Emily’s “James and the Giant Bourbon Honey Peach Pie” earned her a First Place ribbon in the Tim Burton inspired category at the Third Annual Good Food Pie Contest. Her blog is A Gilt Nutmeg. Keep reading for her story and recipe…
When I saw KCRW & LACMA were holding a pie contest, I was interested. When I saw that there was a category just for pies inspired by Tim Burton, I was hooked. I instantly started churning out ideas and sketching them out on scraps of paper….Jack the Pumpkin King Pumpkin Pie, Sweeney Todd “Meat” Pie, the Queen of Hearts’ Strawberry Tarts….the possibilities were endless! I couldn’t have asked for a more inspiring and creative special category and I was disappointed to find out we could only enter one pie per category. So instead of disguising my cast-off Tim Burton creations to be suitable for other categories (fruit, nut, savory, or cream/chiffon), I decided to focus all my creative and baking energy to making one really great pie: James and the Giant Peach Pie.
Emily Baker’s James and the Giant Bourbon Honey Peach Pie
Pie Crust (enough for 2 crusts, a top and bottom)
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening , cut into 4 pieces
4 tablespoons vodka , cold
4 tablespoons ice water
3 lb ripe peaches
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
heaping 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
heaping 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp bourbon
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 egg whitesugar for sprinkling
Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar together in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses.
Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 10 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade.
Add remaining 1 cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
Place a foil lined baking sheet on the middle rack in your oven and preheat to 425 degrees. This will ensure ,when you put the pie in the oven to bake on the already hot sheet, that the butter and shortening will melt and coat the flour faster, before the peach juices get to the flour. If the butter and shortening melt first, you’ll get a flaky crust. If the peach juices get to the crust first, you’ll get nothing but a soggy crust. If you have been chilling your dough overnight, pull it out now so that it can soften.
You can choose to peel the peaches or not. If you do want to peel them, blanching them will make the process a lot easier. I personally just didn’t want to take the time to peel them and the pie was, obviously, fine.
Slice the peaches into 8 pieces per fruit, tossing them in a bowl as you go.Pour the lemon juice over the peaches slices.
In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Pour the mixture over the peach slices and toss the peaches until evenly coated.Bring 1/2 cup sugar, honey, vanilla, and bourbon and water to a boil in a 1 1/2- to 2-qt heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Boil without stirring, swirling pan occasionally so the mixture darkens in color evenly, until dark amber, about 5 minutes. (Tricked you! You’re basically making vanilla honey caramel here! But we’re not going all the way to caramel, instead we’re just cooking the sugar long enough to deepen the flavors and give it a hint of caramel flavor.)
Remove from heat and add butter, swirling pan until butter is melted. Pour over fruit and toss the peaches until evenly coated.Sprinkle a generous amount of flour on top of the first dough round and roll out 1 piece of dough into a 13-inch round on a generously floured surface. Gently roll the dough around the rolling pin and then unroll it into the pie plate, gently lifting the edges and settling it into the plate (at this point it is suggested that you chill the pie plate and crust while you roll out the other crust but truthfully, I was rushing and forgot and it was fine). Roll out the second pie crust using the same flouring methods.
Spoon (or dump) the peaches into the pie crusted plate and lay the second rolled out crust on top. Trim the overhand so there’s just about a 1/2 inch left. Going around the edge, you’ll seal the juices in best if you fold the edge of the crust underneath itself before crimping or decorating it. Cut a hole about 2″ wide in the center of the top pie crust for steam to vent out.
Brush the crust with the egg white and then sprinkle with sugar. Both will make the crust shiny and delicious!
Bake pie on hot baking sheet 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Continue to bake until crust is golden-brown and filling is bubbling, about 50 minutes more–tent tin foil over the top of the pie if the crust starts to brown too much. Cool pie to room temperature, 3 to 4 hours.