Here at the Carolina Bed & Breakfast our guests love our Chilled South Carolina Peach Soup (recipe available in my cookbook!). But a true family favorite for us is a Brown Sugar Peach Pie. The rich peach juices mix with the brown sugar and spices to create a luscious celebration of all that is peach. Usually we will be down at our house by the shore where peaches are bought in gallon baskets from the local farm stand. But this year nature and work conspired against us, pairing an unusually short peach season with busy work schedules for everyone, so I found myself making a Brown Sugar Peach Pie in the kitchen at our Asheville, NC inn.
This weekend for the first time our local outdoor Shakespeare company, The Montford Park Players, is branching out and presenting Peter Pan for their August production so we decided to make the peach pie an addition to our picnic. Peach Pie and Peter Pan–does it get any better than that? A pie and five forks is all it takes to end our picnic perfectly.
I know, I can hear you saying “Pie? I can’t make pastry!” But you really don’t have to. The world has gifted us with some decent ready to roll pastry which will work fine, especially when the star of the show is absolutely the fruit! For those of you who are not intimidated by pastry or are feeling like it shouldn’t be all that hard (it’s not) I am including a recipe for Pate Brisee here. For the rest of you, just pick up the recipe from where it gets to the pie making.
BROWN SUGAR PEACH PIE
From Susan Murray at the Carolina Bed & Breakfast
Pate Brisee (French Short Crust Pastry)
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) cold butter, cut in small pieces
¼ to ½ cup ice water
In a food processor, pulse together all dry ingredients
Add butter and pulse once or twice until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Slowly add water until mixture just comes together
Chill for at least one hour
Brown Sugar Peach Pie
Once we were at a Thanksgiving Dinner where a number of families had come together and brought food from each home, and my daughter looked at the dessert table and asked me, “What’s with all the flat pies?” I like my fruit pies piled HIGH with fruit so I almost always use two times (or more) the fruit suggested in my pies. This recipe will make a pie full of fruit. The fruit will cook down and may sink a bit beneath the crust but it will be bursting with fruit flavor.
15-20 ripe peaches
2 tblsp lemon juice
1 tbsp Peach Schnapps or Bourbon (optional)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
1/4 cup instant tapioca
2 tbsp butter
Pate Brisee or prepared pie crusts
Peel and slice the peaches into large slices (about 8 to a peach)and place them in a large bowl.
Pour over the lemon juice and the optional liquor and toss together.
Using a clean coffee or spice grinder, grind the tapioca into a powder. (If you don’t have a grinder just skip this step and use the tapioca whole).
Add the tapioca and the other dry ingredients to the peaches, toss it together well, then set it aside for fifteen minutes while you roll out the pastry.
Roll out the pastry and place the bottom layer in a deep dish pie tin. Fill it with the peaches, leaving behind the juices which have collected in the bottom of the pan, and top with 2 tbsp of butter which have been cut in small pieces. Top with a second pastry layer and use a knife to cut some small holes in the top. If you would like, brush the top of the pie with a little beaten egg white and sprinkle with some sugar.
Place the whole pie in the freezer for fifteen minutes while you preheat the oven.
Put a cookie sheet in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
After 15 minutes place the pie in the oven on the preheated tray and bake for 15 minutes then turn the oven down to 325 degrees and continue baking for another 30-40 minutes until the pie juices are bubble up through the crust.