Every summer, I feel obliged to make a peach pie. My favorite, go-to version has always been this one that my grandmother, Myne, makes. It’s a ludicrously easy recipe that produces swoon-worthy results – and Pillsbury pastry works great! The lattice crust peach pie that Emily helped weave last year was another standout and led to an even more sublime peach cocktail! This year, Em begged me to make hand pies. You know, portable, flaky and filled with ripe, oozy peaches. Yeah, I could do that. Peach Bourbon Brown Sugar Hand Pies.
The only thing was, I had to make the pastry from scratch. And you know how I hate to make pastry. My issues don’t stem from the assembly. Not at all – my Cuisinart does the work for me, thank-you-very-much! It’s the whole, rolling out the dough
that f#%$s me up, um gives me problems! More on that later…
So I whipped up the dough in the food processor and while it was “resting” in the fridge, I made the filling. I wanted something distinctly Southern. I asked Em if she’d mind a little bourbon in her hand pies and typical of a soon-to-be 21-year old, she gave an enthusiastic thumbs up!
When making hand pies, it’s imperative that the dough be shaped and cut evenly — so that it can be folded over to form the “pie pocket.” You can cut the dough into circles and fold to make half moons, or squares to fold into triangles. I used a rectangle shape about 3 1/2″ x 5″ for these pies. And this is where I start to curse. My dough never rolls out evenly and it always seems to stick — even when I use copious amounts of flour. Through trial, error and multiple swear words, I found that working with smaller pieces of pastry was easier for me and I eventually found a rhythm. I used a ruler to mark and space the pockets. A pizza cutter helped me even out the craggly edges.
Then it was just a matter of crimping the edges, brushing the top with cream and sprinkling with sugar.
When the pies had cooled to room temperature, I drizzled on the bourbon glaze and let it set. It took all of my mean-Mama street cred to hold back the hungry family until I could snap a few photos.
It's a bite of summer right in your hand!
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 sticks unsalted butter 1 cup, cut into half inch pieces -- very cold
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening like Crisco, very cold
- 5-8 tablespoons ice water
- 4 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and diced
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons bourbon divided
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup cream
- 1/4 cup demerara or sparkling sugar
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons bourbon or cream -- bourbon adds flavor, cream makes it sweeter - your choice!
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the dry ingredients and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and shortening and pulse in short bursts, 15 to 20 times until the shortening is cut into the flour and is no bigger than small peas. Add 3 tablespoons of ice water and pulse 5-6 times. Add 2 more tablespoons and pulse 2-3 times. Start to check the consistency of the dough, it should hold together when you pinch it between two fingers without being overly crumbly. Add ice water a little at a time, pulsing 2-3 times after each addition until you achieve the consistency of crumbly Play Doh. Transfer the dough into a large bowl and use your hands to form it into a ball. Cut the dough in half, form into two balls and flatten each into a 8" disc. Wrap the discs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
In a medium saucepan combine the peaches, brown sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons bourbon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the arrowroot powder and stir until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of bourbon and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350°
Generously flour a work surface. Cut one of the discs in half lengthwise and return the rest to the refrigerator. Flour a rolling pin and lightly dust the top of the dough with flour. Roll out the pastry so that it's generally in the form of a rectangle and about 1/4" thick. Trim the rough edges and cut the pastry with a pizza cutter into 3 1/2" x 5" even rectangles. Use a ruler to measure them and score with the pizza cutter so you know where to slice. Refrigerate the trimmings so that you can roll out additional rectangles when you've gone through the two discs.
Spoon a generous tablespoon of filling into the center of the dough. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash along the edges of the pastry. Fold the dough over onto itself and seal the edges by pressing a fork along the sides. Transfer the pie to the baking sheet. With a sharp knife, cut a few vents about 1/2" long. Brush the pies with cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes. Rotate the pan 180° and continue to bake for an additional 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Continue with remaining pies.
While pies cool, mix powdered sugar and add bourbon or cream in a small bowl until smooth. Drizzle the pies with the glaze and let dry about 15 minutes. Serve.