Nicole Rucker’s July Flame Peach Pie

published Mar 7, 2022
July Flame Peach Pie Recipe

The interior of a ripe July Flame peach is the color of a dramatic summer sunset. Use the best, juiciest, and most vibrant peaches you can find for this pie.

Serves8 to 10

Makes 1 (9 1/2-inch pie)

Cook1 hour

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Credit: Alan Gastelum

There have been times in my life when a piece of fruit has saved me. I know this sounds overly dramatic. “Woman Saved by Peach” seems implausible. But there was a day not too long ago when I ate a peach that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up and tears come to my eyes, breaking open the knot of anxiety and stress that had formed inside me from a very hard day at work. It started before I had even put the slice into my mouth, when the knife broke the skin of a gorgeous July Flame peach and a trickle of garnet-colored juice dripped down onto the table. I had the beauty of an entire season right there in my hand, and it was delicious. I felt a knot inside myself begin to loosen.

What did I do after that soul-opening moment? I dried the tears that had begun to well, gobbled up the perfect peach, and feverishly wrote down six recipe ideas that I hoped would do that peach justice. Cooking a peach well is a heavy burden because a perfect peach should be eaten and savored and worshiped as is. Much later I would leave my position at the restaurant I worked at, and look back on that time with the peach as being the marker for the moment I knew it was time to move on.

I have had some very poetic moments with fruit growers, and it leads me to think that the particular soul of each farmer draws them to a specific crop. David “Mas” Masumoto, the famous peach farmer known all across the Bay Area of California and beyond, is a good example. I once watched him tenderly cut a half-fallen branch from a nectarine tree, snapped under the weight of so much heavy fruit, and pass the branch to my nephew. He put his arm around my nephew’s shoulders and said, “Look, it’s like he is cradling a newborn, they’re babies…” With an open smile and a laugh, he continued on through the orchard like a shepherd, greeting every guest on the farm that day with a calmness and kindness.

Every year, I bring one perfect peach to my therapist and one to my best friend because it’s important to share the things that are beautiful, especially with those who will consider the beauty and sit with it for a moment. I like to force a peach on a stranger who has spotted them on my farmer’s market cart — “Here, take it. It’s perfect. You should try it.” — hoping to inspire them to take a moment to consider the fruit and the perfect fragility of a peach, but also to carry forward the spirit and generosity of the wonderful farmers like Mas and his family who share their painstaking tending of the land with us.

July Flame Peach Pie Recipe

The interior of a ripe July Flame peach is the color of a dramatic summer sunset. Use the best, juiciest, and most vibrant peaches you can find for this pie.

Cook time 1 hour

Makes 1 (9 1/2-inch pie)

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    recipe Flaky Pie Crust (2 crusts)

  • 3 tablespoons

    all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

  • 3 pounds

    ripe but firm peaches (do not use white peaches)

  • 3/4 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons

    fresh lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla bean paste or extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground mace

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 3 tablespoons

    heavy cream

  • 1 tablespoon

    raw turbinado sugar


  1. If your dough has been chilled overnight, it will need to sit at room temperature a bit before rolling—this will take 10 to 15 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Lightly flour a flat work surface and roll 1 disc of the pie dough out to a 12-inch round that is 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9 1/2-inch pie dish and use your fingertips to press the dough into the shape of the pie dish, leaving a 2-inch overhang around the edge of the dish. Roll the second disc of dough out to a 10-inch round and transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. Chill the bottom and top crust in the fridge until very cold, 15 to 25 minutes.

  3. Wash the peaches and remove their skins using a vegetable peeler or paring knife. Cut the peaches into 3/4-inch-thick slices. In a large mixing bowl, combine the peaches with the flour, granulated sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and mace and toss to coat all the fruit in the seasoning. Let stand for 5 minutes. Remove the top and bottom crusts from the refrigerator.

  4. Transfer the peaches and their juices to the chilled pie shell. Dot the fruit with the butter.

  5. Gently drape the top crust over the fruit. Press the edges of the pie shell together to seal. Fold the edge of the pie dough under itself and crimp the edge of the crust with your thumb and forefinger, pressing gently into the pie dish as you crimp. Brush the top crust with the heavy cream and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Place the whole pie in the freezer for 15 minutes.

  6. Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Place a parchment-lined baking sheet on the lower rack to catch any juices that fall from the pie when it bakes.

  7. Remove the pie from the freezer and cut a few slits in the top crust—this allows steam to escape from the filling while the pie bakes. Bake the pie for 30 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 375°F, and rotate the pie. Continue baking until the filling is bubbling and the crust is deeply golden brown, about 30 more minutes.

  8. Cool the pie on a wire rack for 2 hours before cutting. Store at room temperature for 1 day or in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Recipe Notes

Note: Make the Flaky Butter Crust 2 to 24 hours in advance, as it needs to chill before you roll it out. Make this pie with amazing nectarines instead of peaches, if those taste better—nectarines are often higher in acid and you can leave them unpeeled in the pie.

It is important to find a peach variety with high acid and sugar content, so stick to yellow peach varieties for this pie.

From DAPPLED: Baking Recipes for Fruit Lovers by Nicole Rucker, published by Avery, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2019, Nicole Rucker.