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Peach and Custard Pie


 

This is a peach pie my grandmother has made for years.  I adore the visual of the entire peach halves, that always elicits at least one gasp of admiration when set down on the table.  With peaches stunningly sweet this time in the season, I also really appreciate the addition of the custard-like filling, instead of the usual toss with cinnamon and sugar.  Though it does contain sugar, the custard-souffle-y filling really compliments the fruit and cuts the sweetness some.

This pie is also really beautiful, and really delicious, with blueberries tucked into the spaces and cavities in and around the peaches.  Summer overload in a crust.  I haven't tried it, but I imagine raspberries wouldn't be awful either.


Peach and Custard Pie

5-6 six regular sized peaches, peeled, pit removed, and cut into halves.
1 cup blueberries, optional
1 single pie crust (see my Pie Crust 101 post here.)

Custard:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 large egg, slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Peel peaches.  Cut in half and gently pull apart, trying to keep halves intact.  Remove pit and discard.

Put halved peaches, cut-side up, in pie crust.  Quarter peaches if very large, and perhaps cut a few into large slices to more evenly fill in gaps between halves.

If using, add about a cup of blueberries in the spaces around the peaches.

For the custard, blend sugar, flour, melted butter and egg together fully.  The mixture will be quite stiff.  Pour over the fruit in the pie crust, making sure to fill in the spaces between the fruit.

Bake at 375 for 45 mins, until the custard has set on top, is no longer wiggly, and has formed a light brown crust.



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Quick Tip: How to freeze peaches


Peaches and other stone fruit are perfect and plentiful (and pretty cheap!) at the markets right now.  Taking an hour or so and freezing a bunch will be total treasure in your freezer come winter.  And...far extend your season for making David Lebovitz's ridiculously good peach ice cream (it contains sour cream, people!  Sour cream!!).

Here are a couple of quick, and a little easier, tips for puttin' up the peach.

Blanching (to remove the skin).

Nothing new or revolutionary, but the quickest way to remove the skin, and really idiot-proof.  You'll be thankful later on that the skins are gone, so you can just pop those frozen slices of sunshine virtually from the freezer to your blender for a smoothie or to a pie shell (give or take a little thawing.)

Method:

1.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Wash whole peaches.  Don't bother to dry.

2.  Cut a small "X" in the bottom of the peach with a sharp knife, just cutting through the skin.  This will give the skin a place to start to slip-off when blanched.

3.  Slowly lower peaches, several at a time depending on the size of your pot, into the boiling water.

4.  Remove peaches from the boiling water after one minute with a slotted spoon. Immediately transfer the peaches to either a large bowl of ice water, or a colander and run under very cold water.

5.  Starting where you made the "X" on the bottom, just literally slip the skin off the peach with your hands.  It will come off very very easily.

Freezing

To extend the life of your frozen peaches, and ward off freezer burn, you want as little air in the container with the frozen fruit (and vegetables too) as possible.  Sucking air out of a freezer bag with a straw, and then trying to zip-lock-it as quickly as possible was my method of choice for years.  But this method below, using water to displace the air, has worked much better, and much quicker, for me in recent seasons.

1.  Fill a large bowl with water, leaving some room at the top.

2.  Lower a freezer-safe bag, filled with whatever you are freezing, into the bowl, with the top of the bag still partially open, with room for air to escape.



 

3.  As you lower the bag further into the bowl, the water will surround the shape of the bag, and press out a good amount of air.  Continue to lower the bag, until the level of the water is as close to the top of the bag as you can go, without risking getting water in with the fruit.  Seal bag immediately and remove from bowl.

4.  Gently press on the fruit in the bag to redistribute and make it flatter for storage in the freezer.  Label and freeze.

Peaches will keep for about six months in the freezer.  Peach pie in February anyone?

To preserve the color a little better, you can add a little citric acid or Fruit Fresh, both available by canning supplies, to the raw fruit before bagging it.  Add 1/4 teaspoon to every quart of fruit.



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happypeachmonday.


 


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Catie Baumer Schwalb is a chef, food writer and photographer, who splits her life between the city and the country. Not too long ago Catie was a New York City based actress and playwright for more than a decade. She has her Master of Fine Arts from the National Theater Conservatory, and her Grand Diplôme in classic culinary arts from the French Culinary Institute in New York City. ... Read More

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