So, this pie….
Let me just begin by telling you how much trouble peach pie has given me in the past (and my sister, too) — not with figuring out the right blend of spices, or even with balancing those flavors with the right amount of sugar and natural sweetness from the peaches. No, our peach pie troubles were always evident as soon as a slice was served and all of the filling slipped out between the top and bottom crusts into a soupy mess in the pie plate. Even worse, no amount of corn starch or flour seemed to remedy this issue.
This rocky history has resulted in a serious deprivation of peach pie around this household for quite some time. Until last week, that is. My dad stopped by the house with a bag full of peaches, the last of this summer’s bounty — they needed to be eaten or baked into something, so I thought I’d give peach pie another go around. This time with a little spike of bourbon, plenty of brown sugar, and the oh-so-allusive thickener that I’ve been missing all of these years: tapioca!
Now tapioca isn’t necessarily ‘new’ to me, it’s actually what my mom would always use in the peach pies she baked when I was growing up. However, my parents both seem to prefer their fruit pies on the soupy side, so the amount she used was pretty minimal. I’ve upped that quantity to a full 3 Tablespoons in this recipe, plus some flour (1/4 cup) for some extra reassurance. And you guys, this is the winning combination — if you like a pie filling that’s thicker but still gooey and spills out just a teeny bit when it’s sliced and served (the optimal consistency to pair with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream, in my opinion), then you’ll want to give this tapioca/flour combo a try.
I’ve also added some bourbon to the filling — the alcohol cooks out during the baking, and the flavor isn’t outrightly ‘bourbon-y.’ It does blend well with the spices used, though. Every bite of this pie was basically a sweet, peachy farewell to Summer and a giant fist bump to all of the cozy, warm flavors of Fall that I love all at the same time.
To anyone who cringes at the thought of making their own pie crust, I promise you it’s not impossible! The recipe below uses a combination of butter (so you get that yummy buttery flavor you know you love) with shortening (because that seems to be the trick to really flaky pie crusts). Also, check out the blog posts/articles I’ve listed below — they give a really great overview of tips (with explanations) on how to make and handle pie pastry so that it comes out flaky and delicious every time. Basically, you’ll want to keep two rules in mind any time you make a pie dough: 1) Don’t over-work your dough, and 2.) keeping your ingredients and your completed pastry cold is always a smart idea.
- How to Make Flaky Piecrusts | Williams Sonoma Taste
- How to Make a Perfect Pie Crust – Baking Tips | Food52
- Foolproof Pie Dough | Cooks Illustrated
If you have any peaches you need to use up, I strongly suggest you give this pie a go around. I also suggest that you serve it with some bourbon salted caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream,… just a suggestion, though 😉
Bourbon Brown Sugar Peach Pie
Yield: 1 deep-dish, 9-inch Pie
For the pie crust:
2/3 cup cold, unsalted butter (cubed)
6 Tablespoon cold vegetable shortening (Crisco), cubed
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspon salt
1/2 – 3/4 cup ice water
For the filling:
8-10 peaches, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch thick slices
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons tapioca
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 Tablespoons bourbon
Seeds from half of a vanilla bean pod (optional)
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
1 Tablespoons water (or milk)
Course sugar (I used a bourbon vanilla sugar)
Begin by making the pie crust. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add in half of the butter and shortening, and toss lightly to coat with the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter, coarsely blend the butter and shortening into the flour until they are about 1/2 inch pieces. Add the remaining butter and shortening to the flour mixture, tossing again to lightly coat them. Using the pastry cutter again, cut these pieces in until they are course crumbs the size of large peas. Pour 1/2 cup of the ice water into this mixture and, using a fork, stir until evenly moistened and begins to come together (add more water to get to this point if needed, adding one Tablespoon at a time).
Transfer the dough to a work surface and shape into two balls and flatten each into disks about 3/4-inch thick. Wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to overnight before rolling out.
After the dough has been chilled, remove one of the disks and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a circle, turning the dough every few turns to make sure it isn’t sticking to the work surface, until it’s 11 to 12-inches in diameter. lightly dust the top of the dough with flour, and fold in half over itself so that it’s a folded-over half circle. Then fold in half again, so that it is triangular in shape and a quarter of the circle of dough. Gently transfer the folded dough into a 9-inch deep dish pie plate, centering the point of the ‘triangle’ in the middle of the bottom of the pie plate. Then gently unfold the dough, fitting it into the plate; you should have a 1 to 2-inch overhang of dough around the edges of the plate. Place in the fridge as you prepare the filling.
To make the filling, add all of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix together until the peach slices are evenly coated with the other ingredients. Remove the bottom crust from the fridge, and spoon or pour the filling in. Dot the surface of the filling with the cubed pieces of butter.
Remove the second disk of dough from the fridge and roll out to about 11 inches in diameter. At this point, you can either transfer this to the top of the pie as the top crust, or you can cut this dough into strips of various widths for a lattice or braided top (or any other variety of shapes — go crazy and have fun with it!). When you have your top crust in place over the filling, trip the dough overhand so that it doesn’t exceed an inch. Roll the overhanging dough over itself all along the perimeter of the pie, and crimp as you’d like. Transfer the pie to the fridge again, and let it chill for at least 30 minutes (I like to let mine chill for an hour — this helps ensure the crust will bake up nice and flakey).
Preheat the oven to 375ºF, and place a cookie sheet lined with foil on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any drippings from the pie as it bakes.
Before placing the pie in the oven, whisk together the egg and water to make an egg wash and brush it lightly all over the top and crimped edges of the pie. Cut a few slits into the center of the top crust with a knife (if your top crust is lattice or braided, ignore this step) and sprinkle with sugar. Bake (on the center oven rack) for 45 minutes to an hour, until the crust looks lightly browned and you see the filling bubbling around the edges of the pie. Increase the oven temperature to 400ºF and bake another 20-30 minutes until the filling is bubbling in the center of the pie, as well. *Check on the color of the crust periodically after the first 40 minute stint — once it’s as browned as you want it, cover loosely with foil for the remainder of its time in the oven to prevent it from getting too dark or burning.
Remove from the oven and let sit at room temperature several hours before serving.
Pie crust recipe adapted from Williams-Somoma’s Essentials of Baking — recipe found online here.