Thursday, August 1, 2013

Colorado Beauties: Summer Peach Pie with Vanilla & Cardamom

Summer Peach Pie - Oh my.
I started to write this post almost exactly a year ago.  A colleague of Matt's from London happens to own a house in the amazingly beautiful mountains of Western Colorado - in  Telluride to be exact - and he invited us for a weekend trip at the last minute.  Despite the long drive (6-7 hours), and the fact that we hadn't even finished unpacking our house completely, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to see friends again and to also explore the other side of this beautiful Rocky Mountain state we had just moved to a month before.

I racked my brain for what I could bring with us as a gift to the hosts.  My eyes and hands had been wandering to the piles of Colorado peaches available at this time of year in the grocery stores, and so when I found a recipe for summer peach pie out of Bon Appetit - something I'd never tried - I was sold on the idea.  Luckily, I happened to also know that these particular friends of ours are as big of fans of dessert and pies as we are.  The recipe I found included cardamom which I felt was a nice shout-out to the Middle Eastern experiences we had all shared while Matt and co. worked at a Bahrain-based bank in London.  Perfect.

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View for the weekend.

The drive through Colorado was a sort of unexpected initiation into life in "the west": plains, mountains, forests, rivers and streams.  We saw much of the best of what Colorado has to offer in terms of scenery and ambiance, and felt ourselves thinking - hoping - that maybe, just maybe, this really could be our forever home.  Not just out of convenience and circumstance, but because we could see ourselves truly falling in love with it.

We wound our way up mountain roads, following the slightly-less-than-precise directions ("take a left at the third cattle crossing and then drive for a mile until you see the small wind turbine...") and getting lost in beautiful, verdent and whispery Aspen groves.  We passed an abandoned ranch where John Wayne's True Grit was filmed back in the day, listening to John Denver and snapping pictures of all the seemingly untouched, natural beauty.

The peach pie was a hit; and it turns out our friend is particularly fond of both peach pie and cardamom (which was quite a good thing, the latter being, admittedly, quite an acquired taste for Americans). 

Here's the recipe.  Take advantage of those August peaches.  They are a fleeting pleasure, but the sweetness does stay with you the rest of the year - much like that trip last summer has stayed with us.

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From Bon Appetit; found at
Serves 6-8

Colorado Peaches


2/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
1/3-1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 3/4 pounds firm but ripe unpeeled peaches, halved, pitted, each half cut into 4 slices (about 10 cups)
2 Best-Ever Pie Crust dough disks
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Whipping cream (for glaze)
Vanilla ice cream (optional; to serve with it)


Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 400°F. 

Combine 2/3 cup sugar and vanilla bean in processor; blend until vanilla bean is very finely minced. Sift vanilla sugar through strainer into large bowl; discard any large bits in strainer. Mix flour and cardamom into vanilla sugar. Add peaches to flour-sugar mixture and toss gently to coat.

Roll out 1 pie crust disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Trim dough overhang to 1/2 inch. Spoon peach mixture into crust; dot with butter. Roll out second pie crust disk on lightly floured surface to 12-inch round. Drape dough over peach filling; trim overhang to 1 1/2 inches. Fold top and bottom edges under, pressing together to seal. Crimp edges decoratively. Using small sharp knife, cut 2-inch-long X in center of top crust to allow steam to escape. Brush crust lightly with whipping cream; sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons sugar.

Place pie on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until crust is golden, peaches are tender, and juices bubble thickly through cut in top crust, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Transfer pie to rack and cool until lukewarm, about 2 hours.

Serve pie warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.

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1 comment:

  1. Happy memories and a wonderful receipe. I remember yummy cookies too! x