“Moving to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches…”
Ok, so I’m not actually moving to the country, this is just the song I sing to myself when making this peach pie with basil cream cheese crust. I have always been a city girl at heart, even when I didn’t live in a city. But I must say this pandemic has been the first time that a country life looked appealing to me. I started growing herbs on my balcony during the shelter-in-place order and Y’all… they’re STILL ALIVE!!!
This might not be a big deal to you but for me, this is a Big Deal. I’ve developed a bit of a reputation as a plant killer and to have living, nay, THRIVING plants in my home is a major turn of events. I’m enjoying them immensely. I’ve given them each names and I worry about them when I’m gone. And I absolutely love being able to walk out onto my deck and pick me off some fresh basil or cilantro for whatever dish I’m cooking. So I can finally say that I get it. Living somewhere that I can get away from the city noise and have a garden bursting with fruits and vegetables, and maybe some peach trees that I can just walk over to and pick one to enjoy. Yeah, I can get behind that.
Don’t get too excited though, I’m still very much attached to the city life. Just those quarantine dreams wandering away from me.
If I did live in the country, however, I would definitely have a peach tree. I can imagine sitting in a porch swing, eating a peach, and listening to the cicadas yell.
As for city summering, I’m happy with a slice of this peach pie with basil cream cheese crust. I had an abundance of fresh basil from my deck garden and had “accidentally” bought a lot of peaches. So here we are and I’m not disappointed. The basil adds a wonderful herbal note, while the cream cheese gives the crust a soft, crumbly texture and tangy flavor.
Tips for making Peach Pie with Basil Cream Cheese Crust
- Choose ripe peaches! Err on the side of too ripe vs under ripe if you’re unsure. Under ripe peaches have to pass through that ripening stage while cooking, which means you will have a longer baking time risking burning the crust or having a too loose texture. This also makes them easier to peel. No need to boil and shock them! A properly ripe peach will peel easily without much loss with only a vegetable peeler.
- You can slice the peaches and mix the dries while waiting for the dough to rest, but do not mix the dries into the peaches until both your bottom crust and lattice or top crust are rolled. Sugar causes the peaches to release their juices, which is good! But if they sit too long it can be difficult to crimp your crust with all that juice spilling over.
- Bake the pie from frozen! This allows the crust to firm up before the juices can soak in, avoiding that soggy bottom. It also helps the crust keep its shape.
To make the plaid crust
- Start by rolling a rough rectangle at least 12 inches long.
- You will need at least 4 extra wide strips, 4 medium strips, and 8 skinny strips. I start with the wide strips and re-roll scrap as needed for the smaller strips. I did about 3 inches for the wide strips, 1 inch for the medium, and 1/2 inch for the small.
- Lay the strips across the pie vertically left to right starting with a wide strip, then small, medium, and another small. Repeat this pattern as needed to reach the other side. Leave about a finger width of space between each strip.
- For the purposes of latticing, each group of 3 smaller strips will be treated as one strip.
- Moving left to right, fold back every other strip to the middle of the pie.
- Add a wide strip horizontally nearest the fold. The strip will cross over the strips left down. Unfold the folded strips over the strip you just placed and fold up the strips that were previously left down. Add a small strip the same way as before.
- Continue with the wide-small-medium-small pattern until you reach the bottom of the pie.
- Fold back the top of the pie to the center and continue the pattern in the opposite direction until you reach the top.
- Roll the overhang over the ends of the lattice strips and crimp closed.
Try this taste of summer and tell me how it goes! And also, take a picture and tag @crumbwhatmay so I can see your creation!
Peach Pie with Basil Cream Cheese Crust
- 9 inch pie pan
- Rolling Pin
- Pastry Cutter or Food Processor
For the Basil Cream Cheese Dough
- 300 grams All Purpose Flour About 1 ½ cups
- ½ teaspoon Sugar
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 100 grams Cold Unsalted Butter About ½ cup
- 100 grams Cold Cream Cheese About ½ cup
- 3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Fresh Basil
- 4-6 Tablespoons Cold Water
For the Filling
- 5-6 Peaches Peeled and Sliced to 1/2 inch thickness
- 1 cup Granulated Sugar
- 3 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar
- ¼ cup Corn Starch
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter Cubed
To Prep Crust for Baking
- 3 Tablespoons Half and Half
- 2 Tablespoons Demerara Sugar Or Sparkling Sugar
For the Basil Cream Cheese Dough
- If using a food processor: measure out flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple times to combine.
- Cube butter and cream cheese and add to food processor along with chopped basil1. Pulse until butter and cream cheese form slightly smaller than pea sized pieces.
- Add 3 tablespoons of cold water and pulse 2 to 3 times. Add more water 1 tablespoon at a time until larger pieces start to form, but dough should not come all the way together. Test dough by squeezing a ball of the mixture in your hand. If it holds together and does not crumble again when touched it is ready.
- If using a pastry cutter: measure out flour, sugar, salt, and chopped basil into a large bowl. Add cubed butter and cream cheese and cut with your cutter until smaller than pea sized pieces form. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing with your hands until dough start to come together, and holds its shape when squeezed.
- Empty the bowl onto a floured surface and form the dough into 2 disks with your hands. The dough will be crumbly but should mostly hold together. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.
For the Peach Filling
- Peel, pit, and slice peaches.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, salt, and corn starch. Add peaches and lemon juice and stir until fruit is coated.
- Butter and Flour a 9 inch pie pan.
- Take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Roll out 1 disk into a 12 inch circle and carefully place inside the pie pan, pressing gently into the edges and sides of the pan. Pour peaches into the crust (and scrape in all the juices!), adjusting so they're even.
- Roll remaining disk into 12 inch circle and cut into lattice strips or use as a top crust for a double crust pie. Re-roll scrap as necessary to get enough strips.
- Weave lattice on top of pie (or cover with top crust) and crimp closed (slit to vent if using top crust). Freeze the pie for 2 hours or overnight2.
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Remove pie from the freezer and brush liberally with half and half and sprinkle with demarara sugar3. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or foil to catch drippings. Do not thaw, it is baked while frozen!
- Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes to 1 hour and 40 minutes, rotating every 20 minutes to ensure even browning. Pie is ready with juices are thick and bubbly or a thermometer inserted into the center reads 212°. Allow to cool completely before slicing.
- Alternatively, you can simply place the whole basil leaves (or roughly torn leaves) into the food processor with the flour and the basil will get chopped with the ingredients. This is much faster but much harder to measure the exact amount as the size of basil leaves can vary. If you're comfortable with the possibility of having a stronger or weaker basil flavor than intended, then this is for you!
- Freezing helps the crust retain its shape while it's baking and also helps avoid a "soggy bottom" as it allows the crust to firm before the filling gets too juicy. You can bake this pie without freezing, however, and it will still be delicious! The advantage is that the baking time will be significantly shorter at around 40-60 minutes. Check it often to avoid burning.
- If you don't have demerara, sparkling sugar, or granulated sugar will do.
- Avoid a long day of baking and plan ahead! The dough can be made up to 2 days ahead wrapped in the refrigerator, or 1 month wrapped in the freezer. The whole pie can be made and kept wrapped in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
- Baking times with all fresh fruit pies can vary dramatically due to the ripeness of the fruit. To avoid the outer crust over-browning you can place a pie shield, or a ring of foil over the crust 30 minutes into baking.
- There will be a lot of juices dripping out. This is normal. Do not panic. Peaches are juicy.