… A Fusion of Flavors!
Peaches are coming into season right now and are offering sweet, tender, juicy, fresh flavors. That’s why I couldn’t resist when I saw a perfectly ripe batch at my local market last week. I bought seven. I never do that! But they were calling my name … so I caved. Boy am I glad I did. Three of them disappeared the first day. I hid the remaining four for my pie.
Some people ask me why I take a perfectly good apple pie recipe and then pollute it with other fruit … my dad was one of these folks. Sorry, Dad! The truth is, I think apple pie makes a really delicious platform while allowing other fruits and flavors to shine through. So I tinker. If you are one of these non-tinkering, leave-well-enough-alone types, then you can easily make my apple pie recipe and simply leave out the other fruit. You may want to cut back about a quarter’s worth on the other filling ingredients, but the pie will turn out deliciously. If, however, you like tried-and-true (knowing the recipe will put out trusted results) recipes, but like to explore new flavor combinations sometimes, then join me in this new pie recipe adventure … basic gluten-free, dairy-free apple pie … with a sweet peach embellishment.
Okay, I’ve also added another embellishment … a splash of amaretto. I LOVE the combination of apples, peaches, and amaretto. The bold and harsh alcohol flavor cooks off in the first (stovetop) step, and leaves a smoothness to the peaches and apples that I’ve not been able to achieve otherwise. The amaretto is purely optional, so know that delicious results can still be achieved if you choose to omit it or substitute half to one teaspoon almond extract in place of the amaretto.
For my basic apple pie recipe, I always use a combination of at least two varieties of apples (three is even better), as I think this gives the pie a better flavor and texture. If you’re accustomed to using just one type of apple, I encourage you to try an apple combo next time – it makes a wonderful difference. I also like to cook my apples on the stove top for a bit before adding them to my crust and baking them. I find it easier to judge the consistency of the filling, since you can see how much liquid the apples are releasing as they cook. It makes an easier process of determining the amount of flour, corn starch, or arrowroot powder (whatever you like to use as a thickener) needed to prevent a runny pie filling.
Another reason I like to cook my apples? Gently cooked apples don’t shrink down as much during the baking process. Apples that are not precooked can leave the baked crust high above the settled pie filling, causing a large air pocket that collapses when you cut into the pie. The pie still tastes fine, but the presentation isn’t as captivating – and we do eat with our eyes first, after all.
Just before baking, brush the top crust with an egg wash (whisked egg and water), then sprinkle a mixture of raw sugar and granulated sugar, for a shiny, golden brown finished crust. Your pie eaters will say, “Ooh, aah!”
Rustic Apple Peach Pie
Stovetop cooking time: 15 minutes
Baking time/temp: 15 minutes at 425ºF, then 30 minutes at 375ºF
Rest time: about 2 hours
Ingredients for pie crust:
This recipe will make 1 9” gluten-free pie crust. Make two, but prepare them individually. Don’t double the recipe.
1 1/2 cups gluten-free, all-purpose flour – I use Authentic Foods Bette’s Gourmet Four Flour Blend
8 Tablespoons dairy-free margarine, Frozen
1/8 teaspoon salt
3-4 Tablespoons ice water
Ingredients for filling:
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, seeded, and cut into slices
3 Gala apples, peeled, seeded, and cut into slices
1 Tablespoon freshly squeeze lemon juice
1/3 cup dairy-free margarine – I use Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread – soy free
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 Tablespoon amaretto, optional – I use Disaronno
2 Tablespoons arrowroot powder, adjust as needed
2 teaspoons water
4 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into slices
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon raw sugar – I use Turbinado, optional
1 teaspoon granulated sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 425ºF. Set aside a deep-dish pie plate.
Toss together apples and lemon juice in a large bowl to coat apples well.
Melt 1/3 cup margarine in a large skillet over low heat. Add apples, brown sugar, and nutmeg. When sugar is thoroughly melted, remove pan from stovetop and add amaretto. Alcohol can flame if poured over an open fire. Use Caution. Return pan to heat and simmer about 10 minutes.
Stir arrowroot powder and water together. Stir mixture into apple filling. Add peaches and simmer 5 more minutes until thickened. You should be able to coat the back of a spoon with the filling, then run a finger through it and leave a void. If the filling is too thick, add just a teaspoon of water at a time to reach desired consistency. If filling is too thin, stir together 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder and 1 teaspoon of water, then add just a teaspoon at a time to the filling and continue to simmer to desired consistency. Remove from heat and let stand while preparing crust.
Combine flour and margarine in a food processor, and pulse until pea size clumps form. Add ice water. Pulse quickly to mix until dough ball forms. Don’t over process. Remove dough to well floured wax paper surface. Cover with another sheet of wax paper. Roll dough out gently to fit a 9” pie plate. Remove top sheet of wax paper and quickly transfer crust dough to pie plate by inverting crust on wax paper over pie plate. Crust will remove easily, but will be fragile. Fix crust, patching any cracks or holes.
Bake bottom crust for 5 minutes at 425ºF. Rest on a cooling rack. Repeat process for top crust then leave on wax sheet while filling pie crust with filling. Invert top crust on wax paper over pie filling. The pie will be bumpy and crust will not lay flat – hence, the word rustic in the title. This is a “free form” kind of look. Trim edges with a knife, then crimp along edge to seal top crust to bottom crust. Cut tiny slits into center and in four to five places around the edge of top crust as vent holes.
Combine egg and water and whisk briefly. With a pastry brush, paint a thin coating over the top crust making sure not to get too wet. Dust with sugar, if desired.
Bake at 425ºF for 15 minutes, then reduce oven heat to 375ºF and bake until crust is golden brown, about 30 minutes. If your pie filling begins to bubble over, place a sheet of foil on the oven rack one level below your pie. This will keep the drippings from falling to the bottom of the oven and burning, but will still allow air to flow evenly around the pie plate. When pie crust is nicely browned and fully cooked, transfer pie (still in pie plate) to cooling rack. Let rest at least one hour before serving. The longer is rests, the better the filling will set.
Safe food is a journey … Thrive!™
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