I used to be afraid of double crust pies. Pies are already high maintenance enough, and so to add a crust to the top seemed like a fool’s errand. It could rip. It could be chewy. Worse…it could burn.
And so I stuck to crumble-topped pies. They seemed somehow safer, more predictable. Plus…who doesn’t love more flour, butter, and sugar on top of pie filling, right?
But as I was finalizing plans for the 10-Pie, 10-Pi Birthday Party, I knew I wanted to make one traditional, timeless pie. And I knew it had to have a double crust. And I knew it had to have a lattice top. And I knew it had to be peach.
There’s really nothing that says summer party more than peach pie. So I scoured the internet, read several peach pie recipes and watched too many lattice-top pie tutorials. But I settled on the peach pie recipe from Smitten Kitchen because, well, every recipe that I’ve tried of hers has turned out…aaaand, her lattice-top tutorial, though made with Microsoft Paint way back in 2006, is probably the best one the Interwebs has to offer.
I made one test peach pie the weekend before the party, and I was pretty happy with the results, though the crust was slightly chewier than I would have liked. But the lattice top? My word. It was so much easier than I would have thought. When I made this pie for the actual party, I kept my ingredients even colder (frozen butter! ice water!) and worked even more quickly than the first time around, and the crust came out with a much better texture.
I’m happy to say that I’m no longer afraid of double-crust pies. I’ve settled into a happy routine with all-butter crusts, and I’m on a pie-making roll. So if you, like me, have a plague-like swarm of fruit flies hovering over your fruit bowl, pull out those peaches and bake them into this pie…if for no other reason than to spite the fruit flies.
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen
Yields: One 9.5-inch pie
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surfaces
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, frozen
1/2 cup water, very cold
About 3 1/2 pounds peaches (RIPE)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, from about half a regular lemon
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons minute tapioca, ground to a powder or 3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon milk, cream or water
1 tablespoon coarse or granulated sugar
For the Crust:
At least a half an hour before making your pie dough, place your sticks of butter in the freezer. About ten minutes before making your pie dough place your water in the freezer. Whisk together flour, sugar and salt in the bottom of a large, wide-ish bowl. Cut the butter into 1/2 inch pieces. Using a pastry blender, two forks or your fingertips, work the butter into the flour until the biggest pieces of butter are the size of small peas. Gently stir in the ice water with a rubber spatula, mixing it until a craggy mass forms. Get your hands in the bowl and knead it just two or three times to form a ball. Divide dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and flatten a bit, like a disc. Chill in fridge for at least an hour or up to two days. Slip plastic-wrapped dough into a freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 to 2 months. To defrost, leave in fridge for 1 day.
For the Filling:
Peel and pit the peaches. Halve the peaches, then into about 1/3-inch thick slices (smaller if your peaches are more firm). You’ll want 5 to 6 cups. Add to a large bowl and toss with lemon juice. In a small dish, stir together sugars, cinnamon, salt and minute tapioca/cornstarch until evenly mixed. Add to peaches and toss to evenly coat.
Assemble your pie:
Preheat: Oven to 425 degrees.
Flour your counter, unwrap your first dough (if the two pieces look uneven, go for the smaller one) and put it in the middle and flour that too. Be generous. Start rolling your dough by pressing down lightly with the pin and moving it from the center out. You’re not going to get it all flat in one roll or even twenty; be patient and it will crack less. Roll it a few times in one direction, lift it up and rotate it a quarter-turn. And that’s what you’re going to continue to do, roll a couple times, lift the dough and rotate it. Re-flour the counter and the top of the dough as needed–don’t skimp on the flour! You should be leaving no bits of dough on the counter and none should be stuck to your pin. If at any point, the dough starts to get sticky or soft, it’s warming up and will only become more difficult to work with. Transfer it back to the fridge for a few minutes (or even the freezer, but for just a minute) to let it cool, then resume your rolling process.
Once your dough is a 12 to 13-inch circle, transfer pie dough to a standard pie dish.Trim the overhang to one inch.
Roll out your top pie dough until it is 12 to 13 inches in diameter. Scoop filling into bottom pie dough, including any accumulated juices. If you’d like to make a regular lidded pie, use it as is, cutting some decorative vents in the pie lid before baking. To make a lattice-top pie follow the directions here and see diagram above.
Fold the overhang of the bottom crust over and crimp decoratively.
To finish:Brush pie with milk, cream or water and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake the Pie
For about 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until the crust is set and beginning to brown. Reduce oven temperature to 375 and bake pie for another 30 to 40 minutes, until filling is bubbling all over and the crust is a nice golden brown. If the pie lid browns too quickly at any point in the baking process, you can loosely cover it with foil for the remaining baking time to prevent further browning.
Allow to cool for at least 3 hours at room temperature.
Best Eaten same day. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers after 24 hours.