Peach Pie is one of my favorite ways to use plump, juicy summer peaches. Over the years, I've made hundreds of peach pies with varying degrees of success, in search of the perfect slice. This recipe is the result.
I'll get into more detail later, but for now, let's just cut to the chase.
My top 3 tips for making a perfect peach pie:
- Concentrating the peach juice in the filling creates a deliciously intense peach flavor
- Add just enough sugar to bring out the flavor of ripe, summer peaches and make the filling thick and saucy
- Weave the top crust into a flaky, tender, lattice top that not only looks pretty, but allows excess moisture to evaporate while baking so the crust stays nice and flaky. (Scroll down for step-by-step photos showing you how to weave a lattice crust.)
In Search of The Perfect Peach Pie Recipe
As a Colorado native, summer peaches from the Western Slope are something I've looked forward to every year for my entire life. Since they're only available for a short time, everyone in my house practically makes themselves sick on them during the few week a year that they are in season.
I bring home box after box, turning them into Peach Cobbler, jars of Peach Preserves, trays of Peach and Almond Thumbprint Cookies, batches of Peach Ice Cream, and of course, at least one Peach Pie. Some years, I even manage to freeze a few bags of sliced peaches, a task my January self is always grateful for.
Over the years, I've baked more peach pies than I can count. All of them edible, but some definitely better than others. In the end, I've come to rely on three simple tricks to making the perfect peach pie. Let's break them down...
#1. For an intense peach flavor, concentrate the peach juice
Summer peaches that are so ripe and juicy you practically need an entire roll of paper towels to keep from making a complete mess of yourself are such a treat. But all that juice works against you when making a peach pie because it's so easy to end up with a runny filling and soggy crust that you have to scoop out with a spoon instead of slicing.
If you want to make a peach pie with a flaky crust and thick, saucy filling that holds together relatively well when sliced, you have to control the amount of juice. Just like two of my other all-time favorite summer pies, Mixed Berry and Plum Pie and Blueberry Pie, the best way to control the amount of juice in your pie is to slice the fruit early, coat it in sugar, lemon juice, and salt, and let it sit for a bit so that all the excess juice drains from the peaches.
Strain the fruit after allowing it to sit for 30 minutes (or up to a few hours), and then concentrate the juice by cooking it in a skillet with a cup of mashed peaches and some pectin.
This allows some of the water in the peach juice to evaporate, leaving behind all the natural sugar and flavor of the peaches. The result is a saucy peach pie with concentrated super peachy flavor and a flaky, sliceable, non-soggy crust.
#2. The right amount of sugar for the perfect peach pie is less than you think
This recipe contains a bit less sugar than most peach pie recipes. Why? Because, we've concentrated all that delicious peach juice. Peaches, of course, contain plenty of natural sugars. By concentrating the juice, we're intensifying the flavor of the peaches and retaining their natural sugars.
Sugar does more than make things sweet. It also adds flavor. We can get away with using less of it in this recipe because we've intensified the flavor of the peaches themselves.
Having said that, the amount of flavor and sugar varies from peach to peach. So, be flexible and adjust the amount of sugar in your pie if necessary. After concentrating the peach juice, taste it. If you want it sweeter, add a bit more sugar. It's your pie. Do as you like.
#3. Foolproof Pie Crust and a Lattice Weave Top
Foolproof Pie Crust has been my go-to recipe for the past 25 years. I’ve used it to make hundreds of pies of every variety and it hasn’t failed me yet. It’s tender, flaky, flavorful, extremely easy to work with, and worthy of the name “foolproof”.
As the name implies, it's fool proof. It's so easy to make and great to work with because of two ingredients: a touch of vinegar and an egg.
In most pie crust recipes, you must take extreme care to not overwork the dough because doing so results in pie crust that’s tough rather than tender and flaky. However, the addition of just one tablespoon of vinegar acts as a kind of insurance against overworking the dough so that you get a super tender and flaky crust every single time.
Vinegar also helps preserve the dough, so you can make the dough ahead of time, knowing that it will keep perfectly well in the refrigerator for several days until you are ready to bake your pie.
The egg in the recipe makes the dough elastic, pliable and easy to roll out. It also contributes flavor and richness, causes a slightly better color and browning, and gives the baked crust a more tender mouth feel. In other words… adding an egg makes pie crust taste better.
One reader recently left a comment that says it all...
"I made this blueberry pie, including your Fool Proof Pie Crust, yesterday. I had given up making homemade pie crust many years ago! Although my rolling pin skills are poor, this pie turned out fantastic. The blueberry filling is not overly sweet, so you can still taste the fruit, and the crust was delicious and flaky. 62 years old and I finally made a good pie crust- better late than never! Thank you for the wonderful recipe." - Karen
That Lattice Top is about more than decoration
That lattice crust might look pretty, but that's not the most important reason for using it instead of a rolled, top crust. The gaps in the lattice weave allow excess moisture to evaporate from the pie while baking, further ensuring that you'll end up with a pie that's sliceable.
If you've never made a lattice crust for a pie, don't let the prospect intimidate you. It's really quite simple. Here's how to do it...
How to Make a Lattice Top Pie Crust:
#1. Cut 9 strips of dough that are approximately 1 & ½ inches wide (no need to be super exact)
#2. Lay five of the strips across the top of the filling in one direction.
#3. Lay the remaining four strips perpendicular to the first, weaving them to form a lattice pattern.
#4. Trim any excess dough and fold the edges under, forming a rim around the pie that is a bit higher than the pie plate.
#5. With one hand on the inside of the edge and one hand on the outside, use the index finger of your inside hand to push the dough between the thumb and index finger of your other hand to form a U shape. Continue this crimping motion around the entire edge.
#6. Brush the top of the crust with a beaten egg and then sprinkle the pie with a couple tablespoons of sugar.
- Fool Proof Pie Crust, chilled in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes
- 4 ½ lbs fresh peaches, peeled, quartered and pitted; slice each quarter into three or four slices, about ¼-inch thick
- ½ cup (100g) + 5 tbsp (62g) granulated sugar, divided
- The zest from one large lemon (about 2 tsp)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ⅓ cup low sugar or no sugar pectin (1.75 ounces)
- ¼ cup (30g) cornstarch
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ tsp almond extract (optional)
- 1 egg (medium or large)
- Gently toss sliced peaches with ½ cup (100g) sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt in a medium bowl and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.
- Combine cinnamon, nutmeg, pectin, and 3 tbsp (37g) sugar in a small bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (218 degrees C).
- Drain peaches, reserving ¾ cup (177ml) of the juice. (Discard remaining juice.) Pour the reserved juice into a 10 or 12-inch skillet and add about 1 cup (160g) of sliced peaches and the pectin mixture. Put the remaining drained peaches into a large bowl and gently toss with the cornstarch.
- Using the back of a spoon or a potato masher, mash the peaches in the skillet slightly, until they are the consistency of chunky applesauce.
Set the skillet over medium high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until it comes to a boil. Lower the heat to medium; boil and stir for 5 minutes, until the juice has thickened. Scrape the mixture into the bowl with the rest of the peaches, add the vanilla and almond extracts, and toss gently to mix.
- Remove the pie dough from the refrigerator. On a floured surface, roll out a portion of the dough to a 12-inch circle that’s about ⅛-inch thick. Using a large spatula, gently loosen the dough from the work top, fold it in half and then fold it in half again. It will form a triangle shape. Lift the crust and place it in a pie plate with the point of the triangle in the center of the plate. Gently unfold the dough in the pan and press into the corners gently. Leave any dough that overlaps the edges of the plate in place.
- Pour the peach filling into the bottom crust and smooth it into an even layer.
- Roll another portion of the dough into a large circle, about 18 inches. With a pizza wheel, fluted pizza wheel, or paring knife, cut the disk into nine strips that are approximately 1 &½-inches wide.
- Starting in the center of the pie, lay 5 of the strips across the top of the filling in one direction. Lay the remaining strips perpendicular to the first, weaving them into the first strips to form a lattice pattern (*see step-by-step pictures above). Trim the edges of the strips so that they are even with the edge of the bottom crust.
- Fold the edges under, forming a rim around the pie that is a bit higher than the pie plate. With one hand on the inside of the edge and one hand on the outside, use the index finger of your inside hand to push the dough between the thumb and index finger of your other hand to form a U or a V shape. Continue this crimping motion around the entire edge.
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg with 1 tbsp of cold water. Gently brush the egg wash over the top crust with a pastry brush and sprinkle evenly with the remaining 2 tablespoons (25g) of sugar.
- Put the pie on a foil covered baking sheet and place in the oven. (*See note) Bake for 25 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes. The pie is done when the crust is a deep golden brown and the filling in the center of the pie is bubbling. (*See note)
- Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack, about 4-6 hours, before slicing.
Why it's important to bake this pie on a baking sheet:
Placing this pie on a baking sheet is important because most of the time, some of the filling will bubble up and drip over the sides of the pie plate. The baking sheet will catch these drips, saving you from an oven of burning fruit.
Covering the baking sheet with foil (or parchment paper), makes clean up super easy. Just be sure to remove the pie from the baking sheet right after baking or the foil (or parchment) will stick to the pie plate as it cools and be somewhat difficult to remove.
How to know when the bottom crust is baked through:
It can be tricky to know for sure when the bottom crust of a pie is baked through. In addition, different factors can cause one pie to take longer to bake than another.
I like to use a transparent glass pie plate so that I can lift the pie up and look at the bottom crust. If the crust looks doughy, put the pie back in the oven. If the top crust is getting too brown, but the bottom crust is not quite done, cover the top of the pie loosely with aluminum foil and continue baking.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 411Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 494mgCarbohydrates: 73gFiber: 6gSugar: 40gProtein: 6g
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