Perfect Peach Pie

This perfect peach pie is my personal favorite pie of all time! Peach-picking at one of our nearby u-pick orchards is a fine way to spend a summer day.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. I bake pies directly on the preheated baking stone that pretty much lives in my oven.

Prepare the fruit filling:
5 cups peeled, pitted and sliced fresh peaches (about 6 or 7 depending on the variety)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Slice the peaches into a large bowl. I use a 2-quart glass measuring bowl so I know when I reach 5 cups. Be sure to drain off any water that accumulates in the bottom of the bowl or the pie will be too juicy. Sprinkle the peaches with lemon juice. Stir the sugar, flour and cinnamon together and then toss with the peaches. Allow to stand for at least 15 minutes to get the juices flowing while you prepare the crust.

Pastry for crust:
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, very cold
6 – 8 tablespoons ice water
Stir the salt into the flour in a large bowl. Cut a 2-tablespoon piece off of one stick of the butter and set aside. Using a pastry blender, cut the remaining cold butter into the flour until well-distributed and no large chunks remain. Add 6 tablespoons ice water while tossing the mixture with a fork. Add additional water as necessary and continue tossing gently just until all of the flour is moistened. Do not stir vigorously or the crust will be tough!

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board or counter and press together into a disc. Cut in half and set one half aside. Roll out the other half into a circle a couple inches larger than your pie pan. Place in the pan allowing it to hang over the edge. Fill with fruit filling and use the reserved 2 tablespoons butter to dot the top of the fruit. Using a sharp paring knife, trim the edge of the dough so it comes just past the edge of the pan. Roll out the second disc into another circle about the same size as the first. Place over the fruit filling and trim so it hangs over the edge of the pan by about 1 inch. Now, tuck the edge of the top crust under the edge of the bottom crust and press to seal well all around the pan. Then you can make a decorative edge with your thumb or by pressing with fork tines. This keeps the juices from bubbling down under the bottom crust and burning.

Cut a small hole, about the size of a Cheerio in the center of the crust to allow steam to escape, then cut slits or a design in the top being careful not to accidentally cut through to the bottom crust. Brush or spray the top lightly with water and sprinkle evenly with sugar. I like to use coarse, light-brown demerara sugar.

Bake at 425 degrees for 35 – 45 minutes until the crust is golden and you can see the juices are bubbling through the hole in the center of the pie. Cool on a wire rack.

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