, 06:27 PM:

I've been meaning to make this all summer. The farmers' markets still have peaches, so I still have a chance. And it's not quite so hot this week, though heating up again.

Thought I'd share, even if belatedly, my tip for baking in the summer, from years of baking bread.

Where I live is among trees — more shade in summer, but not total. No air-conditioning, just fans. N. Calif. foothills, it gets hot. But, usually it gets cool at night. I probably wouldn't bake if it were not cooling off.

The best time of day to turn on the oven is in late-afternoon/early-evening, just before it starts to cool off. That way, when done, fans go on and clear out the hot air as quickly as possible.

It's also the best time for the annual first-really-hot-day test of the roof sprinklers that Grandpa put in. Just at the end of the day, when the last sun is on the roof, for the maximum evaporative cooling, and when it can help the house cool down for the night.

Maybe I should make it a tradition to bake peach pie on roof-sprinkler-test day.

Welcome to Making Light's comment section. The moderators are Avram Grumer, Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and Abi Sutherland. Abi is the moderator most frequently onsite. She's also the kindest. Teresa is the theoretician. Are you feeling lucky?

Comments containing more than seven URLs will be held for approval. If you want to comment on a thread that's been closed, please post to the most recent "Open Thread" discussion.

You can subscribe (via RSS) to this particular comment thread. (If this option is baffling, here's a quick introduction.)

Post a comment.
(Real e-mail addresses and URLs only, please.)

HTML Tags:
<strong>Strong</strong> = Strong
<em>Emphasized</em> = Emphasized
<a href="">Linked text</a> = Linked text

Spelling reference:
Tolkien. Minuscule. Gandhi. Millennium. Delany. Embarrassment. Publishers Weekly. Occurrence. Asimov. Weird. Connoisseur. Accommodate. Hierarchy. Deity. Etiquette. Pharaoh. Teresa. Its. Macdonald. Nielsen Hayden. It's. Fluorosphere. Barack. More here.

(You must preview before posting.)

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.