A homemade pie is one of life’s simple pleasures, and it doesn’t get much better than a classic, double crust peach pie.
If making pie from scratch seems a little daunting (I can relate), and I’m here for you. Two things are key to taking the stress out of pie-making: an always-reliable crust recipe that’s easy to roll out, and a foolproof method for making the fruit filling.
First, the crust: After years of experimenting with pie crusts and trying countless recipes, I’ve landed on a foolproof version that, to me, is hard to beat. This crust is amazingly crisp and flaky from a fancy-sounding yet simple French technique called fraisage, which involves nothing more than smearing the dough on the counter a few times. The smearing process creates long layers of butter in the dough, which translates to long, flaky layers in the cooked crust. These layers give the crust enough structure to stand up to the juiciest summer fruit without getting soggy. It’s a crust that’s great for beginner and experienced bakers alike because it’s easy to work with and consistently delicious.
Second, the filling: My rule of thumb for a 9-inch peach pie is six cups of sliced peaches to 1/4 cup thickener (either cornstarch or flour). Since ripe, juicy peaches need little adornment, I keep the filling simple with a mix of white and brown sugars and a little lemon juice and zest for brightness.
But my most important tip for any fruit pie? Don’t overthink it! Homemade pie is meant to be homey and charming, not technically perfect or precise. A freshly baked pie is always delicious, so serve it with confidence.
Swap Options: Peaches aren’t in season? Reach for frozen, which work beautifully in pies! They’re not only quicker and easier to use than fresh (no peeling or slicing needed), but they make great pie possible all year long. Here are tips for using them:
For a 9-inch pie, use two 16-ounce bags of frozen, sliced peaches.
While many pie recipes call for not thawing frozen fruit, it works best to semi-thaw peaches given their firmness and density. Just mix together the peach filling before rolling out the dough (see step 5 below), and they’ll be at the right temperature by the time you’re ready to fill the pie.
Frozen peaches vary in thickness from brand to brand. If the slices are more than ½-inch thick, coarsely chop them once they’ve softened with kitchen shears (right in the bowl!) so they’ll cook quickly and evenly.
Increase the baking time by about 10 to 15 minutes since frozen fruit takes longer to fully cook. Tent the top crust with foil, if needed, to avoid overbrowning.
Don’t have the time or energy to make the crust from scratch? There’s absolutely no shame in taking a shortcut and using your favorite store-bought crust. To give it a homemade touch, brush with cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar before baking.
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup ice water
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream or whole milk
- 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
- 6 cups peeled and sliced fresh peaches
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4-5 tablespoons cornstarch or all-purpose flour
To Make the Crust:
1. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar and salt to combine. Scatter butter pieces over the flour mixture, then pulse until the butter is the size of large peas, 8 to 10 pulses. (Alternatively, you can use a pastry cutter or another method for cutting the butter into the flour.)2.
Next, stir in the ice water by hand (to avoid over-processing the butter) with a rubber spatula. You can do this in the food processor bowl, with the blade removed, or transfer the flour mixture to a separate bowl. Start with 3 tablespoons of cold water, stirring until fully integrated, then add 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time just until small clumps start to form and the dough holds together when pinched with fingers.3.
Empty dough onto a clean counter or piece of parchment paper. Using a bench scraper, gather dough into a rough rectangular mound about 12 inches long and 4 inches wide. Starting from the farthest end, use the heel of your hand to smear about one sixth of dough against your work surface away from you. Repeat until all of your dough has been smeared. Using a bench scraper, gather the dough again into a 12-inch long and 4-inch wide mound and repeat smearing of dough with the heel of your hand. The dough should be smooth and cohesive at this point; if not, repeat the process again.4.
Divide the dough in half, then form each half into a circular disk about 4-inches thick. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
To Fill and Assemble the Pie:1.
Preheat the oven to 425 F. In a large bowl, toss together the peaches, sugars, lemon zest, lemon juice and 4 tablespoons cornstarch (for frozen peaches, use 5 tablespoons). Set aside. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to slightly soften.2.
Roll one disc of dough on a floured surface to a round about 14 inches in diameter. Transfer to a 9-inch pie dish, letting it slump in the middle with an even amount of crust around the edges. Roll out the remaining dough to a roughly equivalent size. (Pop the dough rounds in the refrigerator if they start to soften or get sticky.)3.
Spoon the filling into the bottom crust, then lay the top crust over the top. Trim the crust 1/2-inch wider than the edge of the pie plate with kitchen shears, pressing the edges together to seal. Fold the overhang under itself so that it’s even with the edge of the pie plate. Crimp edges or press with the tines of a fork.4.
Brush the top with cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Cut a few slits to allow steam to escape. Chill the assembled pie for about 15 to 20 minutes before baking, if you have time.5.
Place pie on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the oven to 375 F and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the crust is deeply golden brown.6.
Remove the pie from the oven and let cool completely before serving, 3 to 4 hours, so the filling fully sets up.
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