I'm spending these last weeks of summer trying to gobble up all the farmer's market produce I can get my hands on. It's a great time of year to buy peaches here in Nashville. They're so juicy & flavorful that you really don't need to dress them up. Eating them over the sink is one of my favorite ways to enjoy them. Or slice them & serve over ice cream. However, for our staycation this year, we wanted to try out a pie. It involved Bourbon Caramel. Need I say more?
This pie tasted great & it wasn't really that hard to execute. As the recipe indicates, the pie crust can be made a day in advance & I took advantage of that fact. What really blew me away with this recipe was the caramel. It was so easy & so delicious that I consider it dangerous.
I will be making my own caramel topping for ice cream from now on.
I'm not really one for desserts & I wish I had more accolades for this pie. It was delicious, but I have what I call a "food-labor block," which means if I work hard at perfecting something, it doesn't really taste that great to me. In fact, such meals or projects often have no taste. They're unremarkable to me because I've produced them. It's horrible, except for the fact that others enjoy the results of such experiments. & if there are leftovers, I usually enjoy them much more than the original meal.
Mark Barrett seemed to think this was the best peach pie he'd ever consumed. Who am I to dispute that fact?
On to the caramel:
You start out with the sugar, bourbon, and honey in a medium-sized sauce pot. You let the sugar dissolve & get browned just a little, then you take it off the heat & stir in the butter.
As you stir, the caramel gets thicker until it looks like this:
Then you drizzle that luscious caramel all over your spiced peaches (note: I didn't peel or process my peaches in boiling water. They were just fine without that business).
Then pour the peach caramel mixture into your pie crust.
Cover it with your second crust:
Mark had some extra time, so he spelled out our last name on the pie. He's cute like that.
Pie crust is not hard at all. Do not be intimidated. We make ours in the food processor, which makes things easier. You know it's ready to be rolled out when the butter is pea-sized. When you roll it out, make sure you have enough flour on your board. Otherwise, your crust will fall apart & you'll have to re-roll it which could result in a tough crust.
Overall, this pie wasn't too much trouble & it tasted divine, especially with some Blue Bell vanilla ice cream. I'm not much for desserts, as I've said, but a fruity dessert is the exception. That's why I'm having blackberry cobbler instead of birthday cake this year. It's my birthday week, y'all. I'm officially old. I'll be 29 on Saturday. Mark will be 28 on Sunday.
Honey Caramel Peach Pie
Adapted from Gourmet, July 2009
Recipe from Sassy Radish
Any kind of mild honey will work beautifully here. It will cook into a rich caramel, which coats the peaches and deepens their sweetness.
Pie Filling Ingredients:
3 lb ripe peaches
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
Honey Bourbon Caramel Ingredients:
1/4 cup mild honey
2 tbsp bourbon
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
All-butter pastry dough (recipe below)
1 tablespoon whole milk
1. Cut an X in bottom of each peach, then blanch peaches in batches in boiling water 15 seconds. Transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to stop cooking. Peel peaches and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges. [My note: I skipped this step, I was really short on time, and I just sliced the peaches, skin and all - the result, heavenly. I don't think the book club ladies minded at all!]
2. Toss peaches well with cornstarch, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.
3. Put a foil-lined large baking sheet in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 425°F.
4. Bring 1/2 cup sugar, honey, and bourbon and water to a boil in a 1 1/2- to 2-qt heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then wash down any sugar crystals from side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Boil without stirring, swirling pan occasionally so caramel colors evenly, until dark amber, about 5 minutes.
5.Remove from heat and add butter, swirling pan until butter is melted. Pour over fruit and toss (caramel may harden slightly but will melt in oven).
6. Roll out 1 piece of dough (keep remaining piece chilled) into a 13-inch round on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim excess dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Chill shell while rolling out remaining dough.
7. Roll out remaining piece of dough into an 11-inch round on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin.
8. Transfer filling to pie shell, mounding it. Cover pie with pastry round. Trim with kitchen shears, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Press edges together, then crimp decoratively. Brush top all over with some of milk, then sprinkle with remaining Tbsp sugar. Cut 3 steam vents in top crust with a paring knife.
9. Bake pie on hot baking sheet 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Continue to bake until crust is golden-brown and filling is bubbling, about 50 minutes more. Cool pie to room temperature, 3 to 4 hours.
All-Butter Pastry Dough
Makes enough for a double-crust 9-inch pie
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup plus 1 to 4 Tbsp ice water
1. Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl (or pulse in a food processor). Blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse) just until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps. Drizzle 1/3 cup ice water over mixture and gently stir with a fork (or pulse) until incorporated.
2. Squeeze a small handful of dough: If it doesn’t hold together, add more ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until just incorporated, then test again. Do not overwork dough, or pastry will be tough.
3. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 8 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather dough together, with a pastry scraper if you have one, and press into a ball. Divide in half and form into 2 disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.