The first time I attempted to make Back in the Day Bakery owners Cheryl and Griffith Day’s recipe for Baked (Not Fried) Peach Pies, the filling was so good that I ate most of it before I could assemble the pies. To me, though, the crust is always the best part of pies and cobblers. So once I managed to make some whole pies and taste the crust with all its buttery flakiness, I knew that I could optimize my eating pleasure by eating the crust with just the juices from the cooked peaches and then spooning the peaches over the ice cream! (That’s the way I deconstruct my desserts!) Don’t be deterred by the length of the recipe — it’s just peaches and pinches and dashes of all sorts of good stuff cooked in a nice crust. But don’t forget, like I did, to add slits to the pie! For another peachy recipe by Cheryl and Griff, authors of one of my favorite baking books this year, try out their Blackened Shrimp Tacos with Spicy Peach Jam! — Kristina
About Cheryl and Griffith Day: Authors of the best-selling cookbook The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook, self-taught bakers Cheryl and Griffith Day opened Back in the Day Bakery, a neighborhood bakeshop in Savannah, Georgia, in 2002. The bakery is recognized nationally and locally for its homespun decadent desserts and delicious rustic breads, as well as the warm and friendly atmosphere that has made it a food landmark. Cheryl honed her skills in her mother and grandmother’s kitchen, and Griff’s interest in baking was piqued as a child by the magical sourdough starter that his mother kept in the family kitchen. In their cookbook, you will find some of their favorite recipes accompanied by personal stories about creating food memories with family and friends.
See the full recipe for peach pies after the jump . . .
- 2 cups fresh peaches (about 5 peaches) peeled & chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon angostura bitters (optional but oh so delicious)
Hand Pie Crust
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 large egg yolk
- 3 tablespoons ice water, plus more as needed
- 1 egg beaten plus 1 teaspoon cream, for egg wash
To make the filling:
1. Peel and coarsely chop peaches and toss them in 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
2. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the peaches, brown sugar, bourbon, butter, cardamom, ginger and salt. Cook and stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved. In a tiny bowl, stir the cornstarch and 1 teaspoon of water and add it to the peaches. Cook and stir for about 10 minutes more or until the mixture has thickened and is glossy. Stir in the angostura bitters and transfer the peach mixture to a small bowl to cool.
To make the hand pie dough:
1. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir to mix.
2. Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles course meal or peas. Work quickly so that the butter remains cool and does not melt into the flour.
3. Combine the egg yolk and 3 tablespoons of ice water and stir to mix. Add to the flour mixture and stir with a fork just until the dough clumps together and is moist enough to pat together with your hands. If the dough is dry and crumbly, add a little more ice water one tablespoon at a time but just until the dough comes together. Do not add so much water that it becomes wet or sticky.
4. With lightly floured hands, gather the dough together, turn it onto a lightly floured work surface and form the dough into a ball. Divide the dough in half and flatten it with the palm of your hand to make two discs. Wrap each disc in plastic and put in the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour or up to 3 days.
5. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F.
6. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
7. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pie dough about 1/4 inch thick. Cut eight 5-inch rounds with a cutter or a small knife. Place about 2 tablespoons of the peach filling on the right side of each round, leaving a 1/2 inch border.
8. Combine the cream and the egg in a small bowl and stir to mix. Brush the borders of the rounds with an egg wash and fold the left side of the dough over the filling so that the edges meet and enclose the filling. Crimp the edges with a fork to seal. Cut small slits into the top of each pie with a paring knife.
9. Place the pies on the prepared baking sheet, brush the tops with egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar (or one of our flavored sugars, YUM). Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.
We love to celebrate the seasons at our bakery. When peach season rolls around here in Georgia, we simply can’t resist baking these hand pies. Griff and I are all about food memories. He says they remind him of visits to the state fair in Minnesota. They remind me of summer visits down south. I can still hear the churn of the old-fashioned ice cream maker on my grandmother’s porch and waiting impatiently to put a big scoop on top. Our version is much healthier; it’s baked NOT fried, but we promise it’s just as memorable! (Portrait by Squire Fox)