Come clean with a child heart.
Laugh as peaches in the summer wind.
Let rain on a house roof be a song.
Let the writing on your face
be a smell of apple orchards in late June.
(from “Lessons,” by Carl Sandburg)
These days, though growing shorter, are hottest we’ve had all summer. The heat and humidity have definitely led to a reduction of my running mileage the past couple of weeks. I’m keeping my streak going, of course (currently, after my run this evening, on day 957), but my long runs have turned into medium runs, my fifty mile weeks have dropped to thirty-five to forty mile weeks, and my day runs have turned into night runs (so I can take advantage of that sweet spot where the temperature is dropping before the humidity rises again). This rather hostile-seeming weather has me eager for the more friendly weather the change of seasons will bring. In the kitchen I’m already in autumn mode, having restocked my chestnut flour supply, made chicken pot pie twice for dinner in the past month, and served butternut squash as a side dish once. As a final hurrah to summer, however, I’ve been baking peach pies. Keeping a steady supply of pies in the house is probably not a good thing, considering my reduced running mileage, but peach pie does scream summer. If anything makes the South Texas summer season seem more agreeable, it’s peach pie. Baking peach pie also gives me another way to use piloncillo caramel sauce, and ingredient which makes everything delicious even that more delectable.
Admittedly, nothing beats a fresh peach for pure peach enjoyment. For peach pies, however, I prefer to use three pounds of frozen peaches. Peeling enough peaches to make a decent pie takes too much time and requires too many fresh peaches. Choosing to use frozen fruit when the fruit one is using is in season may seem scandalous, but using frozen peaches makes baking the pie so much easier. I just let the peaches thaw, then cut the peach slices into smaller pieces before I mix in the sugar, spice, and tapioca flour (for thickening).
The beauty of gluten-free baking is that some gluten-free flours have distinct flavors that, when used thoughtfully, will enhance the flavor of the dish in which it’s used, rather than just act as a carrier (the role transparent gluten-free and wheat flours play in dishes). The trick is to use just enough for the flavorful flour to add to the over all flavor profile you wish to achieve in the dish, but not so much that the flour’s flavor overwhelms the other flavors. Replacing about a third of a transparent flour such as rice or millet flours with a flavorful flour such as chestnut, mesquite, or amaranth usually provides just the right balance of flavor between the flour and the rest of the ingredients in the dish. The variety of gluten-free flours widely available now allows for great creativity in the kitchen. Warm spicy, cinnamon-y mocha flavored mesquite flour, slightly sweet, nutty flavored amaranth flour, and slightly sweet, smoky flavored chestnut flour are excellent complements for dishes that contain peaches. Depending upon the spices or other flavors I’m mixing into the peaches, I use one of these flours as the flavor flour in crusts I make for peach pies. When I make a caramel peach pie, I like to use amaranth flour or mesquite flour in the crust; the flavors of these flours complement the flavors of peaches and caramel.
Note: This pie crust recipe makes enough pie dough for a double crust 9 inch pie. I use both tapioca flour and arrowroot flour (starches) because these two flours function differently in the crust but work together well. Tapioca flour becomes more gluey during baking, while arrowroot flour becomes more stretchy during baking, so they work together to replace the structure and hold missing in gluten-free baked products. You can use just tapioca flour or just arrowroot flour, but I think the combination of the two works best.
Now hurry up and bake a peach pie! Pumpkin season is finally in sight!!!
- 100 grams amaranth flour
- 100 grams superfine brown rice flour
- 50 grams arrowroot flour
- 50 grams tapioca flour
- three tablespoons powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon
- 11 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
- 3 eggs, divided
- Milk, as needed
- 3 lbs frozen peach slices, thawed and cut in half or in thirds
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup tapioca flour
- 1 tablespoon Ceylon cinnamon
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons caramel sauce (see blog post for recipe)
- 2 tablespoons of butter, cut into small pieces
- Mix together the flours, powdered sugar, and salt. Add the chilled butter. Using a pastry cutter, your fingers, or a food processor, rub the butter into the flour mixture until its well dispersed throughout the flour mixture until it resembles the texture of corn meal with some larger pieces of butter still visible. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. The dough may be a little sticky after the second egg, but you can add tapioca flour to it as you roll it out. If the dough is too dry after the second egg, add milk, one teaspoon at a time, as necessary to make the dough the right consistency. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for at least thirty minutes to allow the moisture to permeate the dough and the butter in the dough to firm up.
- Add the sugar, tapioca flour, and cinnamon to the thawed, cut peach slices. Mix well.
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Remove the pie dough from the refrigerator. Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for about ten minutes. Divide the dough into two pieces, with one piece a little larger than half the disk. Wrap the smaller piece in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. Form a disk with the larger piece of dough. Sprinkle both sides of the dough with tapioca flour, place between two pieces of wax paper, and roll out until the dough is about ¼ - ½ inch larger than the circumference of your pie plate. Remove the top piece of wax paper from the dough. Center the dough over the 9 inch pie plate and ease it into the plate while carefully removing it from the second piece of wax paper. Press the pie crust evenly into the pie plate. Beat the remaining egg in a small dish. Using a pastry brush, brush the bottom and sides of the pie crust with the beaten egg. Spread ½ cup of caramel sauce over the bottom of the pie crust. Pour the peach filling into the pie crust, over the caramel sauce. Drizzle the two tablespoons of caramel over the peach filling, then dot the filling with the two tablespoons of butter pieces. Roll out the remaining piece of dough, repeating the process you followed to roll out the bottom piece of dough. Place the rolled out dough over the pie, pinching the top and bottom edges of the crust together and sealing well to prevent the pie filling from leaking out. Crimp and decorate the pie crust as desired. Add 1 teaspoon of milk to the beaten egg with with you brushed the inside of the bottom crust. Using a pastry brush, brush the top and edges of the crust with the milk / egg wash. Cut slits or another type of opening into the top of the pie to allow steam to escape while the pie bakes. Bake the pie at 375F until the crust is evenly browned, covering the edge of the pie after the first 15 or 20 minutes of baking to prevent it for over-browning. Remove from oven and cool completely before serving, to allow the filling to set up. Enjoy!