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. (Disclaimer: I have also made this recipe using yellow peaches, with fabulous results, as per many of the updated photos. I can totally recommend either peach.)
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 using white peaches, honey and sugar, and herbs turned the filling 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.
I’m back. I just baked up this pie for this 2018 season because I wanted some updated photos. I made a few adjustments to the post. I used yellow peaches (because that is what was in the fridge) and I didn’t bother peeling the peaches. Yep, I left them on! I kinda like the peel, once all the fuzz has been gently rubbed off. I used a tart tin with a removable bottom after being inspired by Judy Kim, an amazing pie artist and food stylist. She reminded me that pies work wonderfully in tart pans. I used 6 medium peaches. And it baked up wonderfully! I’m going to include photos of this version as well. I may never go back to peeling my peaches before putting them in a pie!
I also outline how to prepare cut outs for the top of a pie, in the Notes version of the recipe. Basically, no matter what kind of cutters you are using, make sure the pastry isn’t too warm, is on a well floured surface, and you transfer the cutouts to a parchment lined baking sheet to go into the fridge till needed.
Peach, Lavender, Thyme and Honey Pie
A summery sweet peach pie, with the contrasts of lavender and thyme.
- 1 recipe of my Perfect Pie Crust adding 1.5 lightly chopped dried culinary grade lavender buds to the flour, sugar and salt before blending
- 6-7 white peaches (or yellow, that's fine) enough to make 5 cups of sliced peaches
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp runny honey
- 1 tsp culinary grade lavender buds
- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp AP flour
- 2-3 tbsp almond meal
- 1 egg for wash
Prepare the Pie Dough:
(See blog archives for the recipe)
Include 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.
I actually like using them fresh, just slicing each half peach into about 5-6 slices, unpeeled, just wipe the fuzz off with a tea towel
To use peaches that have been peeled: 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)
Remove the fuzz from the peaches. Cut in half. Cut each half into 5-6 slices. Place in a medium large bowl.
Drizzle the peaches with lemon juice.
Mix the sugar, honey, lavender and thyme together in a small bowl.
Add this to the peaches, and using a rubber spatula, stir once gently to coat.
Mix the cornstarch and flour together and toss gently in with the peaches, trying not to break any.
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. Any residual juices can be poured over the peaches.
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 15 minutes
After 15 minutes, make light egg wash (1egg mixed with a touch of water) and apply to the crust with a brush. You can sprinkle the top crust with turbinado sugar if desired.
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.
This pie can be stored at room temperature for 1 day, or in the fridge for up to 3 days.
If you are using cut outs for your upper crust, you can make them first and store them in the fridge or freezer.
Use plenty of flour on the board, and flour your cutters regularly as well. Place all the cut outs onto a parchment lined baking sheet and store in the fridge or freezer while working on the rest of the pie. Pull out just before you want to start laying them on top on the filling.
If they came from the freezer, they will need a few minutes to soften just enough to work with, especially if you will be wetting the bottoms- If they need to adhere to the edges of your crimped crust, make sure you lightly water the underside before laying them on the crust. Continue the recipe as described above.