How To Make the Perfect Peach Pie

updated Sep 3, 2020
summer
How to Make the Perfect Peach Pie

A step-by-step recipe for making the absolute best peach pie.

Serves8 to 12

Prep30 minutes

Cook1 hour to 1 hour 5 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

The best way to celebrate peak-season peaches? A freshly baked pie. This no-frills version lets the sweet fruit shine, highlighting its bright flavor and perfume-like aroma. Serve a slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you have a perfect summer dessert. Or bring the pie to a picnic and watch everyone’s eyes instantly light up. It’s impossible to dislike!

This step-by-step recipe will guide you through making a perfect, classic peach pie. It uses fresh, ripe peaches and complements them with just a hint of lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. Eat it for breakfast or dessert, with whipped cream or ice cream — you really can’t go wrong.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

What Kind of Peaches Are Best for Peach Pie?

When it comes to baking a pie, the most important thing to consider isn’t the color of the peaches (both yellow and white work great), but rather the variety. Peaches come in two different broad varieties: clingstone and freestone. Clingstone peaches have pits that cling to the flesh, making them difficult to remove. But freestone peaches have pits that fall right off, making them ideal for baking. Grocery stores don’t always label their peaches as such, but you can ask the employees which peaches are which. Freestone peaches are more commonly available in grocery stores, and clingstones are more typically found at farmers markets.

As far as how many peaches you’ll need, our recipe calls for 4 pounds fresh peaches. This roughly translates to 8 large peaches, or 16 very small peaches. Peaches range in size significantly, so you’ll want to weigh the peaches in order to find out how many you need. If you don’t have a scale, you can measure them out by volume after slicing. You’ll need 7 1/2 cups of sliced peaches total.

This pie is best made with fresh peaches, but if you’re starting with frozen, thaw them in the fridge in a colander placed over a bowl to rid them of their excess moisture.

Read more: What’s the Difference Between Freestone and Clingstone Peaches?

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Do You Have to Peel the Peaches?

While you don’t technically have to peel your peaches, we highly recommend it. As the pie cooks, the peach skins fall off and become tough, adding an unpleasant texture to the filling. To avoid this, we call for quickly blanching the peaches in boiling water, which makes them easy to peel. It only takes about 15 minutes and makes for a much more enjoyable eating experience.

To do so, cut a small “X” in the bottom of each peach and place them in a pot of boiling water. Blanch for one minute then immediately transfer to an ice bath to cool down. The skin around the X’s will start to curl away and you’ll be able to easily peel it off.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

3 Tips for the Best Peach Pie

Before you head into the kitchen, keep these tips in mind.

1. Make sure your peaches are ripe. The best peach pies are made with fresh, ripe peaches (even better if they’re local!). If your peaches feel hard to the touch, place them in a brown paper bag and leave them out at room temperature overnight. If they still feel hard the next morning, give them another day to continue to ripen. Perfectly ripe peaches will give a little when (gently) squeezed.

2. Bake your pie on a foil or parchment-lined sheet pan. This will catch any filling that might bubble out of your pie and otherwise burn onto the bottom of your oven. It will make cleanup much easier and prevent your oven from smoking.

3. Let it cool for at least three hours before slicing. Slicing into your pie while it’s still warm can cause the filling to run out before it has time to set. To prevent this from happening, be patient and give your pie at least three hours to cool off. To test if it’s ready, touch the bottom of the pie pan. If it’s still warm, keep waiting.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk
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Here's how to make the best peach pie.

How to Make the Perfect Peach Pie

A step-by-step recipe for making the absolute best peach pie.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 1 hour to 1 hour 5 minutes

Serves 8 to 12

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds

    peaches, preferably freestone (about 16 small or 8 large)

  • l

    large lemon

  • 1/2 cup

    packed light brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 5 tablespoons

    cornstarch

  • 2 teaspoons

    vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground cloves

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • All-purpose flour, for dusting

  • 1 (14- to 16-ounce) package

    prepared pie crusts (or 1 homemade double pie crust)

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1 tablespoon

    water

  • 3 tablespoons

    coarse sugar, such as demerara

Equipment

  • Large pot

  • Paring knife

  • Slotted spoon

  • Chef’s knife and cutting board

  • 1

    9-inch pie pan (not deep dish)

  • Rolling pin

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Large bowl

  • Pastry brush

  • Rimmed baking sheet

  • Aluminum foil or parchment paper

  • Cooling rack

  • Microplane

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

  2. Prep the peaches. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water. Using a paring knife, score 4 pounds peaches by cutting an “X” through the skin on the bottom of each peach.

  3. Working in batches, gently lower the peaches into the boiling water and blanch until the skin at the “X” starts to peel back, about 1 minute. Remove the peaches from the water with a slotted spoon and immediately transfer to the ice water bath. Let sit for 1 minute, then remove from the ice bath and carefully peel the skins off using a paring knife. Halve, pit, and cut the peaches into 1-inch pieces (about 7 1/2 cups). Place in a large bowl.

  4. Make the filling. Finely grate the zest of 1 large lemon (about 1 tablespoon) over the peaches, then juice the lemon (about 3 tablespoons) over the peaches. Add 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 5 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt to the bowl. Toss to combine, making sure there is no unmixed sugar or cornstarch left in the bottom of the bowl.

  5. Line and fill the pie pan. Unroll one of the pie doughs on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 12-inch round. Transfer to a 9-inch standard pie pan (not deep dish). Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Pour the peaches and their juices into the crust and arrange into an even layer.

  6. Weave a lattice top crust. Roll out the second pie dough into an 11-inch round. Cut into 1 1/2-inch wide strips. Lay half the strips horizontally over the pie, spacing them evenly apart using the longer strips in the center of the pie and the shorter strips toward the edges. Fold every other strip in half back on itself.

  7. Lay one of the remaining strips vertically over the pie so that it lays across the unfolded horizontal strips. Unfold the folded horizontal strips so they lay over the vertical strip and fold the strips running under the vertical strip back over top.

  8. Lay another vertical strip of pie crust over the pie. Continue swapping the folded and unfolded horizontal strips and adding one new vertical strip each time. Continue until one half of the pie is completely latticed, then repeat the same pattern on the other half. (Here's a step-by-step tutorial.)

  9. Seal the crust. Pinch the edges of the pie dough together with your fingers or the tines of a fork to seal the top and bottom crusts together. (If the pie dough is warm, refrigerate the pie for 10 minutes before moving on to the next step.)

  10. Egg wash and sugar the top crust. Whisk 1 large egg and 1 tablespoon water together in a small bowl until no streaks of yolk remain. Brush the crust and crimped edges of the dough with the egg wash, then sprinkle evenly with 3 tablespoons coarse sugar.

  11. Bake the pie. Place the pie onto the lined baking sheet. Bake until the filling is bubbling and the crust is deep golden brown, 60 to 65 minutes. If the edges of the pie crust start to brown too quickly halfway through baking, loosely drape a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the pie.

  12. Cool before serving. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing, at least 3 hours.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The pie can be made up to 2 days in advance.

Storage: Cover leftover pie in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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