Sour Cream Peach Pie

Diced fresh peaches nestle in a golden butter crust and are enveloped by a rich, rum-scented sour cream custard; a gingered streusel topping completes this delicious pie. Use your favorite single-crust piecrust recipe, fitted in a 9-inch pan; we like the one that follows. Feel free to use all butter (rather than a butter-shortening mixture) if you prefer, but using some vegetable shortening helps make a flakier crust that’s also a little easier to handle. All-butter crusts tend to have a mealy rather than flaky texture.

CRUST:
1 1/2 cups (6 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Mellow Pastry Blend or Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon (1/8 ounce) buttermilk powder (optional; it’ll make the crust more tender)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup (2 ounces, 1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon white or cider vinegar
3 to 5 tablespoons cold water

PEACH & CUSTARD FILLING:
1 cup (7 1/4 ounces) sugar
1/4 cup (1 ounce) King Arthur Mellow Pastry Blend or Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream or heavy cream
1 tablespoon rum OR 2 drops (a scant 1/8 teaspoon) butter-rum flavor*
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 to 5 ripe peaches (about 1 pound), peeled and diced coarsely (3/4-inch cubes are about right)

*The butter-rum flavor we sell is an extra-strong professional type; if you use a supermarket-type flavor that seems to be about the strength of vanilla, use 1 teaspoon.

The Crust:
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, buttermilk powder (if you’re using it), salt and baking powder. Using a pastry fork, pastry blender, your fingers or a mixer, cut in the butter and vegetable shortening, leaving some baby pea-sized lumps.

Mix the vinegar with 3 tablespoons of the water. Sprinkle this mixture over the flour and fat. Squeeze the dough together; if it’s not cohesive, add an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons water (just enough to make the dough stick together). Shape the dough into a flattened disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for 30 minutes or longer.

Remove the dough from the fridge. If it’s been refrigerated longer than 30 minutes, allow it to rest for 10 to 15 minutes, till it’s pliable. Roll it out to about 14 inches in diameter; it’ll be about 1/8-inch thick. Carefully transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie pan (a giant spatula works well here), fold the edges under, and crimp. You want to form a high edge to hold the streusel and filling, so do a “stand-up” crimp rather than one you simply flatten with the tines of a fork.

Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork or dough docker, and line it with pie weights (or a perforated nesting pie pan) to help the shell holds its shape. Bake the crust in a preheated 425°F oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until it’s lightly browned; this is called “blind baking.” Remove the crust from the oven, and reduce the oven heat to 400°F. Allow the crust to cool slightly before removing the weights or nested pan. If the crust still managed to bubble, just prick it gently with a fork; it’ll deflate as it cools.

The Filling:
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour and salt. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk together well. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, or the time it takes to peel and dice the peaches. Whisk again just before pouring the custard into the pie shell. (This resting time allows the sugar to dissolve.)

Pour the custard into the pre-baked pie shell, and spoon the peaches on top. Some will sink; that’s OK, they’re supposed to. Use a piecrust shield or aluminum foil to gently cover the outer edge of the crust. Bake the pie in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes. Make the topping while the pie bakes.

GINGERED STREUSEL TOPPING

1/4 to 1/3 cup crystallized ginger, finely minced (optional, but delicious)
3/4 cup (3 ounces) confectioners’ or glazing sugar
1/2 cup (2 ounces) King Arthur Mellow Pastry Blend or Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup (2 ounces) butter, melted

If you have a food processor, just place all the topping ingredients into the work bowl and process, using the steel blade, until crumbs begin to form. To make by hand, whisk together the minced crystallized ginger, sugar, and flour, then stir in the melted butter. After the pie has baked for 20 minutes (it will have just begun to set up around the edges), carefully sprinkle the streusel over the top, leaving the pie crust shield in place. Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pie has puffed, the streusel is very slightly browned at the edges, and/or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the pie reads about 160°F. Remove the pie from the oven, and cool it on a rack for about 2 hours before serving. Refrigerate any leftover pie.

Yield: about 8 to 12 servings.

Source of recipe: King Arthur Flour