July 15th, 2014
05:45 PM ET
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America's Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-­time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most­ foolproof recipe. America’s Test Kitchen's online cooking school is based on nearly 20 years of test kitchen work in our own facility, on the recipes created for Cook's Illustrated and Cook’s Country magazines, and on our two public television cooking shows.

The juiciness of a perfect summer peach is sublime—except when you want to bake it into a pie. To tame the moisture, we macerate the peaches to draw out some of their juices and only add some of the juice back into the filling. We also use both cornstarch and pectin to bind it, because we find that using two thickeners leaves the pie with a clear, silky texture and none of the gumminess or gelatinous texture that larger amounts of either one alone produces.

Making a lattice top for a pie can be intimidating. But it needn’t be if you use our simple technique: Freeze strips of dough and then arrange them in our prescribed order over the filling. Done properly, this approach gives the illusion of a woven lattice with less effort.

Not only does a lattice top look beautiful, making for a great presentation, but it lets the right amount of steam out, ensuring that your pie won’t bubble over or rupture in the oven. And with some tinkering, we found a way to make one that’s easy as, well, pie.

Fresh Peach Pie
(Serves 8)

If your peaches are too soft to withstand the pressure of a peeler, cut a shallow X in the bottom of the fruit, blanch them in a pot of simmering water for 15 seconds, and then shock them in a bowl of ice water before peeling. For fruit pectin we recommend both Sure-Jell for Less or No Sugar Needed Recipes and Ball RealFruit Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin.

Ingredients:

3 pounds peaches, peeled, quartered, and pitted, each quarter cut into thirds
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) plus 3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons low- or no-sugar-needed fruit pectin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 recipe Pie Dough for Lattice-Top Pie
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions:

1. Toss peaches, 1/2 cup sugar, lemon zest and juice, and salt in medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. Combine pectin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and 2 tablespoons sugar in small bowl and set aside.

2. Remove dough from refrigerator. Before rolling out dough, let it sit on counter to soften slightly, about 10 minutes. Roll 1 disk of dough into 12-inch circle on lightly floured counter. Transfer to parchment paper–lined baking sheet. With pizza wheel, fluted pastry wheel, or paring knife, cut round into ten 1 1/4-inch-wide strips. Freeze strips on sheet until firm, about 30 minutes.

3. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Roll other disk of dough into 12-inch circle on lightly floured counter. Loosely roll dough around rolling pin and gently unroll it onto 9-inch pie plate, letting excess dough hang over edge. Ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with your hand while pressing into plate bottom with your other hand. Leave any dough that overhangs plate in place. Wrap dough-lined pie plate loosely in plastic wrap and refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, transfer 1 cup peach mixture to small bowl and mash with fork until coarse paste forms. Drain remaining peach mixture through colander set in large bowl. Transfer peach juice to liquid measuring cup (you should have about 1/2 cup liquid; if liquid measures more than 1/2 cup, discard remainder). Return peach pieces to bowl and toss with cornstarch. Transfer peach juice to 12-inch skillet, add pectin mixture, and whisk until combined.

Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and pectin is dissolved (liquid should become less cloudy), 3 to 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, add peach pieces and peach paste, and toss to combine.

5. Transfer peach mixture to dough-lined pie plate. Remove dough strips from freezer; if too stiff to be workable, let stand at room temperature until malleable and softened slightly but still very cold.

Lay 2 longest strips across center of pie perpendicular to each other. Using 4 shortest strips, lay 2 strips across pie parallel to 1 center strip and 2 strips parallel to other center strip, near edges of pie; you should have 6 strips in place.

Using remaining 4 strips, lay each one across pie parallel and equidistant from center and edge strips. If dough becomes too soft to work with, refrigerate pie and dough strips until dough firms up.

6. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond lip of pie plate. Press edges of bottom crust and lattice strips together and fold under. Folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Crimp dough evenly around edge of pie using your fingers. Using spray bottle, evenly mist lattice with water and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

7. Place pie on rimmed baking sheet and bake until crust is set and begins to brown, about 25 minutes. Rotate pie and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees; continue to bake until crust is deep golden brown and filling is bubbly at center, 30 to 40 minutes longer. Let cool on wire rack for 3 hours before serving.

Pie dough for one nine-inch lattice top pie:

Ingredients:

3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and frozen for 30 minutes
10-12 tablespoons ice water

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Process flour, sugar, and salt in food processor until combined, about 5 seconds. Scatter shortening over top and process until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 10 seconds. Scatter butter over top and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses. Transfer to bowl.

2. Sprinkle 5 tablespoons ice water over flour mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to evenly combine water and flour mixture. Sprinkle 5 tablespoons ice water over mixture and continue using folding motion to combine until small portion of dough holds together when squeezed in palm of your hand, adding up to 2 tablespoons remaining ice water if necessary. (Dough should feel quite moist.)

Turn out dough onto clean, dry counter and gently press together into cohesive ball. Divide dough into 2 even pieces and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap disks tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 2 days.

More from America's Test Kitchen:
Our favorite pie plate
Our recipe for Gluten-Free Blueberry Pie
Our recipe for Summer Berry Pie
Our recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream

Previously:
Perfect your crumb pie crust
Dessert debate: cake vs pie
Make perfect pie crust
Bringing healing to Newtown, one pie at a time
It's checkmate for chess pie
Michelle Branch's brown sugar pineapple pie
The sweet appeal of bean pie
More about Southern food on Eatocracy

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Filed under: America's Test Kitchen • Baked Goods • Content Partner • Dishes • Fruit • Ingredients • Pie • Summer Vegetables


soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Al

    I'll take Missy's (Lexington Ky) Five Berry Pie over any peach pie.

    August 15, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
  2. joncook14

    I really thought it was gonna be pictures of Amy Adams wizard sleeve.

    August 1, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
  3. rosethornne

    Sticky and gloppy, not "best ever".
    You might as well use that tasteless dreck out of a can.

    July 27, 2014 at 1:17 am |
  4. joncook14

    I seriously thought it was gonna be a picture of Beyonce's who-who.

    July 26, 2014 at 11:13 pm |
  5. Shags

    Briemere Farms on the north fork of Long Island has the best pies.

    July 26, 2014 at 8:50 am |
  6. pbz

    Any good pie crust is made with lard, and if not lard, then butter. Shortening is gross.

    July 25, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
  7. Steph

    So there is a major stone fruit recall (peaches, plums and plouts, etc) from lots of stores this week (Whole foods, walmart, Trader Joes, Kroeger, etc) and your suggestion is to make a peach pie? Really?!

    July 25, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
    • Good Grief

      Yup. Now take a pill

      July 25, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
    • Ally

      When you consider that this article posted 10 days ago (before the recall), it doesn't seem ridiculous at all.

      July 25, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      1. This was published before the recall.
      2. Plenty of people (myself included) get their peaches from farmers' markets or farm stands, not big grocery chains.

      July 25, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
  8. mike b.

    Shortening? Where is the call for lard for far superior pastries?

    July 24, 2014 at 8:05 pm |
  9. Dr. Gary Hughes

    This was a wonderful, yet overly complicated, recipe. However, my family was very grateful for all of my hard work, and their hugs and kisses far outweighed my lack of baking perfection.

    July 22, 2014 at 8:15 pm |
  10. neondancer

    This is far too complicated, peach pie needn't be hard. In fact, I made one just a couple hours ago. Line a pie pan with whatever flaky pie crust dough you like. Then slice fresh, slightly overripe peaches skin-on (about 12 slices per peach) and arrange them spiraling in. You can also add strawberry slices, raspberry, or whatever other berries you like. Mix 1/2 a stick of melted butter with 1/3 cup flour, 1 cup of sugar, and a splash of vanilla. Mix that into crumbs and sprinkle heavily over the fruit and pat down. Arrange a second layer of fruit and sprinkle in more of the crumb mix. Lay a lattice or whole crust (if the latter, put a couple scores on it to let out steam) then pat it all down and sprinkle a little of the crumbs on top for a bit of crunch. 350 for 45 minutes and you have a lovely and super easy peach pie that is packed with fruit rather than sugar goop and is (relatively) much healthier.

    July 21, 2014 at 10:08 pm |
    • Ruby

      I agree. I made this pie months ago and the crust took way too long to make as did all of their steps for the peaches!

      August 3, 2014 at 6:07 pm |
  11. bookgirl215

    I made this pie over the weekend and it was pretty good... although the best ever? Not so sure about that. I'm not entirely sure what the point of the peach paste step was, I did like that you drain out some of the juice, but while tasty I think the whole thing could be achieved by using cornstarch instead of all the rest of it.

    July 21, 2014 at 9:03 am |
  12. lauradet

    Peach pie, do you mean peach cobbler? Heck, if so, peach cobbler is a main staple of Soul Food and it is GREAT!

    July 18, 2014 at 8:34 am |
    • Derp

      What you just posted was, "I didn't read the article."

      July 18, 2014 at 8:38 am |
  13. Jack

    Ugh, cinnamon doesn't belong in a fresh peach pie.

    July 16, 2014 at 10:56 am |
  14. Interesting

    Village Inn used to be the place to go for pies. Now that MC & Perkins are under the same corporate umbrella, it's like the Walmart take-over of the pie world.

    http://www.perkinsrestaurants.com/brands

    Those who still love to bake, keep on truckin'. There are still many of us who still appreciate homemade pies. Dutch apple, please.

    July 16, 2014 at 6:28 am |
  15. PeachPieLover

    I can tell you this is not the finest peach pie ever. To much explanation on the filling and the lattice crust. The real secret to any pie is the crust, it must be short and flakey. Only with practice can you make the perfect crust. The filling needs a touch of almond to really bring out the peach flavor. I'll post the perfect peach pie receipe if you want.....

    July 15, 2014 at 11:43 pm |
    • crittermomagain

      Mmmm ... I added a little almond to a cherry pie recently and it really made it delicious.

      I want pie.

      July 18, 2014 at 8:42 am |
    • Sara

      PeachPieLover, please post your recipe ! :-)

      July 22, 2014 at 9:18 am |
  16. LCB

    "Peachy-keen Pie, Made EASY? you write? I was worn out, just reading the "process"! not to mention the lists of ingredients necessary to create this EASY pie . . . Perkins is the answer – IF you like, or crave this 'keen' desert!

    July 15, 2014 at 9:47 pm |
    • Ally

      Peaches, sugar, thickener, spices and crust. That's pretty bare bones for a fruit pie.

      July 16, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
  17. Timetraveler

    Pie is THE BEST desert ever invented. And my top 3 favorite are:

    1. Cherry
    2. Strawberry-rhubarb
    3. Apple

    July 15, 2014 at 8:00 pm |
  18. Thugvon

    I ❤ ({})

    July 15, 2014 at 7:20 pm |
    • Wigwam

      I would gladly eat the pie of a nice Georgia peach.

      July 16, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
      • blindskillz

        Just had some sweet pie last night

        July 23, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
  19. Yea Right!

    Americans are so lazy! You think they are going to actually go through all this work when Marie Calendars does it for them? Yea right!

    July 15, 2014 at 7:18 pm |
    • SA Steve

      for the past 30 years, I have arrived at my place of work at 6:00am (or earlier), and upon leaving, stop at the grocery store to buy fresh produce and meats for the evening. On arriving home, I clean and prep the purchased foods and then cook a dinner for my wife and myself to enjoy. We "go out" to eat at a restaurant about 4 or 5 times each year. I have missed perahps 4 days of work over the past 30 years, and missed about the same rate for the jobs I had during the previous 15 years. My wife (of 16 years) has never had to work outside the house, and does minimal chores (laundry & catbox cleaning). She does a great deal of charity work so as to be involved with the community in a positive manner. So your assumptions that "Americans are so lazy" is a typical hatred based stereotype. Most Americans (as crass as they can be) are hard workers, and anything but lazy.

      ...and just FYI: I would never eat anything as repulsive as marie calendars, mcdonalds, etc. But just because others choose to does not mean they are lazy.

      ...and just so you know, I am a teacher (so not a huge salary), and yes, I love going through "all this work" to have fresh food. (and not only do i think that is not that much work, i wouldn't do it as i don't think pie is all that great... but taste is an individual thing.)

      stop your hate and quit categorizing people on your limited experience.

      July 15, 2014 at 8:50 pm |
      • Tommy TomConny

        What do you do when you have to fit in kids activities and dont have time to cook dinner?

        July 15, 2014 at 9:04 pm |
        • Big Red

          His wife handlles the activity unless it's agreed upon that he goes by himself or they go together as a couple. It's simple and easy.

          July 16, 2014 at 3:55 am |
      • Big Red

        Sounds like my marriage, and it's a blessing which works beautifully. My hat's off to you and your wife. My husband and I are about to celebrate our 25th Silver anniversary. May your anniversaries and lives be filled with continued partnership, love and laughter.

        July 16, 2014 at 3:57 am |
        • Funny

          Your 25th Silver Anniv would be your 625th Anniversary. ;) Congratulations! (:

          July 16, 2014 at 6:23 am |
    • VladT

      If you can learn to copy and paste, than so can I....

      "Pretty sure the bakers at Marie Callendars are American, so that rebuts your case"

      July 16, 2014 at 3:11 am |
    • Carn E. Vore

      People who stereotype 330,000,000 people are morons.

      July 17, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
    • Baker extraordinaire

      That's pretty cynical and closed minded. I for one am not lazy and can bake better than most. I prefer a fresh baked pie over some store bought frozen crap any day! To all the people knocking this recipe, get a life! To each his own, every pie lover has different taste so you can never please everyone all the time. I personally am not a big peach pie lover but the concept this person uses sounds good for other pie recipies. I do agree with one comment someone made however and that was that the crust plays a big part in the pies success. I make all my crusts from scratch and the flakiness of the crust is paramount!

      July 24, 2014 at 5:09 am |
  20. Dean

    Or just visit your local Perkins during the summer.

    July 15, 2014 at 6:37 pm |
    • Yea Right!

      Americans are so lazy! You think they are going to actually go through all this work when Marie Calendars does it for them? Yea right! I rest my case!

      July 15, 2014 at 7:25 pm |
      • VladT

        Pretty sure the bakers at Marie Callendars are American, so that rebuts your case

        July 16, 2014 at 3:10 am |
        • Paul Blart, Troll Cop

          C'mon, you know better than this. If you're going to feed the trolls, take out your frustrations with some creativity.

          July 16, 2014 at 6:52 am |

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