Who doesn’t love pie? Our all-time favorites are apple and coconut, with blueberry and peach not far behind. In our region, peaches are at their peak in June, July, August and September.
Peeling peaches sounds like a lot of work but here’s an easy way to peel peaches. Cut an X on the bottom of each peach and carefully lower them in simmering water for 30-40 seconds. Remove peaches with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of iced water. They should peel off easily, or with the back of a spoon if necessary (start at the X). And, the boiling water will take care of any nasty pesticides!
I’ve made pies with a traditional double crust (my favorite), lattice crust or as a crostata (H’s favorite). I find the latter to be much easier! There is no difference between a crostata, which is an Italian baked tart or free-pie, and a galette which is the French term. They also range from savory to sweet and I’ve also seen them referred to as flat pies. In any event, they’re all delicious!!
When making crostatas, the method is to place a rolled out pie dough on a rimmed baking sheet, place filling in the middle and fold the sides over. I find the filling tends to ooze out despite all the trouble shooting steps I could find. I’m left with all that delicious fresh fruit filling making a puddle “around” the crostata!
My solution which is so much better and way easier is to place the pie dough on a pie plate, pile the fruit filling in the middle and just fold the edges over! Don’t worry about perfecting this; it’s supposed to be rustic. Just be sure to go around the crostata and pinch any openings close (don’t forget this step), apply an egg wash, place on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet and in the oven it goes!! Amazing!!!
Let’s get to the recipe … I searched high and low for one that would draw oohs and ahhs! Most recipes call for a lot of sugar, up to 1 cup. I always reduce the sugar because I want to taste pure fruit. And, no pie is complete without ice cream so there really isn’t any need for all that sweetness!
I experimented 3 times before I was satisfied, and the results are impressive … just saying! The peaches were bursting with flavor, with just the right amount of sugar and spices. The crust was flaky, tender and buttery!
This crostata was just taken out of the oven. You might even see the juices still bubbling away! I wish you could smell and taste it too!
I hope you’ll try this scrumptious peach crostata (or as a pie)! Either way, you’ll definitely crave a second piece!
Peach Pie or Peach Crostata
Adapted from epicurious.com
Use 1 pie crust for a crostata or 2 for a traditional pie
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 6 cups peeled and sliced firm ripe peaches (about 8-10). You don’t have to be precise about the amount!
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ packed brown sugar
- 3 tbsp cornstarch, potato starch or flour
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Pinch of ground nutmeg or grated nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp unsalted cold butter, cubed
- 1 egg beaten with small amount of milk or cream
- Preheat the oven to 425°F
- Place fresh lemon juice in a large bowl. Add peach slices and toss to combine
- In another bowl, whisk sugar, brown sugar, cornstarch (or potato starch or flour), cinnamon, nutmeg and salt (make sure it is lump free). Sprinkle over peach slices and mix gently. Set aside
- Roll out pie dough and place on a 9” pie plate
- Pour peach filling over pie shell and dot with unsalted butter
For crostata: gently fold overhanging pie dough over the filling. Double check for any cracks. If there are, gently pinch and fix (this will help keep the juices in)
For double pie crust: Place second rolled pie dough over peach slices and crimp/decorate as you would a regular pie. Make sure there are some slits or holes on the top to allow steam to escape
- Brush egg wash evenly over pie crust (not on the filling)
- Place pie on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet covered in parchment paper (don’t skip this step or you’ll have a mess to clean up)
- Bake at 425°F for 20 minutes, then lower temperature to 375°F and bake until pie crust is brown and peach filling is bubbly (approximately 30 – 35 minutes) depending on your oven temperature. If your pie crust is getting too browned, cover loosely with foil
- Let pie cool before serving (if you can wait that long), to allow juices to settle, or you will have a runny pie!
- If you have a lot of juices from your peach filling, just scoop the peaches onto the pie dough, do not add the remaining juices, it will cause the pie/crostata to overflow and become too wet and soggy. I find this happens when the peaches are too ripe
- If you really crave a sweeter pie/crostata, add additional 1 tbsp of sugar and 1 tbsp brown sugar