Ever since gifting myself Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries II at Christmas, the golden ribbon marker has been sitting at his peach pie recipe, (page 317 if you’re asking), just waiting. The mere thought of fragrant summer peaches in a pastry would have been enough but listen to his description:
Peach pie. Whisper the words. Luscious fruit under a crust that must, surely, be as soft and crumbly as the most buttery shortcake. It must sparkle with sugar and break tenderly under the fork. A crust that sighs rather than snaps.
Okay, sold, many times over. Mr Slater has a wonderful way with words and I’m sure that if you bought this book and did nothing but read the diary entries you’d feel you’d spent your money well but you really would be missing out on all the comforting pleasures such as this pie which, I have to say, is a fine match for his words. It is all I dreamt it would be. A sugary, crumbly pastry with a delectable, sweet peachy filling. Oh my lord, it was good.
I am hosting Sweet New Zealand this month and this sweet peachy pie is my entry. I'd love you to join in. You have until the 29 March to submit your entry - rules and more details here.
Peach pie with lemon pastry
(from Nigel Slater – Kitchen Diaries II)
150g caster sugar
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp baking powder
6 ripe peaches
2 tbsp caster sugar
grated zest of 1 orange
1 heaped tbsp cornflour
a little milk & extra caster sugar to dust the top
Lightly butter a 24cm tin pie plate (18cm across the base).
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat to incorporate. Add the lemon zest.
Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and fold gently into the mixture, bringing the dough together into a ball. Knead the dough lightly for a minute or two on a floured surface. Cut in half, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Use one half of the dough to line the base of the pie plate. Return the pie plate and the remaining dough to the fridge.
Turn on the oven to 180°C. Halve the peaches and remove the stones. Cut the halves into large pieces (cut them smaller if you are using individual tins) and place in a bowl with the sugar, orange zest and cornflour. Toss together gently, and spoon into the lined pie plate.
Brush the rim of the pastry in the pie dish with a little milk. Roll out the second half of the pastry to fit over the top of the pie and place it gently across the top of the filling. Trim off any excess. Press the edges of the pastry to seal. Brush the pie lightly with milk and dust with sugar. Pierce a small hole in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape.
Bake for approximately 40 minutes until the pie is golden. Leave to stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.
I used 4 mini tart tins (see photo right), 11.5cm in diameter instead of the recipe’s metal pie tin but I have given the recipe in its original form using one large tin. If you do use individual tins, you will probably only need 2 or 3 peaches and the cooking time will be reduced to approximately 25 minutes (and you will likely have leftover pastry which you can freeze).
Keep the pastry (and your hands) cool. The pastry, as Nigel comments, is very crumbly. I tend to always roll any sticky or crumbly pastry between two swipes of cling film to make life easier. When it comes to topping the pie, you simply peel back the top cling film sheet, scoop up the pastry and bottom layer of cling film from underneath, cover the filling with it and then carefully peel off the cling wrap.