Fog + Wind + Peaches = San Francisco summer. I’ve lived here for four years now and still can’t get used to the fact that July and August are our coldest months. Wind and fog come whipping over the hills and highs are in the low 60s. I even found myself wearing my wool coat and scarf as Christian and I walked a few blocks to dinner the other night. Yet, the warm Central Valley of California is just across the San Francisco Bay and temperatures there easily reach the 90s or 100s. Thanks to that, we still get all the usual summer produce growing just outside the city: peaches, strawberries, heirloom tomatoes, corn, peppers, squash, and more!
Peach pie on its own is definitely summery, yet somehow the addition of ginger and cardamom to this peach pie makes it seem more warming on our cold SF nights.
For the pie dough, I use Martha Stewart’s pate brisee recipe – which hasn’t failed me yet! Just be sure to keep the dough super cold! When that cold butter hits the hot oven, it releases steam rapidly creating a beautiful and flaky crust.
Peach, Ginger, Cardamom Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie.
- 1 prepared recipe of Martha Stewart’s pate brisee, well chilled
- 3.75 – 4 pounds ripe but firm peaches (about 5 – 7)
- 2/3 cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon for sprinkling
- 7 cardamom pods
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons butter, cut into tiny cubes
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water, cream, or milk
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Prepare the pie dough at least 2 hours in advance, preferably about a day ahead. You can mix the dough together, portion it into two disks, wrap them in plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator until you’re ready to roll it out. The most important part is that it has had time to get thoroughly chilled.
Once the dough is well chilled, prepare a surface with a generous dusting of flour. Seriously, use a lot. It’s a nightmare to roll out a beautiful crust only to have it stick to your board and rip and tear as you try and move it. Roll one disk out into a 12 inch circle. Keep your rolling pin well floured too! Once about 12 inches across you can trim any rough edges to a perfect circle. (You may notice my OCD pastry board in my photo which helps me get that perfect 12 inch circle!) Transfer the dough to a 9 inch pie dish. I find the easiest way to do this is to roll the circle of dough around the rolling pin, and then simply unroll it into the pie dish. This helps prevent unwanted stretching or tearing while trying to move the dough. Fold the overhanging edges under and pinch together. Place in the fridge.
Roll out the second disk of dough to the same diameter. I made a lattice crust on my pie, but feel free to do a solid crust. Just make sure to cut slits in the top to allow steam to escape. To create a lattice crust, use a fluted pastry cutter to cut even strips of dough. Place them on a well floured sheet tray, working from the top down and alternating a horizontal strip with a vertical strip – weaving them together as you go along. Once you have the lattice complete, gently press the overlapping ends together so it won’t fall apart when you move it to the pie. (Alternatively, create the lattice on the pie once it’s filled – although you’ll have to re-chill the whole pie after this step rather than putting it straight in the over.) Place the sheet tray with the lattice in the fridge.
Next, make the pie filling. I don’t bother peeling the peaches since I like the skins. Halve the peaches, remove the pits, and cut each half into quarters. Place peaches in a large bowl.
Using a mortar and pestle, grind the cardamom pods briefly to free the tiny black seeds from their outer green shells. Remove the green shells from the mortar and continue to grind the black seeds into a fine powder.
In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch, ground cardamom, and minced ginger. Whisk together to combine. Pour this mixture over the peaches and toss gently to coat. Pour this into your prepared pie dish. Dot with the cubed butter. Transfer the lattice (using the rolling pin technique) to the top of the pie. Gently press the edge of the lattice into the bottom crust to seal. Place the whole pie back into the fridge to chill for a just a few minutes more.
Meanwhile make an egg wash by whisking together the one egg with 1 tablespoon of water (or cream/milk). Brush the egg wash over the top of the pie, and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Transfer pie to a sheet tray and place in the oven. If you have a bottom heating oven, place it on the bottom rack. Bake for about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling. If the crust is browning too quickly, cover the top with foil and continue to bake.
Once done, remove from oven and let cool for 2 hours. While it might take every ounce of self control not to eat it immediately, this cooling period help the juices to set up so the pie isn’t so runny.
Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy!