White Peach, Lavender, Thyme and Honey Pie
Peach season is here!! When these babies are ripe, there is nothing quite like them. So juicy, perfectly fleshed, and the absolute right amount of sweetness.
Remember as a kid, eating a peach, only to find so much of it still stuck to the pit? No matter how hard you pulled on those stringy bits, they would not let go of that pit!? Tenacity! Then, a little while back, the farmers, hybridizers, and all the other ‘smart’ guys, played with the peach, and the ‘Cling Free’ peach was born. I’m not complaining, mind you. No more strings to get stuck between your teeth as you sucked that pit dry trying to get every last bit of sweet flesh.
Peaches mean cobblers, peaches and cream desserts, tarts, galettes, and pie. Of course pie.
This pie came about through trial and error. I knew that I wanted to make a pie, but I wanted some contrast to the pure sweetness of the peach itself. So I thought about all the flavours and spices that accent peaches so well. I could have gone the more traditional route of ginger and star anise, but I settled on lavender. Because there just isn’t enough lavender in my life 🙂 And then I realized that if not careful, lavender could take over, and become perfumy, in that ‘grandma’s handkerchief’ kind of way. So that’s where I decided on thyme. A bit of fresh woody and lemony contrast to the stronger lavender would be perfect. And both would be a lovely contrast to the sweetness of the white peaches I had on the counter.
I added a bit of the lavender to the crust. I think the crust gets overlooked way too often. It’s such a great vehicle for flavours, that will enhance the filling it is surrounding. So just a bit, not too much, of the lavender buds was added to the flour before I added my butter and shortening.
Made my filling, had fun playing with a trellis pattern with the top dough, and popped it into the oven. Oh my, I wish words could convey the aromas seeping out of that oven as the pie baked. And the combination of peaches, honey and sugar, and herbs turned the most lovely shade of pale pink. I think it’s because when you cut open a white peach, the flesh surrounding the pit is the most vivid fuchsia hue. So it fades into the most serene and gentle pink in the baking process.
In the end, the peach is still the star of the show. The lavender and thyme play supporting roles, but the standing ovations will always go to the beautiful, sweet, juicy, peach.
- One recipe of my Perfect, No Fail Pie crust (add 1.5 tsp of lightly chopped dried culinary lavender buds to the flour, sugar and salt before blending)
- 6-7 white peaches (enough to make 5 cups of cut up peaches
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup runny honey
- 1 tsp dried lavender buds (culinary grade)
- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp AP flour
- 3 tbsp almond meal
- 1 egg
- Prepare the Pie Dough (see blog archives for the recipe) including 1 1/5 tsp of chopped dried lavender into the flour before adding the butter and shortening.
- Divide the dough into two disks, one slightly larger than the other, refrigerate.
- To remove the skin from the peaches: Bring a large of pot of water to a boil. Reduce heat slightly. Cut a small X into the bottom of each peach. Gently drop into the simmering water and allow to simmer for 30 seconds or so. Immediately remove to a ice water bath to stop the cooking. Allow to sit in the cold water for a few seconds. Remove and dry off. Using the back of a paring knife, remove the skin which should already be pulling away from the flesh. Let cool.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 425F
- Bring out the larger disk of dough from the fridge to warm up slightly. Then, roll to fill your 9" pie plate. Crimp and return to fridge to set. Do not crimp if the way you are finishing the top of your pie will require the dough from the bottom of the pie shell)
- Cut all the peaches into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices and place in a large bowl
- Drizzle the peaches with lemon juice.
- Add the sugar, honey, lavender and thyme, and using a rubber spatula, stir once. Add the cornstarch and flour and stir again.
- Bring out the smaller disk of pie dough to warm.
- Bring out the pie plate from the fridge, and add the almond meal to the pie shell, smoothing it out evenly. Gently pour the peach filling over the almond meal.
- Roll out the smaller disk of dough and cover as you would like. I used a trellis pattern, which is really just long strips of dough cut with a sharp knife and strewn over the filling. Then I used a cookie cutter for the leaves. You can use a lattice pattern, other shapes, or just a flat top. If using a flat top, be sure to cut vents.
- Return the decorated, finished pie to the fridge for about 10 minutes
- After 10 minutes, do a light egg wash (1egg mixed with a touch of water) with a brush.
- Place in the lower third of the oven on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, till the crust is just starting to turn golden brown.
- Move the pie on the baking sheet to the middle rack and reduce the temperature to 375F. Bake another 25-30 minutes, until the juices are bubbling and the crust is golden brown all over. If you see that the crust is turning brown before the juices are bubbling, just cover with a pie guard or piece of tinfoil.
- Remove the pie to a cooling rack and let set a good 3-4 hours, so that the juices can set entirely.
- Serve with ice cream or whipping cream.
- It can be stored at room temperature for 1 day, or in the fridge for up to 3 days.