Makes one 9-inch double-crust pie; serves 6 to 8
"The tricky thing about peach pie is adjusting the amount of thickener flour or tapioca in relation to the juiciness of your peaches," said Marcy Masumoto. "Because our peaches are extremely juicy, which is how they are supposed to be, I always put aluminum foil or a pan on the rack below my pie to catch juices that might escape during baking. That saves a lot of time cleaning the oven.
"If you have extra-juicy peaches, you may want to do a lattice-top crust or cut larger holes in the top crust to allow more steam to vent," she added. "If your pie does not cool completely or has not baked long enough, the filling will be runny, so make sure you leave it in the oven long enough and let it cool fully to room temperature before cutting into it.
"If you are using a deep-dish pie pan, use 7 to 8 cups sliced peaches and increase the sugar and flour or tapioca accordingly."
From "The Perfect Peach" by David Mas, Marcy and Nikiko Masumoto (Ten Speed Press, $22, 176 pages).
3 cups unbleached all- purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup vegetable shortening (not margarine), chilled
6 to 7 tablespoons ice water
6 cups fresh peaches (with a little give), pitted, peeled and sliced or partially thawed frozen peach slices
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour, instant tapioca or tapioca flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cold salted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 tablespoon heavy cream or half and half (optional)
1 teaspoon turbinado sugar (optional)
Making the pastry: In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt, mixing well. Distribute the butter and shortening over the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender, work in the butter until it is the size of small peas. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and work it into the flour mixture with your hands until it is moist enough to hold together and you can shape it into a ball. Do not overwork the dough or the pastry will be tough.
Food-processor method: Alternatively, combine the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to mix well. Distribute the butter and shortening over the flour mixture and pulse until the fat is the size of small peas. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the mixture comes together in a rough mass. Remove the dough from the processor and shape into a ball.
Divide the dough into 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other. Flatten each ball into a disk 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
When you are ready to assemble the pie, dust your work surface with flour. Unwrap the larger disk, place on the floured surface and roll out into a round at least 13 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the round to a 9-inch pie pan, gently fitting it into the bottom and sides. Trim the edge of the pastry to leave a 1-inch overhang around the rim of the pan.
Making the pie: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the peaches in a large bowl. Drizzle them with the lemon juice and stir gently to coat evenly. If your peaches are especially juicy, drain off the excess juice and reserve for drinking later or even while you make the pie and use the larger amount of flour. In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the fruit and toss gently to coat the peaches evenly. Set the peaches aside.
Pour the filling into the pastry-lined pie pan. Distribute the cubes of salted butter evenly over the filling. Roll out the second pastry disk the same way into a round at least 11 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick.
Gently lay the round over the filled pastry, then trim the edge to match the overhang of the bottom layer. Fold the overhang either over itself or under itself to create an edge, sealing the edge securely and fluting it for an attractive appearance.
Brush the top crust with the cream, then sprinkle it with the turbinado sugar. Cut at least 6 large slits in the top crust to allow the steam to vent during baking. Cover the edges with foil or a crust protector if needed to prevent overbrowning.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the sheet on the lower rack of the oven to catch drips as the pie bakes. Place the pie on the center rack above the sheet and bake 50 to 60 minutes.
Check the crust after 40 minutes. If the edges are not the same color as the exposed top of the crust, remove the edge cover. When the filling is bubbling and the crust is evenly browned, the pie is ready.
Let the pie cool completely (this will take at least 2 to 3 hours) on a wire rack before serving, then cut into wedges to serve.
Cook's note: Put any rolled-out pastry trimmings on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Enjoy with a glass of cold milk for some down-home comfort food.