When I think back to the summers of my childhood, some of my most pleasant memories are of peaches. I can still distinctly remember the feeling of biting into a ripe peach and enjoying the contrast between the juicy sweetness that would inevitably trickle down my chin and that fuzzy peach skin that would tickle my my upper lip. When I think of joy or happiness, it’s those moments that first come to mind … the pure childhood pleasure of enjoying a delicious treat!
Thankfully, enjoying ripe peaches is a pleasure one can experience at any age! And as the fragrant and beautiful Ontario peaches begin rolling in, I am ever so thankful.
Of all the summer fruits, peaches are the ones that I rarely bake with. While I do make the occasional peach pie, I prefer peaches au naturel. I’ve made an exception, however, for the peach pie pictured on the cover of the August 2006 issue of Martha Stewart Living. While I admire the vast baking repertoire and design ability of the team of people behind Martha Stewart Living, I have often found many of the recipes from the magazine slightly disappointing. It’s not that they turn out badly. It’s just that they never turn out as good as they look in the pictures.
I could not, however, resist giving this peach pie a try. The pie turned out quite well the first time I made it, but I did make some adjustments for the next go-round. I used the same pie crust recipe from the magazine, but I increased the amount of crÃ¨me fraÃ®che I used. I also increased the amount of sugar by adding vanilla sugar to the pie filling. I love vanilla sugar and always keep a jar of of it going. It’s a wonderful way to make maximum use of vanilla beans which are quite expensive.
This is a delicious pie. The sweetness of the peaches and the tang of the crÃ¨me fraÃ®che are an incredible combination. The other advantage of this pie is that it’s quick to put together and it’s a nice way to use any peaches that are on the verge of being slightly overripe.
But best of all, it captures that wonderful summer flavour of juicy peach!
Fresh Peach and CrÃ¨me fraÃ®che Pie
Adapted from the August 2006 issue of Martha Stewart Living.
For the pie crust:
- 1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg yolk
- 4 to 5 tablespoons ice water (or more as needed)
- In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt.
- Add the butter and cut it into the pastry with your fingers or with a pastry blender. The mixture should like coarse oatmeal and have a crumbly texture.
- Lightly beat the egg yolk and mix into the flour with a fork.
- Begin adding the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time and work into the dough. Keep adding ice water until you can gather the dough into a cohesive ball.
- Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead a few times. Shape into a ball, flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- After an hour, roll the dough out on a well-floured surface. The dough should be between 1/4 and 1/2-inch thickness. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim off any excess dough and crimp the edges decoratively.
- Prick the base of the dough with a fork.
- Put the prepared pie crust in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- While the pie is in the freezer, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- After the pie has been in the freezer for 30 minutes, line the crust with parchment paper and using pie weights or dried beans, fill the pie shell. Blind bake the pie for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, remove the parchment paper and pie weights or dried beans and bake for another 5 minutes.
- Remove the pie crust and let cool while you prepare the rest of the filling.
For the streusel topping:
- 1/4 cup icing sugar
- 3 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. With your fingers, work the butter in until you have a crumbly topping. Set aside.
For the pie filling:
- 5 to 6 peaches, pitted and quartered
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar (if you don’t have vanilla sugar use regular sugar)
- pinch of salt
- 6 tablespoons crÃ¨me fraÃ®che
- Place the quartered peaches, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix well. Let stand for 15 minutes.
To complete the pie:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Remove the pie crust from the freezer.
- Spread 2 tablespoons of crÃ¨me fraÃ®che over the base of the pie crust.
- Sprinkle 1/3 of the streusel topping over the crÃ¨me fraÃ®che.
- Arrange the peaches over the streusel topping.
- Spread the remaining 4 tablespoons of crÃ¨me fraÃ®che over the peaches and top with the remaining streusel.
- Bake the pie for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until the crust is golden and the peaches are cooked and bubbling.
- Let the pie cool on a wire rack.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: If you can’t find crÃ¨me fraÃ®che, you can use sour cream. This pie serves 6 very hungry people or 8 not-so-hungry people.