Rustic Peach Pie with Whole Grain Spelt Crust

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A former film development executive, Jennifer Rogers cooks and writes in Los Angeles.  Her blog is Domestic Divas, which focuses on local, organic cooking, restaurant and wine reviews.  She is currently writing her first novel.

IMG_1203There are few better flavors in the world than summer peaches. I love picking them up at the farmers market, where they’re still warmed from the sun, their sweet flesh just beginning to soften into a heavenly nectar. No offense to apples, but peach pie has to be my favorite. Growing up in rural Virginia, my Mom used to bake peach pies using a recipe her Southern mother-in-law taught her, which she still uses to this day.

For this pie, I took a “healthier” approach (if you can ever use healthy and pie in the same sentence). I made the crust using whole grain flour made from spelt, an ancient grain closely related to wheat. While spelt is not suitable for people with celiac disease, some people with wheat allergies or intolerances (like me) can tolerate spelt. The crust is an all butter crust made with a local, organic butter from Spring Hill Jersey Cheese. For the filling, I used ingredients like organic white peaches from the farmers market and organic cane sugar. The result? A scrumptious pie that you can feel good about eating!

Rustic Peach Pie with Whole Grain Spelt Crust
Serves 8 people

1 recipe Whole Grain Spelt Crust (see below)
1 egg, beaten
4 cups peaches, peeled and sliced (I used white peaches, but yellow are great, too)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup whole grain spelt flour
1 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

To make the filling, place the peaches in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Gently mix together. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Pour it over the peaches and mix gently.

Spoon the filling into the center of the dough. Scatter slices of the one tablespoon of butter around the filling. Fold the edges of the crust around the filling and pinch together to create a “pouch.” Brush the crust with some of the egg mixture.

Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes, until the crust is brown and juices are bubbling. Allow to cool before serving.

Serve the pie with vanilla ice cream or fresh vanilla-cardamom whipped cream (whisk together 1 cup heavy cream, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom). If desired, garnish with sprig of fresh rosemary (as pictured).

Whole Grain Spelt Crust
Makes 1 crust

1 1/3 cup whole grain spelt flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon organic cane sugar
1 stick (1/4 lb) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3-5 tablespoons ice water

To make the crust, process the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add the butter to the flour mixture and pulse in one second intervals until the butter bits are the size of small peas (about 10 pulses). Place the mixture in a medium mixing bowl.

Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of the ice water and fold into the mix. Using floured hands or a spatula, press down on the mixture until the dough sticks together. Add another one or two tablespoons of water if needed. Flatted the dough into a 4-inch disk and refrigerate for at least one hour before rolling it out.

To roll out, form the dough into a ball and place it on a floured piece or parchment paper. Top with another piece of parchment paper and roll with a rolling pin. Peel off the top piece of paper and place the parchment paper with the dough onto a cookie sheet for baking. Chill, covered with parchment paper, until ready to use. Bring to room temperature before baking.