Old-Fashioned Peach Pie

Peach Pie! This is what summer tastes like! Fresh peaches, easy homemade crust. Simple and perfect.

I could wax on and on about my love for pie. The flake of the crust, the sweet filling, that sparkle of sugar on the crust — but I’ll spare you.

Peach pie is right up there on my list of favorite things to make and eat. One of my very first memories is of riding my grandfather’s shoulders, picking peaches right off the trees in a California orchard, taking that first bite, and letting the juices flow down my arm.

This is the memory of summer for me, and peach pie is a recipe I think every baker should have in their recipe box.

I like to use fresh, ripe peaches, and I peel them before slicing. It is extra work, but I think it’s well worth it. This said, frozen peaches totally work as well. (I’ve tested this pie with both.)

I like to thicken my peach pies with cornstarch instead of tapioca or flour. I find that tapioca can become gummy as the pie cools (especially if the pie has leaked) and I just don’t like using flour as a thickener in pies.

Cornstarch, on the other hand, has a neutral flavor, bakes up clear, and doesn’t get as gummy as tapioca when the pie cools.

I know there’s a lot of pie fear out there, but I think with some know-how and a little acceptance, there’s really nothing to fear at all.

Sometimes pies just end up looking less than perfect. Sometimes the crust slides a little or shrinks. Sometimes the pie is too tart, or too runny, or it’s not perfectly-Earth-shattering in its flakiness.

But I am here to tell you that it is OKAY. As with all things, practice makes perfect. And no matter what, you still have pie at the end of the day!

I’d also argue that a perfect pie isn’t nearly as charming or beautiful as a rustic one. That said, read on for my tips to reduce pie stress and increase pie success!

Best Tips for Pie Success:

  • Work with cold ingredients, especially butter!
  • Chill the dough at every opportunity. This is how you get a stunner of a pie that holds its shape.
  • Pies can seem like they’re taking forever to bake, and that can feel a little stressful. Don’t worry. It can take an hour or more for a fruit pie like this one to fully bake — especially if your filling was cold to start (like if you’re using frozen fruit).
  • In the oven, watch for your filling to bubble all the way through the center of the pie. This is how you know that it’s done. Thickeners like cornstarch don’t react and start to thicken until they reach the boiling point.
  • Don’t stress about the crust burning. It’s unlikely the bottom will burn because it’s well insulated thanks to the pie plate (especially if you’re using a glass or ceramic dish), and also thanks to the weight of the filling.
  • If the edges of the crust begin to darken too much, fashion a foil ring to place over the edges. Or invest in a cheap pie crust shield (I love mine).
  • Finally, resist the urge to cut the pie before it has cooled completely. The filling needs to set or all those juices will pour out! If you want a warm slice of pie, gently rewarm it in the oven or microwave.
  • Bonus tip! If you want a super-tightly woven lattice (like the one you see here) or one with lots of decorative touches, it’s best to make three single crusts (or 1 1/2 recipes of the no-fail pie dough).

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