55 In Desserts

The Best Peach Pie

The Best Peach Pie | A Couple CooksThe Best Peach Pie | A Couple Cooks  The Best Peach Pie | A Couple Cooks

The Best Peach Pie | A Couple Cooks

The Best Peach Pie | A Couple Cooks

The Best Peach Pie | A Couple Cooks

The Best Peach Pie | A Couple Cooks

The Best Peach Pie | A Couple Cooks

The Best Peach Pie | A Couple Cooks

The Best Peach Pie | A Couple Cooks

The Best Peach Pie | A Couple Cooks

The Best Peach Pie | A Couple Cooks

We’re thrilled to bring you this special family pie recipe from my mom, Kristi. I grew up adoring this dessert, a custardy, creamy pie studded with juicy peaches: my great Aunt’s prize winning recipe. To this day, my family eats it on special summer occasions and savors it to the last bite. Warning: this recipe is neither healthy nor whole, with butter, cream, refined flour, and sugar playing central roles. However, Alex and I abide by a 90% healthy + whole diet, meaning 10% of the time there’s room for treats. And this is definitely one of them. It was a joy to recreate this recipe from my mom’s kitchen and heart. Thank you, Mom, for your words and for sharing the recipe with the world!

This week I pitched the idea to Sonja to be a guest poster on her blog and share one of our favorite family recipes, peach pie. I didn’t think Sonja would go for this concept because the recipe is not altogether healthy or whole (it does have peaches, but also cream and lots of sugar). But I wanted to share something that has become a family tradition in hopes that it might become a family tradition for others.

The recipe was developed by my father’s sister, Ruth, who was a fantastic cook and hostess. Aunt Ruth once won a prize for the pie at her county fair. When I was young, my mother (also a great cook) used to make this pie for my brother and I, and it became my absolute favorite. I would savor each bite and especially liked the contrast of the thick, creamy custard with the salty crust. On a visit home to my mother as an adult, I remember being sick but not too sick to eat some peach pie my mother made. She knew how to draw me home and make me happy!

I began making this pie myself when I got married, and my husband (Sonja’s father) became a quick convert. When we had children, I worked hard to make sure that we all ate healthy foods, but I still made room for peach pie. While I knew it was not the healthiest, I also knew that occasionally you had to have treats. When I would make it, Sonja or her sister Lisa would beg to lick the spoon after I had poured the custard over the peaches, or for pieces of pie dough as I made the pie shell. I loved sharing the experience with my daughters because I knew it was a fun tradition that gave them great pleasure too. And at the table, even though I wanted to instill good table manners in my daughters, just this one time I would allow them to lick their plates clean! And so, peach pie became a family favorite.

Even now when Sonja and Lisa come home for visits as adults, peach pie is on the menu and it still provides much pleasure to everyone who eats it! Thanks, Aunt Ruth, for creating this special treat. And thanks to Sonja and Alex — while I apologize that this recipe does not fit your profile for recipes that are “healthy + whole living”, everyone needs a treat once in a while and this one is worth an occasional deviation from that goal!

I hope you enjoy peach pie as much as our family has!

Sonja’s Mom,
Kristi

PS We still lick our plates!

The Best Peach Pie
 
Good, ripe, and room-temperature peaches are the key to this recipe (or substitute nectarines). Make sure the peaches are ripe and a little soft to the touch, but not too ripe. If you buy them when they are hard, ripen them for a 2 to 3 days in a brown paper bag (throw in a banana for extra power). Five average sized peaches are usually enough for the recipe, but buying one or two extra is good insurance in case a peach goes bad. Another key to great peach pie is refrigerating it after baking to thicken the custard.
by:
Serves: 8
What You Need
  • 9” unbaked pie shell
  • 4 to 6 perfectly ripe peaches
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
What To Do
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Prepare a pie crust in a 9" pie pan.
  3. Prepare a large pot of boiling water. Drop one peach into the pot so that the water fully covers it, and boil for 2 minutes. Remove the peach from the water with a fork, and drop in the next peach. As the second peach boils, use a sharp knife to remove the thin skin of the peach (it should peel off in large sheets with your fingers). Repeat until all peaches are peeled. Cut each peach in half, remove the pit, and then cut it in half again to make quarters. Place the peach pieces into the pie shell.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together 1 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, and a pinch of kosher salt. Pour in 1 cup heavy cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla, and mix well until smooth. Pour the custard over the peaches.
  5. Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 450°F, then turn down the oven to 325°F and bake 30 to 35 minutes longer. (If still runny, bake 5 to 10 minutes more, watching so that it does not burn. Place an old baking sheet or tin foil below the pie pan in case the liquid boils over.) Once finished, remove the pie from the oven and cool on a rack for about 1 hour. Then refrigerate for several hours or overnight to thicken the custard. When ready to serve, cut into pieces and serve ice-cold.
Notes
A family recipe from Great Aunt Ruth + Kristi Kuhnau

 

 

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55 Comments

  • Reply
    Cristina
    July 22, 2014 at 5:27 am

    It looks delicious! What a nice family tradition: thanks for sharing :-) I definitely want to try this recipe now that peaches are at their best.

  • Reply
    P&F
    July 22, 2014 at 6:05 am

    This looks amazing! Love your recipes!
    Cheers,
    P&F
    preppyandfunny.wordpress.com

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    July 22, 2014 at 7:54 am

    Whoa, I can totally see why this is the best! And it doesn’t need to be healthy when it comes to pie – this is where moderation comes in :) What a fabulous recipe!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      July 25, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      Exactly! Thanks so much, Katrina!

  • Reply
    molly yeh
    July 22, 2014 at 10:32 am

    this looks DEEEEELICIOUS!!!!!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      July 25, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      Thanks, friend! :)

  • Reply
    Courtney
    July 22, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Aw, I love this! I think it’s awesome that your family has such a fun tradition, and I hope Clara and I have something like this when she’s older.

    Also, props for those incredible overhead shots. I’ve been wanting a pastry cloth, and now I’m convinced that I need one.

    • Reply
      Sonja
      July 25, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      Aww thanks, Courtney! I’m sure the two of you will have so many special moments in the kitchen together! Pastry cloths are the best — my mom gave me mine and I can’t imagine going without it!

  • Reply
    Katie @ Whole Nourishment
    July 22, 2014 at 11:26 am

    This pie with the custard topping sounds amazing. Family recipes that have been passed down truly are the best. I appreciate your balanced approach to eating and your ability to make room for the occasional childhood treat like this.

    • Reply
      Sonja
      July 25, 2014 at 6:54 pm

      Thank you, Katie! Yes, it would be hard for us to sustain a healthy diet without the occasional treat. Hopefully your nutrition background supports this theory? :)

      • Reply
        Katie @ Whole Nourishment
        July 29, 2014 at 8:26 am

        Ha, it absolutely supports it! In the end it’s about a sustainable lifestyle, not a diet, as you clearly show too. And sustainability to me is all about loving what your body naturally loves and thrives off of and finding the pleasure and balance in moderation.

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    July 22, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    I think we all need some peach pie in our life.

  • Reply
    Thalia @ butter and brioche
    July 23, 2014 at 3:10 am

    now that is a seriously good looking pie, i am SO craving a slice right now. definitely saving this recipe to recreate in my kitchen. looks divine!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      July 25, 2014 at 6:50 pm

      Hope you try it out – it is to die for!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    July 23, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Love the recipe….we usually go for cobllers, first blackberry, then blueberry and finally peach in the summer ..my mother’s recipe for layered coblers’ is decadent…buth I thnk your aunt’s has her’s beat. Can’t wait to try!

  • Reply
    Sini | my blue&white kitchen
    July 25, 2014 at 9:05 am

    What’s not to love when mom’s guest posting?!? Family recipes are always the best and I love when people share theirs. Can’t wait to make one!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      July 25, 2014 at 6:49 pm

      Haha, agreed! It was really fun to collaborate together too :) Thanks so much, Sini!

  • Reply
    cynthia
    July 25, 2014 at 9:40 am

    This was so, so lovely! Family food memories are my favorite kind, and so special that you had your mother share a family recipe with us. It also looks. INSANELY delicious. Thank you so much for this!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      July 25, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      Yes, people always make food so much more memorable – and especially when family tradition is involved! Thanks so much :)

  • Reply
    JessB
    July 25, 2014 at 10:14 am

    Any time a recipe calls for a whole cup of sugar, I generally cut it back to 3/4 cup because it’s too sweet for me. Have you by chance tried less sugar? I don’t usually make custard pies so want to make sure it’ll still set up.

    • Reply
      Alex
      July 25, 2014 at 10:18 am

      Hi! We followed the recipe exactly, so I’m not sure about the effect of reduced sugar. I have a feeling most of the thickness is from the corn starch, so maybe it would be ok…

    • Reply
      Sonja
      August 27, 2014 at 10:34 pm

      Hi Jess! My mom saw this comment and had a few notes about it:

      –I believe a friend tried that once a long time ago and it did not turn out right. I agree that one cup is a lot of sugar though!

      –I have not tried shorting the sugar personally, but would love to hear if someone gets it to work.

      –The only change I have made over the 38 years I have made it is to increase the cornstarch to 3 tablespoons. I have had more consistent results with that amount of corn starch rather than the original 2 tablespoons. Peaches vary a lot in their juiciness and that affects the results too.

  • Reply
    Sabrina - A Spoonful of Photography
    July 25, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    This looks like a pie that deserves the title “the best” for sure! And because peach season is in full swing right now I know exactly what’s sure to come out of the oven soon! Thanks for sharing Kristi! :)

    • Reply
      Sonja
      July 25, 2014 at 6:46 pm

      Wonderful! I’m so glad that she could share her favorite recipe with the world!

  • Reply
    Leah
    July 25, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Loving this twist on peach pie ~ the combination of peaches and custard sounds heavenly!!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      July 25, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      That it is! :) Thank you!!

  • Reply
    Beth
    July 26, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    This looks AMAZING! I just bought a bunch of peaches at the farmer’s market this morning and can’t wait to make this pie with them!

    Question- I bought a lot of blueberries at the market as well. Do you think if I mixed a few of those in, the pie would be just as delicious!?

    • Reply
      Alex
      July 26, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      Hi! Hope you enjoy! I’m not sure if the berries would hurt the custard so I’m not sure I would try. Let us know if you do though!

  • Reply
    Ambar
    July 27, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Love those heart warming recipes that remind you of family!

  • Reply
    Matthew
    July 30, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Wow, that looks so amazing! I will try this for sure.

  • Reply
    Annie
    August 1, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    This looks totally fab. I don’t think I’ve ever had a fruit pie with that custard filling but I have always been so intrigued by them. Time to change that.

    • Reply
      Alex
      August 1, 2014 at 5:28 pm

      Let us know if you try it! Not often we get our hands on a baked-good category before you ;)

  • Reply
    Kara
    August 16, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    The pie just came out of the oven. Can’t wait to try it in a few hours. It smells heavenly already!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      August 17, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      Yum – wish I was there! Hope it was delicious!

  • Reply
    Alyce Stark
    August 18, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    I had a recipe for a peach custard pie many years ago. It called for a double crust. You lined the bottom crust with sliced peaches, top with second crust, cut slits then put the liquid mixture (think my recipe had one whisked egg also and a pinch of cinnamon) through cut slits in the top. It was sooo good!

    • Reply
      Alex
      August 20, 2014 at 9:14 am

      This sounds wonderful!

  • Reply
    Justine Navarro
    August 20, 2014 at 12:41 am

    Amazing pie! I have made it twice already, but am having trouble with the custard. The first time it was VERY runny (possibly my fault, I added some bourbon!), and the second time I followed the recipe exactly and even added a bit of extra cornstarch, but it still left a large puddle of unattractive clear/white goop behind. Is there any trick for avoiding this, or are peaches just too juicy? Do you think tossing the peaches in flour first would help? Thanks for the awesome recipe!

    • Reply
      Alex
      August 20, 2014 at 9:18 am

      Glad you tried the pie! We asked Sonja’s mom, and here are a few tips she has:
      –The biggest variable in the whole pie is the peaches so it might be related to the peaches. The runniness of the custard depends on the ripeness of the peaches. If the peaches are really ripe, they can create a more runny custard.
      –The best way to guard against runniness would be to make sure that the peaches are room temperature before peeling.
      –Letting the custard mixture sit for a few minutes before pouring it onto the peaches can with the runniness.
      –Make sure that the cream is ‘heavy cream’.
      –Make sure that the pie is completely caught cold before eating it.

      Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Sonja Phipps
    August 22, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    Looks heavenly!

  • Reply
    Olivia
    September 3, 2014 at 11:01 am

    I made this last night , followed it correctly but when I went to cut it this morning it was extremely runny. I let it sit before I poured the mixture over the peaches. And I cooked it for the exact times. What could have gone wrong?? I was so excited to eat this!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      September 3, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      Hi Olivia! I am so sorry to hear this. I contacted my mother for some tips – here is what she said: “I sometimes get a runny result as well. It is variable depending on the ripeness of the peaches and whether they are cold or warm when they go in the oven. Sometimes I do bake the pie just a little longer when I notice it is still runny. So you could try that the next time as long as it is not burning, you could bake it a little bit longer. Try 5 minute increments longer and see if it maybe is hardening up.” Is this helpful? I know you’ve already made the pie (and probably eaten it)! Let me know and I can try to get more input as well too!

  • Reply
    Beth
    September 3, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    I love the idea of knuckle-making pie crust crimps!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    September 16, 2014 at 7:14 am

    Have you ever made this with frozen peaches? Would love to freeze some peaches now at their peak and make this again at Thanksgiving…

  • Reply
    Ali
    January 5, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Mmm now I can’t wait for peach season! Looks great.

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    July 18, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Can’t wait to try this out. We moved to Georgia a year ago, and I never knew peaches could be so good! Love your recipes, and your photography is beautiful as well. :)

  • Reply
    Jenna
    August 2, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    I just made this pie yesterday and while the flavors were delicious, I agree with the other people that have actually made this pie. This custard never set as long as I tried to put it in the refrigerator. It was so pretty but when I went in to cut pieces, it was a runny mess. I followed the recipe exactly and I had the same results as the others. Don’t know why. My peaches were all fresh but not refrigerated either.

    • Reply
      Sonja
      August 2, 2015 at 5:45 pm

      Jenna, I am so sorry to hear this! I asked my mom for some advice, and here is what she said: “You could try to bake it longer. I usually add about 10 minutes to the second bake time if it seems runny. You could also try peach halves and see if that makes less juice as the original recipe used halves. Tell her to not give up trying! And you can keep baking it longer as long as it doesn’t burn.” So sorry it didn’t work out the first time! I hope that you are able to try a second time if you’re willing to give it a go. I know it’s a lot of energy to invest in something when it doesn’t work out! We appreciate this feedback.

    • Reply
      Sonja
      August 2, 2015 at 5:47 pm

      Also, I added another clarification to the recipe. Thanks again for the feedback!

      • Reply
        Sonja
        August 9, 2015 at 7:58 pm

        Jenna, I spoke to my mom this weekend and she also mentioned that the peaches could have been overripe. Make sure to use peaches that are ripe but not overly juicy!

  • Reply
    laci
    August 9, 2015 at 8:12 am

    i made this pie yesterday, and taste tested it just now (7AM on sunday morning – hello, breakfast!). it turned out great!

    i, however, did poorly at following the instructions: reduced the sugar down to 1/2 cup (1/4 light brown, 1/4 granulated), added a tablespoon of bourbon, and most importantly, just cooked the heck out of it. my custard wasn’t even close to set at the end of the 35 minutes at 325, and i bet i cooked it, ten minutes at a time, for an additional 40 minutes or so. once the custard started bubbling all over, i pulled it out of the oven, let it set for an hour, and stuck it in the fridge overnight.

    my baby taster slice this morning was perfect. solid enough to cut into clean slices, but still delivering a nice, creamy custard. so yum!

  • Reply
    Gina
    August 12, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    I made this pie last fall, and again this week. First time around I went through the instructions precisely, and it was a bit liquidy. This time around, I made some adjustments and think it came out pretty perfectly:
    – I used 4Tbsp cornstarch instead of 3
    – I used a completely frozen (but still homemade) pie dough – this seemed to help keep the crust from getting burnt while the pie needed a little more time in the oven
    – I added 5 min to the 450 baking and 10 min to the 325 baking – it came out of the oven and even cooled with a bit of liquidity, but set in the fridge completely overnight

    Also, not sure which part of my modifications helped, but this time around I didn’t have any trouble with it bubbling over.

    My fellow pie-eaters raved, and this is now my go-to pie to make anyone my new best friend :)

  • Reply
    CreamCili
    August 25, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    I love peaches and have just ventured into tarts. A recipe to test out.
    Amazing pictures! :)

  • Reply
    Dorothy
    July 4, 2016 at 8:37 am

    More than 30 years ago a friend gave me this recipe. The first time I made it it was perfect. Each time since it has been runny but still delicious. I will try again with room temperature peaches and some extra cornstarch after reading your hints. Fingers crossed for a perfect pie once more.

  • Reply
    Erika
    July 16, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Okay, I told you on Instagram that this is the week I would finally make the pie. And I did it! Now I’m upset with myself for waiting so long to do it. I’m generally against cooking fruit. Especially fruits like peaches that are only around for such a short time, I just can’t stand to change something that’s already perfect by adding sugar and heat. But I felt that this pie honored the peaches. I loved keeping the peaches in the big quarters and thought the cool creamy custard was incredible. Thank you for sharing! This will definitely be a new tradition for my summers!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      July 16, 2016 at 6:47 pm

      This is so exciting! What a lovely review, and I will definitely share with my mother. We are so happy to have shared this tradition and that you love it as much as we do! Thanks for letting us know :)

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