Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An End of Summer Treat: Peach Pies

9/24/08 Cook’s Corner
Betty Kaiser

Heavenly. That’s the only way I know how to describe the delicious late summer taste of a fresh, juicy peach. As I write this, fresh peaches are still abundant from nearby orchards and we are enjoying them served from noon to night on breakfast cereal, sliced fresh over ice cream and in a variety of other desserts.

SunCrest peaches are my favorite all-around peach for both eating and canning. They ripen in late Aug. through early Sept. and their firm, sweet flesh melts in your mouth. Right now, Improved Elbertas have arrived on the scene and they are a great all-around freestone peach with a firm yellow flesh that resists bruising. So now is the time to can if you want to enjoy a jar of rosy peaches in the dead of winter!

My hands down favorite peach dish is a glazed, fresh peach pie. Many new cooks are afraid to tackle a fresh fruit pie but it’s really not difficult. Just think of it as a three-step process:

First, prepare and bake the pie shell. Then, while the pie shell is cooling, make the glaze. While the glaze is cooling, slice and arrange the peaches. Pour the peach glaze over the peaches and refrigerate until serving time. Serve it all and eat it quickly because fresh fruit pies don’t stand up well after cutting.

Thanks to my family’s Southern cooking roots, I’ve never met a dessert containing peaches, coconut and pecans that I didn’t like. So today we’re going to start out with a glazed peach pie recipe and move on to a couple of scrumptious recipes for peach pies with blueberries, coconut and/or pecans. One even makes its own crust. Enjoy!

 Glazed Peach Pie

1 9-inch pie shell, baked
1 quart sliced fresh peaches, excess liquid drained
 3/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
 3 tablespoons cornstarch
 1 teaspoon vanilla
  teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon
1/8 teaspoon salt
sweetened whipped cream or whipped topping

Mash 1 cup of the peaches. Add water and cook four minutes. Mix sugar and cornstarch; add to the fruit mixture. Cook until thick and clear. Add vanilla, lemon juice, butter, and salt. Let cool. Arrange remaining peach slices in the cooled pie shell. Pour cooled peach glaze mixture over the sliced fruit. Chill. To serve, top with whipped cream or whipped topping and a few small peach slices, if desired. Or, serve with vanilla ice cream.

Blueberry Peach Pie with Pecan Crumb Topping

1 (9 inch)  prepared unbaked pie shells, refrigerated


3 cups fresh blueberries, picked over for stems
3 cups peeled pitted and sliced ripe fresh peaches
1/2 cup sugar, plus
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 grated lime, zest of
3 tablespoons cornstarch

Pecan Crumb Topping

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 tablespoon milk or light cream

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Place prepared piecrust in the freezer for 15 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, combine the filling ingredients, mix well and set aside for 10 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons sugar; stir into the fruit mixture.
4. Turn the filling into the chilled pie crust; place the pie on the center oven rack and bake for 30 minutes.
5. Prepare the topping—combine the flour, pecans, sugar, and salt in a food processor; pulse several times to chop the nuts coarsely.
6. Scatter the butter over the top and pulse again until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
7. Sprinkle the milk over the mixture and pulse again briefly.
8. Transfer the topping to a bowl and rub it between your fingers to make damp, gravelly crumbs; refrigerate until ready to use.
   9. Remove the pie from the oven and decrease temperature to 375°; evenly spread the crumbs over the top of the pie.
10. Slide a large foil-lined baking sheet onto the oven rack below to catch any drips. Return pie to oven
11. Continue to bake 30-40 minutes until the juices bubble thickly around the edge. If necessary, cover the pie with loosely tented foil for the last 15 minutes to keep the top from getting too brown.
  14. Transfer pie to a wire rack; let cook for at least 2 hours before serving.

Peach Pie with Coconut and Pecans

2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
½ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup self-rising flour
1-1/3 cups shredded coconut
2-1/2 cups chopped peaches
12 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Generously grease and lightly flour a 9-inch pie plate.

In a large bowl, beat eggs; add milk, corn syrup, butter, sugar, vanilla and flour; blend well.

Pour mixture into pie plate. Sprinkle with pecans, then generously with cinnamon. Bake 40-50 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let the pie cool before cutting. Garnish each serving with whipped cream.

Keep it simple and keep it seasonal!
Betty Kaiser’s Cook’s Corner is dedicated to sharing a variety of recipes 
that are delicious, family oriented and easy to prepare. 

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