Pie is just one of those things that I feel I’ve never been that good at making. I’m never really able to get the dough quite right, and my high-hope dough expectations are always let down. I like the crust to be a little under-done, a little chewy, thick, soft, and not too burnt or dry. A moment of truth here: my favorite pie of all time is the lattice apple pie from Costco (it’s seriously the best). That is an example of what I always want to achieve in a pie crust. Yep, Costco bakery… who knew I’d strive for that status someday? No shame in that. Those blueberry and chocolate muffins are pretty righteous, too…
Last weekend, I was craving peach pie, and inspiration struck when I was reading the latest issue of Bon Appetit about how to fool-proof ones summer pie baking adventures. Of course I wanted to come up with a few ideas on what would compliment the peaches well, and it was a close tie between rosemary and thyme to incorporate into the crust. Plus the filling needed to be pimped with something, either liquor or some bitters. I went with the bourbon, as rosemary and peaches seem to match well with whiskey. Most importantly, I wanted to achieve Costco pie crust status in this crust. I turned to my trusty Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book for the all-butter crust, compared it to the Bon Appetit recipe, and just followed all of the tips to a T. I like breaking up the pie making steps throughout the day, given I have the time to do so. Make the crust and filling in the morning, and letting both sit for several hours to marinate–the longer the crust sits, the easier it will be to manipulate the gluten; the longer the filling sits, the juicier and more flavorful the fruit and you’ll extract more liquid to drain, equalling a less soggy pie crust.
This crust turned out so beautifully, I almost had to pinch myself. Perfectly and evenly browned, just the right amount of chew and doughy-ness, thick, flaky, tender and buttery crust… it’s the closest I’ve ever come to achieving Costco apple pie crust nirvana status. Except I made it. And it’s full of rosemary, peaches and BOURBON. What are you waiting for?!
Don’t be daunted by all of the steps below. Yes, pie can be a 6 plus hour process. It takes patience. But if you really want pie, it’s completely worth every second. I tried to make the steps as clear as possible with extra pie/life saving tips that go a long way. I incorporated multiple ideas for the best possible pie outcome and they really do help. For example, coating the bottom of the crust (before adding in the filling) with flour and sugar to prevent a soggy crust. I also really like this particular venting style vs. the traditional lattice topping. It’s super easy and pretty, and you end up getting a bit more of the top crust in your slice… because who doesn’t love that? My boyfriend, in all seriousness and sincerity, looked me straight in the eye and said that is some of the best peach pie I’ve ever had in my life.
This crust recipe is a total keeper, and get on making this while peaches are at their prime!
Special equipment: 9" glass Pyrex pie dish, bench scraper,pastry cutter, rolling pin, marble slab (optional but helps keep your butter crust cool)
- For the All-Butter Crust:
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 16 Tablespoons (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 cup cold water
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- 1 cup ice
- For the Peach Filling:
- 8 medium-sized ripe peaches (enough for about 5 cups sliced)
- 3 Tablespoons bourbon whiskey
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon all-spice
- Egg wash (1 large egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water and a pinch of salt)
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, for finishing
- For the All-Butter Crust: In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt, sugar and rosemary together. Add the butter pieces and coat with the flour mixture using a bench scraper or spatula.
- Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender, working quickly until mostly pebbly-sized butter pieces remain. Try not to overwork this process.
- In a small bowl, combine water, cider vinegar and ice. Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons of ice water mixture over flour mixture, cutting it in with a bench scraper or your hands (or both) until fully incorporated. Add more of the ice water mixture, 1 to 2 Tablespoons at a time, until dough comes together in a ball with some dry bits remaining. Squeeze and pinch dough with your fingertips to bring all the dough together, sprinkling dry bits with small drops of ice water to combine, if necessary.
- Divide the dough in half with the bench scraper, shape each ball of dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or longer to firm the butter and hydrate the dough. Dough can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.
- Lightly butter a glass 9" pie dish and set aside. After dough has chilled, let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to slightly soften, then beat each disc of dough with a rolling pin to relax the gluten and soften the dough to make it easier to roll. Roll out one disc of dough onto a lightly floured surface (ie. marble slab) to a 13" round, and about ¼" thick. Transfer round of dough to prepared pie dish; roll it around your floured rolling pin and gently let dough relax into pie dish, lifting up edges to allow dough to slump into dish. Place back in fridge to chill while you roll out remaining dough to another 13" round. Slide onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill while you prepare the filling.
- For the Peach Filling: Bring a large pot of water to a simmer. Prepare a large bowl of ice water on the side. Score an X at the bottom of each peach, then carefully drop each into simmering water for 1-2 minutes. Remove and immediately drop into ice water. You can blanch multiple peaches at a time, about 3-4 or however many will fit into the pot. Repeat with remaining peaches. When peaches have cooled slightly, the skin should easily slip off when scraped with the back of a spoon.
- Slice peeled peached into ½" slices and place in large bowl. Add bourbon, lemon juice, granulated and brown sugars, flour, salt, nutmeg and all-spice. Toss well to combine. Let peaches marinate in the juices and spices for at least 30 minutes, up to 1 hour, then drain the juices. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon each of flour and granulated sugar onto bottom of pie shell, as this will prevent a soggy bottom crust. Scrape filling into refrigerated pie shell. Place back into fridge while preheating oven.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove 2nd disc of rolled dough from fridge and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes to slightly soften and allow malleability to the bottom crust.
- Brush egg wash along outer edge of bottom dough with half of the egg wash, then place remaining dough over filling and press edges together. Seal the dough to keep filling from leaking out of sides. I did not cut any excess dough off, and instead just wrapped it into the bottom crust and created a thick crust. Then I crimped edges with a fork for texture. To see extra crimping styles, go here.
- Cut slits into the top of your dough (for example, I used this venting style.) Brush top of pie with remaining egg wash, then sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons of granulated sugar. This promotes even browning and gives a super pretty, sparkly, crackly, crunchy texture.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set pie dish on top. This will catch any juices that spill over and prevent an oven cleanup nightmare.
- Bake pie until crust is a medium golden brown on top and bottom, and juices are bubbling, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
- Let pie cool at least 4 hours to allow filling to set. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream and bask in the fact that this is the best pie you've ever made!