7.02.2011

Can't Help Myself


It's peach season here… and I can't help myself. I just had to make this luscious peach cream pie.


Recently, I was having an e-mail exchange with my friend Susan, who lives on Block Island, Rhode Island. We have been friends now for over 30 years, and have shared passions for BLTs on homemade white bread (when tomatoes are in season and perfectly ripe), Persian carpets, music, art and design... and, back to food, all manner of desserts... especially pies.



About 22 years ago, Susan, I and a couple of other friends rented a summer home on Block Island before the island became Susan's permanent residence. Susan's twin sister, Laura, and her family rented a house just a few houses down from us. Often, we would get together for drinks, meals and dessert. (Incidentally, Laura and Richard are now the fortunate owners of Il Palazzone - a vineyard in Montalcino, Tuscany - that also has a wonderful blog - I hope to visit in September and promise a report!)


Just before heading to Block Island, I learned a food processor technique for making pie dough. It was so easy and made the whole pie-baking experience much less traumatic for me.  So, when we arrived at our vacation rental home and it was equipped with a Cuisinart processor, I was thrilled. Each day, I made a fresh pie (or two) and between our two households, they quickly disappeared. I started taking requests and before too long I was known as the Pie Man.


One day, while on her pre-dawn walk, Susan came across some wild blackberries and we sent Laura's kids down to pick enough for two pies. Being wild, they were a tad seedy but they made an amazing and juicy pie. We had apple, blueberry, cherry-berry-peach and banana cream pies and (I think once) a chocolate cream pie. It was a blast and put the seed into my brain to open (someday) a pie shop. I will keep you posted when that happens!


In our recent e-mails, Susan mentioned one particular pie that I made and it is her favorite. Sadly, I cannot take the credit, as I had never made this particular pie. Yet.  I did, however, have the recipe - and Susan and I got it from the same friend, Lois. You may recall Lois as my friend who taught me how to make the chocolate tarts I posted in May.


E-chatting about it with Susan inspired me to make the pie for the very first time as soon as peach season was upon us. My niece Casi is visiting us in Tucson, looking into the various culinary schools in Arizona and helped make the pie crust, as I wanted to prove to her how easy it is. Never fear pie (or its crust).


What took me so long to try it? I have no idea, but I am grateful to Susan for the reminder. Wow, this pie is good! Too good, in fact, to keep around - I had to take it to work so that I wouldn't eat the entire thing by myself. Thank you, dear colleagues, for saving me from dietary ruin!

And one other thing about it - it is super easy!  So, here is the recipe - let me know if you try it and how you like it. (The above photo is of the rolling pin I received as a gift from Susan and her family for being the Pie Man. I cherish it and still use it often today, along with my other five rolling pins!)


- David


Peach Cream Pie

pie crust for a two-crust pie (recipe follows)
6 peaches, perfectly ripe
1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash salt
1 cup heavy cream, approximate

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Roll out the bottom crust and place in a 9-inch or 10-inch pie plate. Chill.

Peel peaches and cut in half, removing the stone. (To peel peaches easily, drop them in boiling water for 45 seconds and then into cold water to cool. Skins should slip off easily.)

Mix together sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

Roll out the top crust.

Place peach halves, cut side down in concentric circles, in the bottom crust, fitting them snugly up against each other. Sprinkle the peaches evenly with the sugar/flour/cinnamon mixture. Cover with the top crust and crimp edges decoratively. Cut a 2-inch X in the center of the top crust and carefully peel back the "flaps." Pour the cream slowly and steadily into the pie, stopping when it can hold no more cream. Close the flaps and brush the top lightly with cream or milk and place in the oven.

Bake 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 350 degrees. Continue to bake for 50 minutes, or until crust is golden and the filling is bubbling.

Serves 8.

Food Processor Pie Crust

1 1/3 cups flour
pinch salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into 16 pieces
1/4 cup ice water

Put the flour and salt in the bowl of the food processor and pulse twice to distribute the salt.  Put in chunks of butter, cover and pulse 12 times. With the processor running, pour the 1/4 cup of ice water through the feed tube and process until dough forms a ball around the blade. Wrap dough and chill for 30 minutes. (Although I have been know to use it immediately - as long as I work quickly and don't overwork the dough.)

Makes enough for 1 10-inch pie crust. (Do not double the recipe. If you need two crusts, make the second one just as you finish putting the pie together.)

8 comments:

  1. I would do anything to dive into a luscious peach right now!!!! This looks scrumptious.

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  2. Elle Marie, I felt so guilty posting another peach recipe knowing it was going to drive you crazy! Sorry - as the titles said - Can't Help Myself! I promis something very different next week! A co-post with my Provence-loving friends about Bastille Day!

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  3. I'm LOVING your blog. I was wondering how the pie is when it is cut. Does it all ooze out all over the place? Thanks for sharing your recipes and your love of food.

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  4. Hi Susana! Hope you and Julie are keeping well. When we cut the pie, each slice came out perfectly - it was warm, but not hot. Monsoons have started - so nice to see rain! (what a crazy thing to say to someone living in the Northeast!)

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  5. We had just received a box of peaches when your post on this dreamy peach pie emerged on my screen. We had to make it! Just terrific! We substituted organic pastry flour (because we had a surplus) which made for a slightly more rustic pie but still an exceptionally tasty one! It wasn't as pretty as yours--we will just have to practice! Great post!

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  6. Susan - rustic is good when it comes to pies! Glad you enjoyed the peach pie!

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  7. What a lovely pie David. I love peaches!

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  8. My friend Jill had trouble with the cream "not fitting" and suggest adding some of the cream around the edges before putting on the top. Worth trying, I think...

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