Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Recently, one of my absolute favorite food bloggers Smitten Kitchen posted about getting back to basics, and allowing simple flavors to shine through in dishes rather than fixing what isn't broken by throwing in heaps of extracts or spices just for the sake of it. Generally, I agree. Well, except for cardamom, you know how I feel about that. : ) In SK's post, she was specifically referring to peach pie, and while I absolutely agree that the delicious flavor of in-season fruit stands on its own, when I had a craving for peach pie a couple of weeks ago, I knew plain old peaches just weren't going to cut it.
I was craving a pie with depth. Specifically, a peach pie complemented by the sweet touch of brown sugar and cinnamon. And when I found a recipe that included both of these things AND a dash of booze, I knew it had to be good.
If you're worried about overwhelming sweetness (not usually something that enters my pie-eating considerations...) although this recipe calls for both white and brown sugars, surprisingly the most frequent compliment I received on this pie was that it wasn't too sweet. Similarly, even though the bourbon smelled a bit overwhelming in the initial stages, the flavors melded beautifully and it didn't stand out at all in the end.
A couple of notes: Using peaches that are a little more on the firm side is fine, this helps to keep their shape during baking rather than getting too mushy. I also, accidentally, reduced the brown sugar in this recipe to 1/3 cup but will probably continue to do so based on the feedback. I went with my new go-to crust recipe from The Homemade Pantry, but feel free to use your own favorite or store bought crust.
Brown Sugar Cinnamon Peach Pie
from Pink Parsley
6-8 large fresh, firm, ripe peaches (3-4 lbs)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbs bourbon or whiskey
2 Tbs butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten + 1 tsp water
1 1/2 Tbs granulated sugar + 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1. Divide your chosen pie crust dough into 2 equal pieces and on a lightly floured surface, roll the first piece into a 12-inch circle. Starting at 1 side of the dough, wrap it around a rolling pin and transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Press dough into the plate being careful not to punch through. Trim the overhang.
2. Peel the peaches, and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices, and cut the slices in half. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt. Add the peaches and bourbon, and stir to coat. Immediately pour the filling into the pie plate, and scatter the butter pieces over the top. Don't make the filling until you are ready to use it, because the peaches will give off too much of their liquid and the filling will be runny.
3. Roll the second pie crust into a 10-inch circle, and if making a lattice crust, cut into several strips using a pizza cutter or knife. Make a lattice design over the peaches. If you choose to make a standard top, transfer the crust to the pie, pinch the edges together to make a fluted edge or use the tins of a fork to press them closed. Cut a few slits in the top to release steam.
4. Brush the top with the egg wash, then sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar.
5. Freeze the pie for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees, and position the oven rack to the lowest position. Heat a baking sheet in the oven as it preheats.
6. Place the pie on the preheated baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Bake 40 minutes. If the crust is getting too dark, cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake an additional 15-25 minutes, or until the juices are thick and bubbly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool 2 hours before serving.