by Monica Kass Rogers
If you’ve had the pleasure of plucking a sun-warmed, fully ripe peach from a tree and eating it right there and then, you know why peaches show up in my dreams. Velvety soft, juicy and with the most fragrant nectar, peaches are one of my favorite fruits. This old-fashioned pie is full of them. To make it, you’ll spiral peach slices over a butter crust and bake them in cream with just a hint of sugar and spice. A good dream in the making.
FOR THE CRUST:
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. sugar
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) very cold butter
- 3 Tbsp. ice cold cream OR half-and-half
FOR THE CRUST DUST:
- 3 Tbsp. flour
- 3 Tbsp. firmly packed light brown sugar
FOR THE FILLING:
- 7 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, cut into quarters and thinly sliced (Note: broken and less perfect slices will go on the bottom of the pie)
- 1 ½ cups cream
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla paste (OR vanilla extract)
- 2/3 cup sugar (divided)
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- ¼ tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. freshly-ground nutmeg (OR store-bought ground nutmeg)
- Pinch of ground clove
MAKE CRUST: In a large shallow bowl, sift the flour with salt and sugar. Cut the butter into tiny pieces and scatter over the flour. Using two knives, one in each hand, pull knives in a motion from the center out to cut the butter into the flour. Then, with cool fingertips, toss and break up each of the remaining larger bits into the flour until it resembles damp sand. Pour in the cream a little bit at a time and stir with a fork until the dough begins to gather up. Don’t add too much liquid, it’s okay if it’s not all one mass. Cover your clean worksurface with two sheets of overlapping plastic wrap to make a large square. Scrape the pie dough onto the center of the plastic. Pull the ends of plastic up around the dough and squeeze and knead through the plastic to form a nice ball of dough. Cover work surface with another two overlapping pieces of plastic wrap. Place dough on the center. Flatten with your hands to make a ½ inch-tall disk. Cover with two more pieces of plastic wrap. Gently pat out dough through the plastic and then roll out dough to make a large circle. Place plastic wrapped circle on a pizza pan and place in refrigerator.
ASSEMBLE PIE: Preheat oven to 375. Remove the plastic wrapped pie crust circles from fridge. Roll out a bit to ensure the circle is one inch larger than the circumference of your pie dish. Remove plastic from one side of the crust. Flip crust over pie plate and ease into the plate, removing the remaining plastic. Gently nudge crust into the plate, pressing down to make sure there are no air pockets, leaving the excess dough around the circle extending over the edge of the dish. Fold and crimp the edges of the pie crust to make an attractive fluted edge.
In a small bowl, whisk brown sugar with 3 Tbsp flour to make the crust dust. Sprinkle over the bottom of the unbaked pie crust. Place broken slices peach over the crust dust. In a medium bowl, whisk cream with egg, vanilla paste, 1/3 cup of the sugar and 2 Tbsp flour. Pour mixture over the broken slices of peach. Starting at the center of the pie, spiral slices of peach in a circle, turning the pie dish as you go, continuing to insert slices of peach from the center outward to fill the entire crust in a pretty, spiral shape. Whisk remaining 1/3 cup sugar with the spices; sprinkle over the pie. Place in oven and bake 50 to 60 minutes until crust is golden brown and filling only slightly jiggles when you move the pie dish. Cool on a rack for ½ hour before slicing and serving.