RECIPE: Sunburst Peach Lattice Pie

Oh peaches, you are so lovely and delicious right off the tree.
Sweet and juicy, (and a great color on me).
You're good in cobbler and pie,
Which eating, you'll make me sigh.
You make summer the best,
But to find you is a quest,
And for the life of me I don't know why.

OK. I won't subject you to poetry anymore.

WHAT? No fresh peaches at the grocery store chain you say? Please, do not get me started! It hurts my heart. I have to go to the farmer's market and pay exorbitant prices to get peaches from just over the border from Michigan. The chains ship them all the way from Georgia half ripe and tasting like a shoe! Explain to me why? Somebody? Anybody? Does that make any financial or green sense whatsoever?

Ok. I won't subject you to my soapbox, either.
BUT I will give you my amazing peach pie recipe.

Sunburst Peach Lattice Pie


Cream Cheese Crust (from the pie maven herself, Rose Beranbaum,)
8 Tbsp. butter
3 oz. cold cream cheese
1 1/3 plus 4 tsp. all purpose flour
1/8 tsp. baking powder
2 -3 Tbsp. water with 2 ice cubes (you will not use all of it)
1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Peach Filling
6 cups ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 plus 1 Tbsp. white sugar
1 Tbsp. orange juice
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
pinch of salt
4 well rounded tsp. corn starch
3/4 tsp. pure almond extract


Make the crust:

Cut up your butter in tablespoon-size chunks, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes. In a Ziploc bag, add the flour and baking powder and freeze it as well for 30 minutes. In a food processor, pulse the flour a couple times.

Cut up the cream cheese in 3 chunks, and pulse into the flour until it looks like coarse cornmeal. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas.

Add the cider vinegar and pulse a few times. Add  1 1/2 Tbsp. water and pulse until the dough will come together when pressed with your finger (Do not over mix). If it doesn't, add a teaspoon more of kirsch and pulse a couple more times. Keep doing this until the dough comes together when pressed. It won't look like it will in the processor, and that's OK.

Pour 2/3rds of the crumbly mixture on a large sheet of plastic wrap. Using your hands, fold the edge of the plastic wrap under your knuckles and press the dough. Keep doing this motion, using the plastic wrap as your barrier and helper to form the dough quickly into a ball. Fold it over itself a couple of times, then flatten into a disc. Cover completely with the wrap, and shape in your hands into a flat, round disc, about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Take the remaining 1/3rd of the crumbly mixture and do the same thing. This disc will be smaller and will be the lattice for your pie. Take both discs and chill for at least1 hour. Take them out ten minutes before rolling to make your life a little easier.

To make the filling

Mix the peaches with the sugars, juices and salt. Let macerate for up to one hour. If you go longer, the peaches will begin to lose some of their shape and really disintegrate, depending on how ripe they are. (It won't ruin your pie unless you really let the maceration go for a long time. If that is the case and you have a soupy mess, cut up a few more peaches to your mixture, strain the juice off and continue the recipe. You will just have a lot more juice to reduce down, but the firmer slices will carry the texture.) SO after one hour (or two), strain off the juice and pour in a nonstick saucepan. Cook on medium high heat until the juice becomes caramelized and like a syrup. You should have about 1/3 cup of reduced peach syrup. Meanwhile, toss the cornstarch in with your reserved peaches and add the almond extract. Set aside. When you're juice gets to that desired 1/3 of a cup, add it to the "cornstarched" peaches and toss lightly.

Assembly and Baking

Assembly and Baking:
Take the larger disc out first and unwrap it. Layer a work surface with a large sheet of plastic wrap (about 12 inches all around. Lightly dust it with flour and place the disc at the center. Cover it with a similar sized sheet of plastic wrap. Roll the disc out to about 13 inches in diameter. Peel off the top layer of wrap, flip upside down and set on top of the pan. Press it gently in the pan, peeling off the wrap on this side as you go. Trim the edge, press it firmly into the pan some more. Use fork tines to break any bubbles in the dough. Recover pie with plastic wrap and let relax in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Roll out your smaller disc the same way. Make an oval shape, about 10 1/2" long by 8" wide. Unpeel your top layer of plastic wrap, and with a ruler, make tick marks across the width every 3/4". You should have ten strips. Cut off the rough edges on the sides, and cut evenly along the tick marks down lengthwise to get your strips. (you may need a ruler that you only use with food to make things straight. I am an art director by trade, and learned long ago by getting yelled at as an intern how to cut straight-so I can do a pretty good job by eye. Do what's comfortable.) Now, I find that chilling the dough again for a few minutes makes the lattice assembly easier. My dough for this pie was getting warm very fast because the kitchen on this June day was so hot. The strips broke up easily as I was pulling them up. So slip the cut dough, still on plastic wrap, on a cookie sheet. Cover loosely with wrap again and place in the fridge for ten minutes before full assembly.

Preheat oven to 425˚. Have a rack down at the lowest part of the oven. Set a non-insulated baking sheet on it layered with parchment to catch drippings (not aluminum foil because it will mess with your baking the bottom of your pie.) It is best to have the baking sheet heated at 425˚ for at least 20 minutes. This helps to sear the bottom of the pie and not get soggy.

Take your pie shell out, uncover it and fill it with the peach mixture.

Example of how to make a lattice crust

Take out your lattice strips. As you can see, I drew a diagram to help explain how to make a lattice top. Take half your strips, from the center to the short end, and lay them down on the pie in one direction. Use the longest one in the middle and work outward, with shorter ones towards the end. Let the ends overhang, you will deal with them later. Now, find your center point, and start about 3/4" above it, by folding back every other strip. Lay the longest strip from your tray over the strips that are still flat, perpendicular from the other strips. Unfold the strips that were bent back, so that they lie flat again, and bend back the alternate ones. Lay a second strip, perpendicular, across the ones that are now lying flat, and bend forward the ones you bent back. Keep doing this, working from the center out on both sides, until you have a basket weave affect. Trim your ends, tuck them into the edge, then by hand flute the edge of the entire pie, sealing it all happily together.

Sprinkle the top with granulated sugar. Place directly on the heated baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes. Check it at this time, you may need to foil the edges to protect them from over browning at this time. After that, cook for another 20-30 minutes (or until the crust is a light gold color and filling is nice an thoroughly bubbly.) Take out and cool. Let the pie sit and "settle" for a few hours before cutting into it. Serve with vanilla ice cream...oh baby!

NOTE* (Yes, you can use frozen, or prep fresh peaches and freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet, and store in a ziploc until ready to use.)



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