Cookbook author Patty Pinner recalls how socialites in Saginaw, Mich., enjoyed her mother's small-town, homemaker ways, her hospitality -- and especially her handsome peach custard pies.
Serve this one with vanilla ice cream. A deep-dish pie plate works best; be sure the peaches you use are ripe. This was tested using Pinner's recipe for Flaky Pie Crust, made with vegetable shortening. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Yield: Makes one 9-inch deep-dish pie
- For the crust
- 1 1/3 cups flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup chilled vegetable shortening
- 2 to 3 tablespoons ice-cold heavy cream or evaporated milk, or more as needed
- For the filling
- 3 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
- 5 tablespoons flour
- 5 medium peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
- 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
- 1 large egg, slightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
For the crust: Sift together the flour, sugar and salt in a medium to large bowl. Use a pastry blender, a fork or the tips of your fingers to cut in or pinch the shortening until the mixture resembles a bowl of sweet peas. Tossing the mixture quicky and lightly with a fork, sprinkle in the cream or milk 1 tablespoon at a time. (It's better to have too little liquid than too much.) Continue tossing until the dough holds together when lightly pressed. With lightly floured hands, loosely gather up the dough into a disk, place it in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and not longer than overnight.
To roll out the crust, have ready a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Sift enough flour over your work surface to prevent the dough from sticking to it. Roll out the dough into a circle, working from the center to the edges. Starting at the center, roll straight up to the edge, turn the dough slightly and roll straight up to the edge. Repeat, turning the dough and rolling, until the dough has formed an 11- or 12-inch circle that is a uniform 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick (the dough should be cool to the touch but warm enough to be pliable).
Place the pie plate upside down on top of the dough. Use a sharp knife to cut a circle around the plate, leaving a border of dough around the plate. Remove the pie plate and turn it right side up. Gently fold the dough in half and then in quarters. Place the dough in the pie plate so that the pointed end of the folded crust is centered in the plate. Unfold the dough and press it firmly into position. Trim the edges evenly, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang all around the pan for crimping. Crimp the edge as desired. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the filling: Combine the brown sugar and 3 tablespoons of the flour in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over the bottom of the unbaked pie crust. Arrange the peach slices in an attractive pattern on the bottom of the crust.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the evaporated milk, egg and vanilla extract, then pour it over the peach slices. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour with the sugar and spices; sprinkle over the top of the pie.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the pie on it and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
Adapted from "Sweety Pies," by Patty Pinner (Taunton, 2007).
Tested by Sue Kovach Shuman.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.