From Good Food Producer and Akasha Pastry Chef Gillian Ferguson
Peaches and cream are like peas and carrots. We often mention them together, but rarely eat them together. This pie remedies that with a marriage of pastry cream and whole fruit tucked into a flakey shell. It’s beautiful and easy as…pie!
For the crust I used Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Flakey Cream Cheese Pie Crust recipe. In her book, The Pie and Pastry Bible, Rose declares this her favorite crust. It was delicious; however, the pie would be just as good with an all butter flakey crust. Below is an abridged version of Rose’s recipe.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (cut into ¾ inch cubes and frozen)
1 cup + 1 tablespoon pastry flour
1/8 teaspoon salt (I might up this to a ¼ teaspoon next time)
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup cream cheese (cold)
1 tablespoon ice water
1 ½ teaspoons cider vinegar
Cut butter in cubes and freeze. Measure dry ingredients – flour, salt and baking powder – into a food processor and pulse to combine. Divide cream cheese in 4 parts and add to dries. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add frozen butter and pulse until the butter is the size of peas. Remove cover, add water and vinegar, and pulse until butter is the size of small peas.
Dump mixture onto a work surface and knead until it comes together. Do not over work it! Press into a disk and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes, but preferably overnight.
1 ½ cup milk
½ cup cream
½ scraped vanilla bean, or 1 tsp vanilla extract
3 egg yoks
scant ½ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons butter
Combine milk, cream and vanilla bean in saucepan. Heat over medium heat. Meanwhile, mix together eggs, cornstarch, salt and sugar. Put butter in separate heat proof bowl and set aside. Once the cream mixture is hot to the touch, pour a small amount into the egg mixture to temper the eggs, whisking constantly. Repeat until eggs have come to temperature. Pour egg mixture back into the saucepan and whisk constantly until mixture gets thick. BE CAREFUL HERE! The hardest part about pastry cream is knowing when to take it off the heat. One second too soon and you’ve got a soupy mess, one second too late and you’ve got thick goopy sludge. Also keep in mind that it will keep cooking once you take it off the heat. My personal advice is to take it off the heat as soon as you feel a good amount of resistance on the whisk. If you wait until the mixture simmers, you may have waited too long.
Once you pull it off the heat, pour through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl with the butter. This will melt your butter. Discard vanilla bean and whisk strained mixture together. Lastly, plunge the bowl into an ice bath to stop it from cooking further. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface to prevent it from forming a skin. Let cool before using.
ripe but firm peaches, halved (the amount of peaches depends on the shape of your pie – I needed 8 whole peaches to get 15 halves)
Halve peaches and place cut side up in a oven proof pan. Place a dollop of butter, a generous sprinkling of brown sugar and a pinch of salt on each peach. Roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. This releases the juices so your finished pie doesn’t swim in a lake of peach juice.
*To halve peaches, just cut around the pit and gently twist until the two halves separate. If the pit is finicky and won’t come out, just gently slide a pairing knife around it and ease it out.
ASSEMBLE THE PIE
Roll our pie dough and press into tart shell. *A note on shaping a tart shell – make sure the edge of your pie dough peaks over the edge of the tart shell as the dough will shrink during baking. Put shell in freezer while you gather your other ingredients. You want to make sure the shell is very cold when it goes into the oven.
Spread a layer of pastry cream on the bottom of the tart shell. Place cooked peach halves on top of the cream. I like to fit as many peaches as possible in the tart without overcrowding. I chose a rectangular pan, but a circular tart pan would be absolutely beautiful.
Bake the pie at 400 degrees (if you have a convection oven lower the temperature by at least 25 degrees) until the crust is nice and golden brown – about 50 minutes to an hour. *A note on baking – if you have a pizza stone I recommend baking the pie on the stone. Also, it is important to turn the pie at least once during baking as most ovens provide uneven heat.