by Nikki Terpilowski
Nothing says summertime like the sweet fresh smell of peaches, and while there are many ways to enjoy peaches in the summer… peach cobbler, peach preserves, and peach ice cream just to name a few. My favorite dessert featuring peaches has to be… peach pie.
It’s hard to resist buttery flaky crusts, and fresh sweet peaches with light notes of earthy vanilla and cinnamon, isn’t it? And that’s why as soon as peach season begins, I start baking pies. But this year, I wanted to put a twist on my original peach pie recipe (not that there’s anything wrong with plain ol’ peach pie), so I looked around my kitchen to see what I had handy. I had a fruit bowl full of oranges, including beautiful blood oranges and an idea was born.
What’s more summery than fresh naturally sweet oranges? The addition of oranges to anything peach-flavored quickly elevates the flavor with its bright citrusy notes and peppy acidity.
When I think of oranges, I think of Florida, sunshine, and summer days, so I dubbed my new recipe, Sunshine Peach Pie. You’ll note in my recipe that I use all organic ingredients as a matter of course. There was a time when I didn’t care about organic vs. non-organic, but when my now 11-year-old was born with allergies, I became hyper aware of food origins and what I gave my children to eat and drink.
You are not beholden to use organic ingredients, however, when it comes to produce there are certain fruits and vegetable that absolutely need to be purchased organic in order to avoid contamination.
Produce like avocados, coconuts, oranges, and pineapples – anything with thick skins (provides a physical barrier to pesticides) – can be purchased non-organic, but produce with thin skins like apples, peaches and pears should always be purchased organic (even frozen). Every year, the Environmental Working Group releases their Dirty Dozen – the 12 fruits and vegetable with the highest amount of toxicity due to pesticides. Peaches are always on that list.
Anyway, I digress. I prefer to use fresh peaches (skinned and sliced) but frozen organic peaches will also work. Same with oranges, if you don’t have an orange but you do have a carton of juice (with pulp is even better) you can use that, however you won’t have the zest which I personally love in desserts.
You can also add a few drops (to taste) of food grade orange essential oil. I love cooking with essential oils (the flavor is amazing). And you can use any kind of orange-type fruit, i.e. naval, tangerine – they all have slightly different taste profiles, but you can use what’s on hand.
For this recipe, you can of course, make your own pie crust but you can also purchase ready-made pie crusts and put all of your love and care into making the filling. Your loved ones probably won’t notice the difference. I used a lattice pie crust for this recipe, for no other reason except it’s pretty and I wanted to see more of the peach pie filling bursting through the top. But you can top the pie however you please. I have to say, I do love pie art and it’s on my list of things to do this summer – try my hand at creating a creative pie crust.
But for this pie, I wanted to keep it simple and allow the orange-accented peach filling to be the star of this dessert show.
Tips & Tricks
- I am super paranoid about having soggy pies especially with fruits like peaches and strawberries, so don’t be afraid to add more corn starch if you think your filling needs it.
- I want a pretty pie crust as much as the next gal, so make sure you cover the edges with aluminum foil or a pie crust shield, so the edges don’t brown faster than the rest of the pie.
- Reduce sugar, carbs, and calories by replacing sugar with Swerve or Stevia.
- Don’t worry if your pie crust turns “ugly”. No matter how meticulous a baker you are, pie crusts can burn and break. Unless your taking photographs for your Instagram account, it will still taste delicious.
- Serve with a dollop of whipped cream (fresh is best!) or ice cream.
At the end of the recipe, I’ll add links to some of the dry good products you’ll need to get started. I suggest stopping by your local grocery store, roadside stand or farmer’s market for the peaches and orange you’ll need for this pie. I also added some really pretty pie plates you may like, because, can you really ever have enough pie plates?
Sunshine Peach Pie
- 9-inch pie plate
- Large mixing bowl
- 7 cups organic peaches
- 3/4 cup organic sugar
- 1/2 cup organic corn starch
- 1/2 tsp organic cinnamon
- 4 ounces orange juice (squeeze the juice from one large orange. It's okay to get some pulp in the juice, just remove the bitter white membrane)
- 2 tbsp orange zest (clean the orange first)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp organic butter (unsalted is typically used, but I like a little salted butter in my pies. you choose!)
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose, organic flour
- 1 tsp organic sugar
- 1 tsp organic salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter (chilled and cut into small pieces)
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, eight to ten seconds.
- With food processor running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky. Be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together. If it is crumbly, add more ice water, one tablespoon at a time.
Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least one hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to one month.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie crust into two 1/8-inch-thick circles to a diameter slightly larger than that of an 11-inch plate.
- Press one pastry circle into the pie plate. Place the other circle on waxed paper, and cover with plastic wrap. Chill all pastry until firm, about 30 minutes.
- Clean, peel and slice peaches.
- Mix in sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch and salt. Then add orange juice and orange zest. Toss gently
- Pour into the pie crust.
- Dice butter and place cubes over the filling.
- Slice the upper pie crust dough into proportionate strips and create the lattice.
- Remove the ends of the dough strips and tuck under the crust.
- Cover the pie edges with foil or use a pie crust shield.
- Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes before removing foil.
- Remove foil and bake for 20 more minutes.
- When the pie is done, remove immediately to cool. Brush butter over the crust and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Allow to cool before slicing.