I believe this is the first recipe I’ve titled in all CAPS. For good reason, don’t you think? The combination of your memories of the classic and the current height of the fruit’s summer reign should be making your mouth water right now. Enough said.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces, 16 tablespoons or 1 cup) unsalted butter, very cold
1/2 – 1 cup ice cold water
About 3 1/2 pounds peaches (approximately 7 medium)
1 tablespoon lemon juice, from about half a regular lemon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp table salt
2 tablespoons minute tapioca, ground to a powder (see note up top), or 3 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon coarse or granulated sugar
Gather your ingredients: First, cut two sticks of very cold unsalted butter into 1/2-inch pieces and put them in the freezer for a few minutes while you get the rest of your ingredients going. Fill a one cup liquid measuring cup with water, and drop in a few ice cubes; set it aside. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of salt. Get out your pastry blender. If you have a marble rolling pin like I happen to, put it in the freezer to chill for later.
Make your mix: Take the butter out of the freezer and sprinkle the cubes over the flour and begin working them in with the pastry blender, using it to scoop and redistribute the mixture as needed so all parts are worked evenly. When all of the butter pieces are the size of tiny peas — this won’t take long — stop. Yes, even if it looks uneven; you’ll thank me later. This is where I realized I’ve seriously been overworking the dough with other recipes. The food processor would have been too aggressive.
Glue it together: Start by drizzling 1/2 cup of the ice-cold water (but not the cubes, if there are any left!) over the butter and flour mixture. Using a rubber or silicon spatula, gather the dough together. You may need up to an additional 1/4 cup of cold water to bring it together, but add it a tablespoon as a time. (I added 2 more tablespoons). Once you’re pulling large clumps with the spatula, take it out and get your hands in there (see how that big bowl comes in handy?). Gather the disparate damp clumps together into one mound, kneading them gently and quickly together. I couldn’t believe how wet and sticky my dough seemed at this stage, but it worked in the end. So go ahead, add that much water, even if it seems like too much at the time.
Pack it up: Divide the dough in half, and place each half on a large piece of plastic wrap. I like to use the sides to pull in the dough and shape it into a disk. Let the dough chill in the fridge for one hour, but preferably at least two, before rolling it out.
Do ahead: Dough will keep in the fridge for about a week, and in the freezer longer. If not using it that day, wrap it in additional layers of plastic wrap to protect it from fridge/freezer smells. To defrost your dough, move it to the fridge for one day before using it. I let mine chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours and it was quite cold enough.
While it’s chilling, make the pie filling.
Bring a large saucepan of water to boil. Prepare an ice bath. Make a small x at the bottom of each peach. Once water is boiling, lower peaches, as many as you can fit at once, into saucepan and poach for two-three minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to ice bath for one minute to cool. Transfer peaches to cutting board and peel the skins. In most cases, the boiling-then-cold water will loosen the skins and they’ll slip right off. In the case of some stubborn peaches, they will stay intact and you can peel them with a paring knife.
Halve and pit the peaches, then into about 1/3-inch thick slices. You’ll want 6-7 cups. Add to a large bowl and toss with lemon juice. In a small dish, stir together sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and tapioca until evenly mixed. Add to peaches and toss to evenly coat.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Now, to assemble your pie. Back to the crust. These instructions are also adapted from Smitten Kitchen, Pie Crust 103.
Start by getting your stuff out: You’ll want a small dish of flour, a rolling pin (a chilled marble one if you have it), your pie dough that has been chilling for an hour or two, but preferably longer, your pie pan and some sort of bench scraper or knife.
Flour the heck out of your surface, unwrap the dough and put it in the middle and flour that too. Be generous, you’ll thank me later. 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! You should be leaving no bits of dough on the counter and none should be stuck to your pin.
If the dough sticks to the board, use that bench scraper and run it tightly underneath the stuck part, peel it back, and flour the heck out of that area, before getting back to rolling, lifting and turning the dough. For a standard-size pie tin, trim your pie dough into a 12-inch circle with the tip of a knife. Because your pie dough has been kept cool and loose on the counter, transferring it to the pie plate should be no trouble at all. Fold it very loosely into quarters and unfold it into the pie pan. Fill the bottom crust with your reserved peach filling.
For a lattice top crust, roll out the second half of chilled dough the same as the first. Once you have a 12 inch circle, cut the dough into strips with a knife or pizza cutter. Lay half the strips parallel on top of the filling, with about 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch space between them. Fold back every other strip. Place one long strip of dough perpendicular to the parallel strips as shown. Unfold the folded strips over the perpendicular strip. Now take the parallel strips that are running underneath the perpendicular strip and fold them back over the perpendicular strip, as shown. Lay down a second perpendicular strip of dough next to the first strip, with some space between the strips. Unfold the folded parallel strips over the second strip. Does this sound confusing? Just think of weaving with construction paper in grade school.
Continue this process until the weave is complete over the top of the pie. Trim the edges of the strips flush with the dough of the underlying pie dish, which should be about half an inch over the sides. Fold back the rim of the shell over the edge of the lattice strips, and crimp to secure. To finish, brush pie with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake 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 cover it with foil for the remaining baking time to prevent further browning.
Please, please, let this pie cool for three hours at room temperature before serving. I know you won’t listen to me, but if you’re concerned about the runniness of the pie filling, keep in mind that the pie filling does not fully thicken until it is fully cool. Pie can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge; from the fridge, it will be even thicker. I like it best for breakfast the next day.