Editor’s Note: Throughout this summer and harvest season, we are featuring photos and recipes from Tom Conway, who has a hearty appetite for growing and cooking good food, and putting in a good day on his Vashon Island farm. Bon appetit!
By Tom Conway
Peach Pie: How Do I Love Thee?
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height of juicy fruit and tender crust.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s most delicious bite by morning sun or candlelight.
I love thee freely, as my senses delight;
I love thee purely, as sun-born fruit upon my plate,
I love thee with passion as the best thing I ever ate.
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s eye,
I love thee with a love only reserved for superior pie.
With my lost saints, I love thee with my last breath,
Smiles, tears, pursuit of peach pie, my righteous path.
With sincere apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, let me share my favorite peach pie recipe so you too, can wax poetic over the virtues of fresh peaches cradled in and crowned with crust.
I have broad standards when it comes to peach pies. Any homemade and completely-baked (or half-baked for that matter) peach pie is a good peach pie. If there’s a crust and peach in the thing, I’ll gladly eat it, and chirp, “That was awesome!” Serve it a la mode, I may just tremble. Don’t get me wrong, I can certainly ascertain a great peach pie from a lesser one, but I would be remiss if I snubbed a peach pie merely on the supposition that it might (yes, might) not be a paragon of pastry. When it comes to peach pies (and pies in general), I’m willing to take the risk.
That said, there is one peach pie that holds court in a pie plate like no other — at least for me — a crust-bound, fresh-peach construct that serves up happiness in every slice. When butter and sugar make out with fresh summer fruit in a tent of dough, good things happen.
Peach Pie Deluxe
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg (optional)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
half small lime or lemon juiced
3 tablespoons butter
1 double crust pie dough (for bottom and a top)
Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, place baking sheet on middle shelf of oven.
Cut peaches into quarters, and leave skin on. Then cut each quarter into finger-width slices
Place peaches in a bowl, and toss with cornstarch, mix thoroughly
Next add all ingredients except butter, mixing until sugar is dissolved.
Melt butter and stir into fruit mixture
Roll out pie dough, place in 9-inch pie pan, add peach mixture, cover with top crust, crimp sides and cut top vent slits to release steam.
Paint top crust with milk or half and half, and sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons of sugar.
Place pie on baking sheet (to brown bottom crust) Leave for 20 minutes, then lower temperature to 350 degrees and check every 20 minutes for doneness.
The pie is ready to take out of the oven when crust has browned and the filling bubbles in the center of the pie. It’s not unusual for this pie to bake an hour and a half before it’s ready.
Remove pie and let cool for at least two hours before eating, so the filling has a chance to solidify. I’m not a fan of reheating pie, as it turns the pie into a mushy cobbler in most cases.
Serve with vanilla ice cream.