A sure sign of mid-summer in the Pacific Northwest is the arrival of sun-kissed, fragrant peaches. Their season is short and the taste is sweet. If you’re lucky enough to encounter a perfect peach, it will surely be a highlight of your summer. Biting into a juicy peach is simply unforgettable. Past our first bite, imaginations ran wild. How could we recreate that initial experience and preserve it? Would it be peach jam, cobbler, ice cream or salsa? Musing over a cup of tea, we decided on a peach pie! We had recently made a seasonal marionberry pie with a lard crust recipe that has been in our family for over 90 years. It turned out to be phenomenal.
Over the course of the five days it took us to polish the pie off, we noticed the crust never relented to the juicy filling. We think this was due to the exceptional pie plate we received from Barry Braun, the farmer potter behind Swallowtail Pottery. This particular pie plate is thoughtfully crafted to distribute heat evenly throughout the pie, resulting in a superior bake. This is especially hard to do with runny, juicy berry pies. We thought this claim to be an exaggeration until it was confirmed by the light and flaky crust residing at the bottom of our test pie. This pie plate works so well, all of our other pie plates are now at Goodwill.
Did we catch your attention with the age of our pie crust recipe? It embodies classic American Prairie faire and has seen many hands in our North Dakotan family work its magic. This dough is simple in theory but requires a touch taught by mothers and grandmothers, as many traditional family recipes do. To honor the women who have come before us, who closely guarded this recipe through generations, we must keep this one close to our hearts…for now…
So for now, we will skip over the magic prairie pie crust and move on to the beautiful, but slightly complicated peach pie filling that we created after some trial and error. Do you have your box full of ripe and ready peaches, multiple bowls and rolling pin, along with all the ingredients? Ready, set, preheat your oven to 425°! Make sure your chosen pie crust is completed and chilling in the freezer before you start in on the filling.
Add your sugar, flour, lime juice and almond extract to your bowl of sliced peaches. Mix gently, let sit 20 minutes while the sugar works on drawing nectar from the peaches. While the sugar is doing its magic, roll out both balls of dough on a generously floured surface. Fold into quarters, place in plastic wrap and chill in the freezer for another 10 minutes. While the crust is chillin’, drain the released nectar into a small sauce pan, add your cornstarch and whisk until no lumps are present. Place over medium heat, gently simmer, while constantly stirring until thick and bubbly. About 5-7 minutes. Be very careful not to let it scorch! When the nectar is adequately thick, pour back into the bowl of peaches and toss gently ensuring that each peach is coated with the thickened nectar.
Remove pie crust from the freezer. Unfold one of the dough discs and place inside your pie plate. Trim until one inch of overhang remains, fold and tuck the overhang to form the crust. Press with a fork or pinch with your fingers to add a bit of personal style. Place in the refrigerator while you work on your lattice.
Check out this video with step-by-step instructions on how to make a woven lattice with pie dough. It might seem a bit difficult in the beginning, but once your pie is finished and its beauty realized, you will never want to stray from this pie topper technique again. It is your best friend when it comes to preventing your fruit and berry pies from becoming runny, as it allows the moisture from the filling to escape through the openings in the lattice during the cooking process. This ensures a thicker filling.
Peach Pie Filling
6 cups sliced peaches, 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp cornstarch
Bake pie for 15 minutes at 425°, reduce to 375° for 75 minutes. Halfway through be sure to check the outer crust, apply a ring of foil to cover if need be.
Let sit overnight before enjoying. This allows the filling to set, ensuring your pie will not run.
Join us on an adventure of a lifetime! We will be taking our 1959 vintage trailer to travel down the “Pacific Coast Pie-Way” starting at Florence, Oregon, ending at Big Sur, California. We will be taking two variations of Barry Braun’s exceptional pie plates and filling them with scrumptious harvests we encounter on farms and wild places along the way. The excitement is thick! Documenting our “Pie-Way” road trip on social media and through various blog posts will be our pleasure. Be sure to follow us as we continually introduce you to various farmers, farm traditions and original farm pies down the Pacific Coast and into the hearts of many. Our departure date is right around the corner and will see us putting our farm animals in the rearview mirror right after Labor Day. Stay tuned!
Do you have a favorite pie or pie recipe you would like to share? Please add it in the comments below and we could very well find it scrumptious enough to bake on the road. Cheers to pie and the happiness it brings everyone who eats it!