Peach and Basil Pie

Camera-charging success! I vow that from here on out, I will keep my camera in tip-top food-photographing shape so as to bring you only the finest of my food-related ramblings. Aaaaand away we go!

I hit the jackpot at work and ended up with two days off in a row, a rarity for me. So I took advantage of my mid-week weekend by heading south to visit my family and feast on my favorite food of all time, crabs. The past few weeks have been disgustingly hot in New York (and my kitchen is painfully un-air conditioned), leaving me with very little energy or desire to turn on my oven, so I’ve been eating lots of beautiful stone fruits, crisp greens, and fresh cheeses. My parents, fortunately, have a cucumber-cool kitchen so I decided to whip up a pie to accompany our Maryland feast. I hit up one of the many farm stands in my hometown and found that the peaches in Maryland are even more ripe and juicy than those in New York, completely irresistible. I love pairing sweet fruit with fresh herbs, so I plucked a few basil leaves from my dad’s garden and set to work. Paired with some freshly whipped cream and a cup of black coffee, this pie was definitely special agent Cooper-approved.

Peach and Basil Pie
serves 8

For the crust:
3/4 c unsalted butter
2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
3-4 tbsp cold water
1 beaten egg for brushing

For the filling:
4 c peeled, pitted, and sliced peaches
3/4 c sugar
1 handful basil leaves, chiffonaded
2 tsp cornstarch
1 lemon, zested
3 tsbp butter

To make crust, whisk together flour and salt. Working quickly, cut the butter into cubes. You want the butter to be very cold when you start to make the dough. If it gets too warm, pop it on a plate in the freezer for a few minutes before working it into the flour. Using your hands, rub the flour into the butter until there are very few large lumps of butter visible. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time and work it into the dough until it forms a cohesive mass. You may need slightly more or less water. Halve dough, flattening both halves into discs and wrapping tightly before chilling while you prepare the filling.

To make the filling, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss well, I like to use my hands. Let macerate for at about ten minutes.

Pre-heat your oven to 400°. Roll out first dough ball to 1/4″ thickness and place in pie tin. Prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork. Add peaches to tin. If your peaches are as obscenely juicy as mine were, you may want to strain some of the juice off to keep your crust from getting soggy. I saved the leftover juice and mixed it with tonic water, delicious! To make a standard top, roll out your second dough ball into 1/4″ thickness and place on top of pie, pinching the sides together. Cut a few vents, decorative or not, in the top crust and brush with egg wash. I made a lattice-top pie, and I was planning on writing an in-depth tutorial on how to do so, but then I started and it was really hard and I’m pretty lazy sooo…. here’s a really good one that helped me out when I first started baking pies.

Bake pie at 400º for 20 minutes or until crust is lightly-golden, then reduce to 350º for another 20 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.