Imperfectly Perfect Peach Pie 🍑🥧
Plus: A Farewell Dinner & Molly Wizenberg on Lunch Therapy!
Can you believe it’s going to be September this week? SEPTEMBER?! No month conjures up more feelings for me than September. It’s the “back to school” month, it’s the “winter is coming” month, it’s the “summer’s over, get over it” month. Frankly, it’s one of my favorite months because I love that transition from the tomato salads and juicy peaches of August into the more serious cooking that happens when it gets colder.
So gather ye peaches while ye may, as they say.
I did just that and made the peach pie that you see above this weekend. I used my standard pie dough recipe, which hangs on the side of my fridge: 2 1/2 cups AP flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt all get blitzed together in the food processor (3 blitzes). Then you add 2 sticks of VERY COLD butter that you’ve cut into cubes and you pulse those in, until you see big chunks and little chunks that look like peas (about 10 - 12 blitzes). Finally, you add 1/2 cup - 3/4 cups ice water through the feed tube, while blitzing, until the pie dough holds together when you pinch it.
The key to all this is what I put in caps lock in the last paragraph, the VERY COLD butter. I saw my butter was getting tacky as soon as I cubed it (our kitchen was way hot) so I popped it into the freezer to firm back up. And once you shape your dough into two discs (don’t be afraid to really work the dough a little to make it hold together, as long as the butter stays cold — I like to frissage it, which is where you smoosh it out with your hand, and then fold it back in on itself) be sure to refrigerate for at least an hour so, again, that butter stays cold. Here’s my sloppy rolling out of the bottom crust:
You can’t tell because of the flour, but there are still solid, cold pieces of butter in there, which is what makes the pie flaky.
As for the peaches, I was committed to not peeling them (people on Twitter said it was okay!) but then I just got out my Y-peeler and was able to do it without blanching them in hot water. (Didn’t want to dirty an extra pot in my very hot kitchen.)
For the filling, I used this recipe from Bon Appetit by Vallery Lomas: 6 cups sliced ripe but firm peaches (3/4” thick), 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon Brandy (optional; I used it), 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon orange zest (I skipped that), 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal salt, 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg, 2/3 cup granulated sugar.
For the topping, I rolled out the top crust, pinched and crimped (I never quite get that right — I need to remember to leave a big enough border to have enough to fold back in), brushed with egg mixed with 1 teaspoon of water, and then sprinkled with Turbinado sugar.
Baked that for 15 minutes at 425, then lowered to 350 and baked for another 90 minutes. The pie leaked a lot in the oven, not gonna lie (good thing I put down aluminum foil on the cookie sheet).
But that didn’t cause any problems. You just let it cool for 3 hours, so everything sets back up, and then lift it off the foil and the pie looks super pretty on a large cake plate or cake stand or whatever you have.
Here’s a slice I had for breakfast the next day:
It was a lovely end-of-summer pie and I’m very glad that I made it. Hope you make it too! And feel free to share this with others who you think might like it, especially on social media (wink):
The reason for the pie was that our friends Mark and Diana, who you’ve known and loved in this newsletter and on my blog over the past 17 years (I met Diana in grad school and we were roommates and then Craig and I started dating and Craig was best friends with Mark who we introduced to Diana, and then Craig officiated their wedding and Diana officiated ours) are moving to Irvington, New York! We’re sad to see them go but so happy for them and this next chapter in their lives.
So, of course I had to cook them a farewell dinner.
I bought beautiful cheeses from McCall’s Meat & Fish, including an oozy, gooey Eppoises; plus a Gouda and a sheep’s milk from Italy.
Then, for the main event, I made my favorite spatchcocked chicken with salsa verde + some corn from the upcoming Broadway cookbook.
And the previously mentioned peach pie with vanilla ice cream for dessert.
We made plans to see each other again soon, hopefully with a visit to Irvington in November. So this isn’t goodbye, it’s just an opportunity to visit New York more often (he says to himself as he starts bawling).
Hey, guess who’s on Lunch Therapy this week? The creator of Orangette, co-host of Spilled Milk, and author of The Fixed Stars (now in paperback), Molly Wizenberg!
This is such a great conversation that covers why she’s finished with food writing (!!), what it was like for her to go from food blogger to working in a restaurant, and how her cooking at home has changed along with her new relationship. Plus: we talk about how she works up the courage to write so personally about the people in her life, what constitutes oversharing in a memoir, and how she’s raising her daughter food-wise.
CLICK HERE to listen, and as always, if you like the convo, please leave a nice review. (Right now I’m at 299: imagine being the 300th reviewer!)
Now for some links that caught my attention recently:
Luisa roasts fish with sweet peppers, but it’s not really about that (The Wednesday Chef);
Pete Wells likes the food but hates the atmosphere at Tom Colicchio’s new restaurant (The New York Times);
Padma Lakshmi writes a perfect takedown of Gene Weingarten’s racist op-ed (The Washington Post);
Everything that you’ve ever wanted to know about licorice (Eater);
Bill Addison highlights the best breakfast burritos in L.A. (two are near my apartment) (LA Times);
I loved Gina DePalma so much (she was the pastry chef at Babbo who mentored me for my cookbook and was a good friend to me afterwards) and, apparently, there’s a lost cookbook that she wrote that still hasn’t been published (Taste).
That’s all for this week, folks!
If you missed my paid subscribers only Thursday dispatch, I wrote about a spontaneous lunch pizza with cherry tomatoes, olives, and anchovies. If you want to read that, and get the Thursday dispatch regularly, here’s a discount code so you can become a paid subscriber too:
Until next time….
Adam, you're one of the first bloggers I remember from when I first read any food blogs about 12 years ago. Glad you're still passionate about food. Love peach pie, and yours looks great. But I never peel the peaches, they add color and flavor to the pie. Next time, FORCE yourself to step away from the peeler. You'll never go back!
Peach Pie is always a fav.