Palisades Peach Pie

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I know my recent cooking posts have all been about peaches (and I promise this will be the last).  First it was our own peaches, which we enjoyed grilled with ricotta, sliced in our morning cereal or yogurt, and in a Raspberry Peach buckle

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Now it is the massive box of peaches I purchased at a roadside stand on my way home from Waterton Canyon last weekend.  I'll blame the long trail run and dehydration for my desire to purchase pounds and pounds of the fruit.  I ate three peaches before I even got home. 

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Palisades is a town nestled along the Colorado River on the western slope of Colorado that is known for its peaches.  Random aside - we drove all the way to Palisades for a soccer game in high school and I swear their team name was the Peaches... the school website says they are the Bulldogs, but maybe they realized a few years ago that a peach is not very intimidating?!  Anyway - the peaches from the western slope are famous throughout the state (there is even a Peach Festival that I hope to attend next summer) and I look forward to their arrival at the farmer's market each year.

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It seemed to me that the obvious peach dessert I had yet to make was a pie.  Because peaches are easily overwhelmed by other flavors, I stuck to using only peaches.  I've made a Peach Blueberry Crumble that was absolutely delicious - but it might as well have been a Blueberry Crumble.  The same was true of the Raspberry Peach Buckle.  It was awesome and we gobbled it up, but the raspberries dominated the peaches.  These peaches are fragrant and juicy and taste of summer... they don't need to be masked by anything else!

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Palisades Peach Pie

Crust Recipe from Cook's Illustrated

Filling adapted from the Farmer's Market Desserts Cookbook 

Crust Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/4 cup cold vodka
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Filling Ingredients

  • 3 pounds ripe but not squishy peaches (about 12 medium peaches), halved, pitted and sliced
  • 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch (or quick-cooking tapioca if you prefer)

Make the crust:

1.  Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour).  Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade.  Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses.  Empty mixture into medium bowl.

2.  Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture.  With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together.  Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk.  Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.  Let dough soften at room temperature prior to rolling.

Make the filling:

1.  Remove the disks of dough from the refrigerator.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Place the oven rack in the middle.

2. To make the filling, put about half of the peach slices into a heavy saucepan and the other half in a large bowl.  Grate 1/2 teaspoon zest from the lemon and add to the peaches in the pan, along with the granulated sugar, salt, and cornstarch.  Place the pan over medium heat and stir gently until the sugar, salt, and cornstarch are completely dissolved and the peaches begin to give off a little juice, about 2 minutes.  When the juices just begin to bubble and thicken, remove the pan from the heat and transfer the contents to the bowl holding the remaining peach slices.  Halves the lemon, squeeze 2 teaspoons juice from it, and add to the peaches.  Toss to coat evenly.  Set aside to cool while you roll out the pastry.

3.  Roll out one disk of dough into a 12-inch circle.  Flip the dough into a pie dish, fitting it gently into the pan without stretching or pressing the dough.  Trim the edges to leave a 1/2 inch overhang.  Refrigerate while you roll out the top crust.

4.  Roll the remaining dish into a 10-inch circle.  Distribute the peaches evenly on the bottom crust.  Cover the peaches with the top crust as you see fit - crimp the edges, use cut-out shapes (pictured in this post), or make a lattice crust.  If you leave the crust as a solid sheet of dough, be sure to take a paring knife and cut a few decorative vents near the center of the top crust.  If you'd like, brush the top crust with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

5.  Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet (very important - mine bubbled over considerably) and transfer to the oven.  Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake until the crust is a rich, golden brown, about 50 additional minutes.  Let the pie cool on a wire rack for at least an hour prior to serving (if you can wait!).

6.  Refrigerate leftover pie, tightly covered, and reheat the pie at 350 degrees.