Homemade Peach Pie

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Peach Pie 2 Peaches.jpg

At this time of the year, I am lucky to be able to harvest lovely yellow free-stone peaches.  The Elberta peach variety was carefully chosen for its excellent eating quality, sweet but slightly tangy flesh and they are free-stone – this makes life easier when wanting to take the stone out without ruining the flesh too much.

This Peach Pie is delicious!  Now, after reading through the steps, it may appear that this pie is very time-consuming to make.  It can be but it is so rewarding!  The pastry can be made ahead – read through the instructions on making the pastry below.  Peaches do releases a lot of liquid, hence the use of a thickener.  The use of arrowroot (aka as tapioca flour) leaves a neutral taste and it gives the liquid a clear and glossy look once the pie has been cooled.  You can use cornflour instead, however, it can make the liquid cloudy and may not provide the same amount of thickening that arrowroot gives.

It is important that ripe peaches are used for this pie, not too over-ripe.  Some recipes call for having the skin peeled and some don’t.  I peel mine.  To peel them, place peaches in a bowl full of boiling water.  Leave it for a minute to two minutes.  Then, place the peaches into a bowl of cold water.  The skin should easily peel off, using a paring knife.

Pastry:
2 1/2 cups plain flour
225g unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1 cm cubes
Generous pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional

2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons ice cold water
Filling:
Approximately 1 1/2 kg or 8 to 10 fresh peaches (yellow), peeled and stoned
Mix together 1/2 cup caster sugar and 4 tablespoons arrowroot (aka tapioca flour)
To finish:
1 to 2 tablespoons milk or cream
Enough raw or demera sugar to sprinkle

1. Prepare the pastry, dividing it into two disks and refrigerate for at least one hour.  The pastry can be made one to two days ahead.  In fact, you can freeze the pastry until you are ready to use it.  If the pastry has been made ahead, for example, it has been chilled in the fridge for one to two days, allow the pastry to sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes in order to soften just enough to make rolling out a bit easier.

Instructions to make the pastry:
– Place flour, sugar, salt and butter into the bowl of a food processor.
– Pulse to combine the dry ingredients. 
– Add butter.  Pulse 6 to 8 times until the butter has been ‘mixed’ into the dry ingredients.  – Add vanilla extract and ice cold water. 
– Pulse a few more times until the dough just begins to hold together.

Remove the dough from the food processor onto a floured surface.  Gently roll the dough.  Divide the dough into two pieces and wrap both pieces in a greaseproof paper.  The dough needs to be chilled in the fridge for at least one hour.

2.  On a floured surface, roll out one piece of the dough to a size that will cover a 9 inch (22 to 23cm) pie dish.  Make sure you grease the pie dish first.  Carefully place the rolled out pastry into the pie dish.  Don’t bother trimming the edges just yet, leave it to the end.  Place the pie dish in the fridge.

3. Prepare the peach filling: cut the peeled and stoned peaches into chunk size pieces.  You don’t want it to small or fine otherwise the peaches would go mushy.  In a mixing bowl, place the peaches, cinnamon, sugar and arrowroot mixture, folding gently to combine.  Allow the peach mixture to sit for 10 minutes.  The juices will be released during this time.

4. Spread the peach filling into the chilled pie bottom.  Place the pie dish back into the fridge.

peach-pie-3.jpg5. Roll out the remaining pastry on a floured surface. Carefully place the rolled out pastry to cover the top of the pie. Push the top layer onto the bottom layer of the pastry around the edge of the pie dish.  Trim excess pastry that is hanging over the pie dish.  Roll back the edge of the pastry into the inside edge of the pie dish. Then scrimp or mark along the edge using the back of a fork.

6. Chill the assembled pie in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

7. Preheat the oven to 200°C.  

peach-pie-4.jpg8. Brush either milk or cream all over the top of the pie.  Generously sprinkle either raw or demera sugar all over the top of the pie.  Using a sharp knife, create three to four slits, creating air vents.

7. Bake peach pie for 30 minutes.  Then lower the oven temperature to 180°C, bake for a further 30 minutes.

8. Remove the pie from the oven onto a cooling rack.  The pie needs to be cooled for at least 3 hours, or longer.  The liquid inside the pie will thicken on standing, even better if the pie has been chilled in the fridge.  It makes the cutting and serving pie pieces much easier.

Enjoy!  The extra steps and time will be worth it! 

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