Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Peaches and Cream Pie

Peaches, nectarines, plums, and other stone fruit have finally made their way into the produce section at the store. Paul, the kids, and I were out shopping last week and saw the grocers busily unpacking the peaches and placing them carefully on the front display. They had a sample display set up so you could taste the different varieties being stocked and Paul gave Emma and Matthew a taste of each. Last year, we could not get Matthew to eat a peach because they were a little too "juicy" for him. His tastes do not make much sense to me considering he's always been able to eat a beefsteak tomato out of hand without an issue. This year, however, both kids instantly fell in love with the taste of peaches. Emma, in particular, after having her first taste could not get enough. So, Paul had them each "pick out" their own peaches to enjoy as an after dinner treat. At $2.49/pound, they are still a bit of a luxury.

Luckily, peaches went on sale this week for $0.99/pound and we greedily stocked up. The kids have been enjoying peaches in their morning oatmeal, as an afternoon snack, and as a reward for finishing their dinners. Matthew especially liked discovering that each peach has "a brain" after Paul cut one in half to show him the pit. That sort of thing would have grossed me out as a kid and hampered my liking of the fruit. In Matthew's weird little mind, I think it only helped him like it more.

Peaches also happen to be Paul's favorite fruit and with Father's Day coming up, I know I will be making something peach-related to serve for dessert. I will probably be making some sort of Peach Cobbler come Sunday, but decided to try this new recipe for Peaches and Cream Pie as a weeknight surprise for Paul. His favorite way to eat peaches are cut up and tossed with a generous splash of heavy cream (and by "splash" I mean "about a cup or so" - much to my horror!) so this pie seemed right up his alley.

There is very little hands-on time for this recipe other than making the pie dough itself. If you have some pie dough already frozen (like me), this will come together pretty easily. There is a lot of waiting time because you have to roast the peaches and par-bake the pie crust before whisking the cream filling together and assembling everything for the final bake. However, all the steps are really, really simple. I was able to do most of this with a whining, teething Emma wrapped around my right leg.

This is a beautiful pie. Waiting three hours to cut into it would have been torturous were it not for the fact that I made it for Paul and it just would have been wrong to have a slice without him. When we did finally cut into it, I had to take a pretty picture for all of you. Problem was, I had to fight Emma off the whole entire time. That girl really wanted some peach pie!

There really isn't much to say about this pie other than it is absolutely delicious. Light and not-too-sweet, I liked how the peaches were truly the star of the show. Paul LOVED it - he was so happy when I cut him a piece larger than his face. I like to make him feel special in between my teasings. This recipe is going into our "favorites" file. 

Make this pie soon before all the summer peaches disappear!!

Peaches and Cream Pie
from Cook's Country, June/July 2011

1 recipe for single crust 9-inch pie dough (use your favorite recipe or buy some from the store!)
2 pounds ripe but firm peaches, peeled, halved, and pitted
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Gently roll pie dough out and fit into a 9-inch glass pie pan. Flute the edges and lightly cover the shell with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 40 minutes, then freeze for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 375 degrees. Once the pie shell is chilled, line with foil and fill with pie weights (I use dried pinto beans).

Place peach halves cut side up on aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake peaches on upper-middle rack until softened and juice is released, about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through baking.

After 30 minutes, place the chilled pie crust on lower-middle rack (while peaches continue to roast) and bake until edges are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Remove crust from oven and carefully remove foil and weights. Continue to bake until bottom of crust is light brown and peaches are caramelized, about 5 minutes longer. Cool crust and peaches for 15 minutes on a wire rack.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Cut peaches lengthwise into quarters. Arrange peaches in single layer over crust. Combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar, flour, and salt in bowl. Whisk in cream, egg yolks, and vanilla until smooth. Pour cream mixture over peaches. Bake until filling is light golden brown and firm in center, about 45-55 minutes.

Cool pie on wire rack for at least 3 hours before slicing and serving.

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