Dried Peach Pie, so the Story Goes

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dried peach pie

Thanksgiving is pie season. We all know that. But it’s not typically considered peach pie season. We make peach pies when the summer sun brings us fresh peaches. Does that mean no peach pies this time of year? It doesn’t have to. Have you considered a dried peach pie?

Dried peaches are something I buy year-round. So it’s stands to reason that I could make a dried peach pie anytime I like, year-round.

One of the reasons I have dried peaches around the house so much is because I like dried fruit. It’s a quick, healthy snack. But dried fruit isn’t always as healthy as you might think. As with all things, you have to look at the label before you buy. A lot of dried fruit is made with additional processed sugar added. This is probably done to make those addictive little dried cranberries a bit more palatable. In the end, sure they taste good. But at what price? I’ve noticed that dried peaches rarely (if ever) have additional processed sugar. Which is a good thing. They taste just as good as many of the sugar added dried fruits, but they’re made sweet solely from the naturally occurring fructose or glucose. These unrefined sugars are much better for you than the processed sugar that turn some types of dried fruit into clandestinely packaged candy. So whenever I’m in doubt (or in a hurry) I tend to grab dried peaches over dried cranberries, dried apricots or dried apples. Which is how this dried peach pie came to be.

Dried Peach Pie

The story starts with the LA Times. They ran a recipe for Apple Custard Crumb Pie from Nicole Rucker, a local Los Angeles pastry chef. It sounded delightful. I liked the unexpected twist of using dried fruit in a fruit pie. As I said, I like dried fruit. I like the amplified fruitiness and I like the chewy nature. So, I looked over Nicole’s ingredient list. The only unusual ingredient was digestive biscuits. I had homemade shortbread cookies (going a bit stale) so I used those. The rest of the ingredient list was quite basic– things you’d find in my pantry everyday. Except for dried apples. For the reasons I mentioned above I’m far more likely to have dried peaches around the house than dried apples… so the story goes. GREG

dried peach pie

Dried Peach Pie with Crumbled Cookie Crust

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 8-10Source Adapted from the LA Times apple version by Nicole RuckerPublished
peach pie

Ingredients

  • 7 ounce shortbread cookies (broken up)
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon, granulated sugar (divided)
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt (plus a pinch for the filling)
  • ¼ cup melted butter (plus more for pan)
  • 16 ounce dried peach slices
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardomom
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (divided)
  • ½ cup water
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 2 cup whole milk
  • powdered sugar (as needed for sprinkling)

Directions

Prepare the crust: In the bowl of a food processor set with the meta blade, pulse the cookies, ¼ cup sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt until sandy in texture, then add the melted butter and pulse a few more times to combine. Turn out the mixture into a buttered 9½-inch deep-dish pie plate, pressing evenly onto the sides and bottom to form a crust with uniform thickness. Freeze the crust and, just before filling and baking, run a pairing knife around the top edge to trim the cookie crust cleanly.

Prepare the peaches: In a large sauté pan, combine the dried peach slices with 1 tablespoon sugar, cardamom, ½ teaspoon vanilla and water. Gently simmer until the apples have absorbed the water and are plumped. Remove the peaches from the pan and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the custard filling: In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, flour and a pinch of salt. Add the eggs, milk and remaining ½ teaspoon vanilla, and whisk until incorporated. Whisk in the milk until completely combined. Set aside.

Prepare the pie: Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

If there is any excess liquid with the peaches, discard the liquid, and arrange or scatter the peaches in the bottom of the prepared frozen crust. Pour the custard filling over the peaches, leaving one-eighth inch of crust at the top. Do not overfill, save any additional custard filling for another use.

Place the pie on the bottom rack of the oven and bake until the custard starts to brown on top and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour, (depending on the type of pie dish). The finished pie will still jiggle slightly when remove from the oven but will set as it cools.

Cool the pie on a rack, then sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm.