Before peach season entirely draws to a close, I felt I needed to have at least one peach pie in some shape or form. As we start to enter autumn and pecan season, this pie seemed like a natural bridge for my cravings (and entirely in line with other favorite pies of mine).
There are three major elements to this pie: the crust, the peach filling, and the pecan topping. I fell in love with each and the trio was a great mix. The crust was a pâte sablée (sweet pie dough) made with ground almonds for an assertive, sweet, but nutty flavor and a crisp, crumbly bite. The filling has the sweetness of peaches, accentuated by the tartness and added creaminess of quark (if you’ve never heard of it, it is a kind of cheese. I would compare it to a mix of cream cheese and sour cream as far as texture/flavor), the total combination of which is almost custardy in texture. This is all enveloped with a sweet, seductively perfumed, crisp pecan topping that also wins me over for that rustic appearance. All in all: a delicious pie for any peach lover.
- Sweet Tart Dough with Almonds
- 1.25 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 9 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 almonds
- Peach Filling
- 4 peaches
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 1/3 cup quark (you can substitute sour cream)
- 1 egg + 1 yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pecan Topping
- remaining egg white (from peach filling)
- 1 cup pecans
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp bourbon
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 tsp maple
Begin by making the crust. My usual graham cracker crust would also work great with this pie, but I wanted to try something new. This curst comes from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.
Begin by chopping the butter into smallish pieces and throw it in the freezer for ~30 minutes.
Finely grind the almonds (or whatever nut) in the food processor. Add and pulse the flour, sugar, and salt to the food processor to mix. Pulse the butter in until you have crumbly bits mixed in, roughly the size of peas/oatmeal.
In another bowl, beat the yolk lightly and add it gradually to the mix, pulsing all the while. You don’t want to over-process this, but you do want to incorporate the egg yolk well into the mix. Once you’ve added all of the yolk, pulse the food processor for longer periods. Dorie advises ~10 second long pulses, which you should repeat until the machine sounds a little different. It sounds like an odd direction, but it works.
At this point, you should knead the dough a bit by hand to ensure there are no dry, unmixed regions of dough. Then form a ball, butter a pie pan, and press the dough into place. You can try to roll the dough out thinly and drape it over the pan (I always do), but you’ll inevitably have some cracks to patch up with this dough. Whatever you do, don’t be too heavy-handed pressing the dough in the pan or you’ll have a heck of a time getting it out later when you actually intend to eat the pie.
Finally, butter some tin foil and press it on top of the crust. Set this aside in the freezer for a minimum of 30 minutes. At this point, you can now bake the crust in a 375°F oven for 25 minutes (with the foil on and without weights).
With the crust out of the way, we can move on to the pie. Begin by peeling and stoning the peaches. The easiest way: slit a shallow ‘x’ on each peach, submerge in boiling water for ~30 seconds, transfer to ice water, and then you should be able to peel the skin right off. Cut the peaches into wedges, discard the pit, and toss the peaches and sugar together in a bowl. Let these macerate for at least 10 minutes, tossing periodically to ensure the sugar is somewhat evenly distributed. Once time is up, things should look more syruppy.
Mix the flour into the peach bowl to thicken up the juices a bit. Don’t overbeat though as you don’t want to make mush of the peaches. In a separate bowl, beat the quark, egg, and vanilla until homogenous and then mix it into the peach mixture. Transfer this to your partially baked pie crust and set it in a 425°F oven for 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the crust as you don’t want the edges to burn. You may need to set some tin foil loosely around the edges half-way through to keep it from over-coloring.
While the pie is baking, you should work on the topping. This is very easy: beat the egg white, crumble the butter into small pieces, and mix everything together in a bowl. Once time is up on baking the pie, take it out of the oven, evenly distribute the topping, and put it back in the oven at 375°F for ~25 minutes (or until the pie is set). Again, keep an eye on the crust so it doesn’t burn.
Now that the tart is done baking, you should give it some time to cool down and set it in the fridge for a few hours. This will help you cut fairly clean slices. Enjoy!