What says end of summer like a peach pie? Mmmm... good stuff. I found this really good peach cream cheese pie recipe at ai love baking. As great as the post was, I still had lots of questions since I had never made a peach pie (or any peach dessert) before. That had nothing to do with the quality of the post, obviously it still very much appealed to me since I wanted to make the pie, but it was just my own lack of knowledge about peaches that made me want to learn more. So I asked around and tracked down information to help me successfully make a fresh peach pie and I'm sharing everything I learned, starting from the beginning. You can thank me after you take your first bite! ;) If you already know all about peaches, it's still a great recipe to try!
Find yourself some fresh peaches. For this recipe, you'll need about 6-7. I've never eaten a fresh peach before. I like peaches, but have only had canned (I know, sad.) I just can't get past sinking my teeth into the fuzzy peach skin which is why I knew nothing about fresh peaches. Ha! I got to say knew, as in past tense because that's no longer the case! Sorry, little things excite me!
Along this pie making quest I learned how to remove the skins and cut a fresh peach. You'd think cutting a peach wouldn't be something you need to learn, but seriously, I tried to cut one based on what I was told first and it SOO did not work. You can't just cut into the peach to the pit and split it open. Yes, I mushed a few peaches trying to pry that baby open before I got frustrated enough to find the correct way! But that's how you learn, right?
Get yourself a big pot of boiling water going. Then get a large bowl with cold water and ice cubes in it. With a sharp knife, carve an X at the top end of the peach, one line going with the crease of the peach, and the other going the opposite way. Do not go deep - you'll let good nutrients out! Keep the cut right under the skin. Put the peaches in the boiling water for about 30-40 seconds - just enough to see the skin loosen where you cut it.
Immediately put it in your bowl of cold water to stop the heat.
Once all your peaches are done, we are now going to take the skins off. I use a paper plate to put my skins on for easy clean up and a bowl to put the peaches in. Start with the loosened skin and peel off the peach. Holding the peeled peach in your hand, insert your knife at the top of the peach, down to the pit and slice to the bottom. Move your knife over a little bit and do the same thing. Before removing your knife, gently push the slice out. Do this all around the peach for nice even slices. Works like a charm, eh?
My bowl is quite large & full because I'm making 2 pies. But you should have a bowl full of yummy peach slices too. Now you are going to add your sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Let it sit for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
During the 15 minutes that your peaches are marinating, you will make your crust and your cream layer. Yes, you can do all this in 15 minutes! First, with a hand mixer, mix your block of cream cheese and 1/2-1 cup (your preference) of powdered sugar. Set aside. Stir your peaches. :)
Next, the pie crust. I mean, the best pie crust that also happens to be super easy. This is my pie crust recipe I've always used from my mom so I never use any other. Grab a bowl and add 2 cups of flour and a shake of salt. Stir it up real good with a fork. In a 1 cup measuring cup, add 1/2 cup of oil (I like to use grapeseed oil) and 5 tablespoons of water. Yes, in this case we are mixing oil and water. Pour this into your flour bowl and mix with the fork. How easy was that? Wait until you taste it...heavenly. I never have much luck rolling anything out on a floured surface, so I take a piece of parchment paper and put it on my counter, plop half the dough on it and put a piece of waxed paper on top and roll it out. Remove the waxed paper and flip to lay inside your pie plate with the parchment on top. Remove the parchment. Take your fork and prick a few holes here and there to avoid the crust bubbling up. Set aside your papers for the top dough. Stir your peaches. :)
Spread your cream cheese filling in your pie plate.
Now take your peaches and drain them into a bowl, as you want to save the liquid.
Scoop your peaches on top of the cream cheese filling. Pour in half of your liquid and add a few tablespoons of butter pieces.
Now let's do the top crust. Roll out your dough again and you can either just leave the crust plain and cut slits or get fancy and do cut outs. I like to do cut outs. I have a cookie cutter collection of small seasonal cutters I like to use and usually use the heart but this time I decided to use my apply corer, since it was the perfect circle size. I like to save the cut outs and decorate the crust.
Lay your top crust on your pie, crimp the edges closed all around, and use your handy fork to impress the edges. Brush a thin layer of milk over the top crust and add your cut outs if you'd like. Are you getting excited yet?
Now bake at 425 F for 30 minutes on the lower third oven rack. Lower the temperature to 350 and bake another 25-30 minutes. And then you have a wonderful smelling house and beautiful pie! Remove and let cool long enough that you can stand to eat it with some ice cream.
It never says what to do with the other half of the liquid and I'm not going to pour out all that goodness. I would suggest heating it over the stove and letting it thicken a little since it has cornstarch in it and use it as a sauce to pour over the pie and ice cream. I however, reserved some of the peach slices and added it to extra sauce and just put in the frig for my kids to throw in the blender to make smoothies with it.
I hope this eliminates any questions you may have and makes peach pie making very simple for you!
Peaches & Cream Pie (printable version)
(adapted from ai love baking)
My Mom's Pie Crust:
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil
5 tbsp water
Add flour and salt in a bowl and sift with a fork. Measure the oil in a 1 cup measuring cup and add the water to the oil. Add to the flour and mix with a fork. Divide dough in half & roll out. Makes 2 pie bottom crusts or 1 bottom and top crust. Prick with a fork to eliminate bubbles. (Bake at 425 unfilled for 10-12 minutes or according to your recipe directions for a filled pie.)
6-7 ripe peaches, skinned and cut into slices
1/2 cup sugar
3 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and let sit for 15 minutes, gently stirring occasionally. Drain the peaches, saving the liquid.
Cream Cheese Layer:
1 - 8 oz block cream cheese, softened
1/2-1 cup powdered sugar (your sweetness preference)
Mix the cheese and sugar with a mixer until well blended and smooth. Set aside.
Putting Pie Together:
Position rack on lower third of oven, heat to 425 F.
With prepared crust, peaches & cream cheese as above, fill crust with cream cheese mixture and peaches adding half the liquid and 2-3 tbsp of butter pats. Add top crust. Lightly brush the crust with milk. Bake for 30 minutes; lower temperature to 350 and bake for another 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven to cool.