I haven't always loved peaches. In fact, my memory of peaches is mostly one of gooey, sugary, caned glop. And even after experiencing the wonders of a perfectly ripe fresh peach, I am sometimes still turned off by their fuzzy exterior and swear that from time to time they taste like nail polish. That being said sometimes all you want to bake is pie...
and from time to time it just has to be peach, and a little nectarine, my favorite and highly underrated fruit.
For the crust I used a recipe my sister sent me a few weeks ago, but it's been the standard pie crust in our house since the beginning of time. Mid way through making the crust though, I realized that although I would say I've baked many a pie in my life, this was actually the first one I've baked without my sisters. So while I have been witness to the backing of many many pies, I guess it's safe to say this is my first pie ever. The recipe technically makes two pie crusts, but I found it was the perfect amount for a shell and a lattice top crust. I also used a wine bottle instead of a rolling pin, which i don't own, so that may have something to do with my less then perfectly even crust.
For the filling I sliced peaches and nectarines and macerated them with a little lemon juice and maple syrup. I would use regular sugar if you don't have good syrup (from Vermont it's the only real syrup there is really), but I recently had some house guests stay with me on their way through Seattle via Vermont, so I am putting maple syrup in everything these days. I mixed the fruit with some flour and then filled the pie shell. Forewarning I wish I had strained the fruit a bit prior to baking. There was a lot of liquid. Also, the pie isn't all that sweet with the syrup, so if you are one for sweeter pies you could add some regular sugar to the filling as well.
I am of the belief that Maple Syrup is the best thing ever created by man. This is maple syrup from the Irwin Family. You should get some if you are ever in Vermont.
Anyways, back to the pie. Since I decided to bring my very first pie to work, and I work with a bunch of chefs, I got a lot of good feedback. Par-baking or blind-baking especially with such a juicy pie would definitely be a good idea. Also, punching holes in the bottom crust also helps absorb some of the juices. Obviously you can't par-bake the latice top, but that bakes quickly, and is only really necessary if you are like me and love the way it looks. Letting the crust rest is important too. Lastly, something that I did do on my own accord, right before baking coat your crust with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. I like Turbinado, but think brown sugar would also be great. In the end though even a bunch of chefs appreciate a simple peach pie, especially after a long day at work.
Crust: (makes a double crust)
2 cups flour
1 stick butter
2-4 tablespoons cold water
3 large peaches
3 large nectarines
1/3 cup maple syrup
sugar to taste
juice from one lemon
For someone who isn't always a fan of peaches, I want to bake this pie over and over again...