Evan’s Peach Pie with Homemade Canned Filling

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Elements for Instant Pie (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

I made this pie before summer.  Before there was a hint of summer, in fact it was pouring rain. But I needed a taste of summer – really badly.  I found myself doing the adolescent boy thing and opening cupboards and staring in – opening the refrigerator door and staring in.  What did I think would happen?  That a branch of ripe peaches would be hanging there in plain sight ready for me to harvest the sweet, slightly acidic fruit so I could cut it up and tuck the slices in a crust?   A cartoon moment complete with lightbulb ensued.  I yanked open the preserves cupboard and there in their golden beauty were two quarts of canned peach pie filling. I pulled open the freezer drawer and looked down to see a beautiful pie crust made in a rare moment of postponed gratification and foresight.   And then I nearly cried.  Right next to the frozen crust was a baggie filled with frozen Crumble Topping.  Oh man…..I was going to taste summer in February.  THIS IS WHY YOU LEARN HOW TO CAN, I thought.

The Peach Pie Filling recipe and explanation of Clear Gel is from my personal canning guru Delilah Snell. I highly recommend that you take a local canning class.  Learn how to do it the safe, right way.

So…what is Clear Gel? It’s a modified cornstarch that is the secret ingredient for many commercial bakers.  Clear Gel can withstand the heat of a canner and still maintain a gel even after the filling comes out of the oven.  It gels clear and imparts no extra flavor to your pie.  Keep reading for the recipe…

from Delilah Snell

  • 5 c. peaches, nectarines or apricots
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ c. water
  • ¾ c. sugar
  • 3 tbsp Clear Gel
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • orange zest (optional-but nice!)

1.  Use fruit that is firm but not at the hard-tart stage. The fruit needs to withstand the cooking and heat from processing but still have sweetness (but if you like tart, get more tart ones!)

2.   Blanch fruit (if you want), quarter and remove pits.

3.   Combine water, spices, sugar, juice and Clear Gel in a large, heavy pan and bring to a boil. Usually whisking the Clear Gel helps to keep it from clumping.

4. Prepare your jars and lids for processing. Fill jars with filling leaving 1” of headspace.  Process in a boiling water-bath according to USDA canning directions for 30 min.