Saturday, September 4, 2010

25 Pounds of Peaches...Eaten!

On my last day of summer, I dragged my kids out to go peach and raspberry picking. Bishops Orchard's in Guilford, CT is about 25 minutes north of the city of New Haven, so it was a quick car ride, and a gorgeous, hot day. The first bunch of peach trees we approached were full and heavy with fruit, but most of it was a little too hard. One year, at another orchard, I'd picked hard peaches, and they never ripened properly, even in a paper bag, so I was hesitant to pick these. I found one slightly ripe peach and let my six year old squeeze it so he would know what to feel for. The two year old just wandered around eating hard peaches and hiding under the tree limbs. We tried a few more trees, thinking the sunny side of the tree might be riper, until, finally we found one great tree filled with ripe fruit. In a few minutes we had two full bags, 25 pounds of perfect peaches. We brought them home, rolled them out onto the counter and started scheming. 

Peach raspberry pie was declared first on the list. We made it with the few handfuls of raspberries I managed to pick with two tired kids after we were done with the peaches, and a few more from the bush in our yard. I made my favorite pie dough, rolled the crust and let my boy decorate it. He took the dough scrapes and turned them into a baking experiment, all rolled together with some rainbow sprinkles and chocolate inside, and a little egg and sugar on top (below left). He explained that we needed to test it before we made more to see if it tasted good. I remembered the time I'd spent playing in the kitchen when I was a kid while my mother baked desserts in out of our home for a local restaurant, and how it instilled in my the love of baking and creativity in the kitchen. He was equally excited by the pie and his dough experiment as they emerged from the oven.

My Grandma came to dinner so we made her a gluten free peach raspberry crisp, using oats, tapioca starch, brown sugar, salt and a little oil for the crumble topping. Herb stuffed roasted organic chicken, with with cauliflower and onions made it's way into the oven as well. It was a good night.

It has been one week since we picked  25 pounds of peaches. I had plans to  freeze or cook some of them, but it seems that over the course of this week, my family of four has managed to eat all but one of these luscious juicy fruits. And, late on this hot night, I'm thinking that that last peach is about to go the way of the rest, pink juice running down my elbows and all.

Peach Raspberry Pie
Best Pie Dough
1/2 pound butter
2 1/2 C Flour
2 T sugar
1 t salt
1/2 C ice water
1/2 teaspoon vinegar

  1. Cut butter into 1-inch pieces. Freeze for 15 minutes
  2. Sift or whisk flour. Dissolve salt into water and add vinegar.
  3. In a stand mixer using the paddle attachement, or with a fork, cut the butter into the flour until it is large pea sived pieces. Pinch any large pieces flat. 
  4. Add water mixture to flour while mixing on low speed just until the dough comes together. It should be tacky, not sticky. Do not squish or overwork dough. Gently pull the dough together. Divide into 2 pieces, wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or freeze up to 3 weeks.
peaches - about 3 pounds, enough to mound in a 9-inch pie tin
raspberries - 1/2 pint
3 T corn starch or tapioca
1/2 cup sugar (or more  to taste)
  1. Peel the peaches either with a vegetable peeler, or by cutting an "x" in the bottom of each fruit and placing it in a pot of boiling water for about 10 seconds. remove the peach and place in ice water. Use a sharp pairing knife to peel the skin off. Slice peaches into 1/2 -inch thick wedges.
  2. Roll out both rounds of pie dough to between 1/8 and 1/4 inches thick. Place in the refrigerator to chill. 
  3. Place one chilled piece of dough in a nine inch pie pan and press into the bottom edge of the pan. 
  4. Toss peaches with starch and sugar. Pour into prepared pie shell. top with raspberries. brush the dough edge with egg wash to help seal the pie crust. Remove the second piece of dough from the fridge and cut a design into it. Cover the peaches with top piece of dough and press into the edge of the bottom crust. 
  5. Using scissors, cut the dough about 3/4" from the pan edge. Fold the dough under itself and pinch around edge to crimp, or use a fork to finish the pie edge. brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar if desired. Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes. 
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pie on a sheet pan covered in foil or parchment to catch drips. Bake pie for about 50 minutes to 1 hour until the juices are bubbling rapidly and the dough is a dark golden color.
If you made any great pies this summer, please share by leaving a comment below!


  1. YUM! thanks for reminding me to let my kids do more cooking of their own ... it will be easier now that we want the oven on more often. and thanks for the gorgeous photos, lovely writing, and wonderful recipes too!

  2. Thanks Noel! miss you so much! Yes, it was great to be able to turn the oven on again. I really missed it! I tried to let my boy roll out the pie dough, but as he started to destroy my carefully made dough, I couldn't stop myself form taking back the rolling pin. then i gave him all the scraps to do whatever he wanted with. It worked better for both of us. IT was great to see him take such joy in his own creation though!

  3. i have been having some issues with consistency with my crusts (used to make it with strictly butter, but tried Dorie Greenspan's recipe with some shortening as well and it was the bomb, but have had a very difficult time re-creating the magic; it just falls apart so easily while baking and i am frustrated. tastes great, though!) so i made a 'whatever's in the fridge and about to go bad' rustic tart-that included some mixed berries, a couple of plums, and peaches. didn't have the patience for making double crusts, so just placed the fruit in the middle and folded the dough up and over top of the fruit like a little package-i love that; very little sugar, freshly made whipped cream with a hint of vanilla-delish! i wish we could have done some real fruit picking this summer, but most of my creations consist of farmer's market finds & overpriced organic purchases...i have an end of the season blueberry pie in the oven as we speak, inspired by this post!

  4. you make me want to start baking, something i have yet to grasp

  5. Yay more pies!!! There is still time to pick fruit. sabrina, hope you get to make a trip up north form B'klyn so we can pick and bake. did you refrigerate your pie before baking? sometimes the crust just needs to be really cold before making it into the oven. You could also try turning up the heat to 375, or even 400 for the first 15 minutes of baking or until the crust starts to brown slightly, and then turn it down to 325 or 350. All of these things keep the butter from melting without crisping up. The freezing of the butter in this recipe is great. Also, it is fine if there are pretty big pieces of butter in the dough, and you want to have just enough water to make the dough come together. it shouldn't be dry and barely work it to come together. just make pies for a few weekends, and you'll get the hang of it. your pies sound great! Tagan

  6. My favorite pie crust recipe uses vinegar too...and milk! I always thought it was to cudle the milk a bit, but I guess not if you use it with water. Do you know it's purpose? For my fats, I prefer a combo of butter and leaf-lard if I can get it!