If all goes as planned, this weekend I’ll be sitting on a blanket at a secluded beach indulging in a generous slice of caramel peach pie with scoops of soft melty ice cream.
Last fall I made a new friend at a Canadian-esque coffee shop in London. One of those enviable outgoing people with a lovable personality and charm to easily make friends with almost everyone. We ended up wandering the hip streets of Shoreditch together with our coffees in hand, chatting about everything from National Trust memberships to the Korean “7 Skin Method”. As an aside, now I pat my face every morning with an elixir made of naturally fermented organic floral extracts – I can’t tell if it’s working, but I love how it smells.
We talked about the summer that had just passed, how it was so-so and our desires for memorable summer adventures. So we made a pact. This summer, she, with her National Trust membership, will explore as many sights as possible, and I am going to do more getaways to the beautiful islands here in BC and Washington State.
Alas, summer is underway here and I’m getting ready for my first little getaway, and planning a picnic to go with it. We made salsa last night, and there’s pie crust in the freezer. I hope there are local peaches at the market this evening, because this caramel peach pie would be an awesome thing to bring on our getaway.
Slices of juicy peaches are tossed with custard powder (or cornstarch), caramel sauce, lemon juice and sugar and a hint of warm spices, then baked in a simple pie dough until the fruit bubbles and breaks down and the sugar-sprinkled crust browns and turns flaky. The result is a firm aromatic pie that is luscious and creamy and bright and tastes like summer.
The secret to capturing that intense peach flavour is not to peel the peaches. Trust me! It dissolves into the filling and adds the peachiest flavour to the pie. My thickener of choice here is Bird’s Custard Powder – (this isn’t a sponsored post) I get firmer well-set pies whenever I use it, but plain cornstarch, arrowroot starch or tapioca will yield great results as well.
I should also mention that you can adapt this recipe by using whatever fruit you want or is in season adjusting the sweetener sand thickener accordingly. And of course, store-bought pie crust and caramel sauce is totally fine (and saves time!)
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 6 tablespoons (3oz) non-hydrogenated plant-based butter, cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk, at room temperature
- Pinch of flakey sea salt
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or GF flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 1/2 tablespoons natural cane sugar, plus more for sprinkling on pie
- 8oz (1 cup) solidified coconut oil, cut into chunks
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup ice cold water
- 2 lbs ripe peaches, pitted and sliced
- 1 tablespoon juice of lemon
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons custard powder (like Bird’s) or cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup caramel sauce (or more as desired)
- Have all your ingredients ready and measured before you start – you’ll also need a wooden spoon and whisk
- Using a heavy-bottomed medium deep saucepan, stir sugar and water together with wooden spoon over medium heat until sugar dissolves
- Stop stirring as soon as the sugar starts boiling, you can use the pan to swirl the sugar around until all the sugar has dissolved
- Let sugar cook until amber in colour, then add butter immediately and whisk until butter has melted
- Take the mixture off the heat, slowly and carefully, pour in the coconut milk and salt, keep whisking until the sauce is smooth
- Combine flour, salt, cardamom, cinnamon and sugar in a food processor and pulse to mix
- Add coconut oil and process until mixture looks like a course meal
- Add apple cider vinegar and starting with 1/4 cup of water, slowly pour the water through feed tube while the processor runs, until the dough comes together when pinched, add more water if necessary.
- Alternatively, you can mix ingredients by hand – once dough has a crumbly texture, add apple cider vinegar and water by the spoonful, kneading until dough forms
- Gather dough into a ball on a work surface and divide into two, flattening each half into a disk
- Wrap in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or as long as 24 hours, until you’re ready to use
- Toss sliced peaches with lemon juice, vanilla and sugar in a large bowl
- Add custard powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and mix until pears are evenly coated
- Add caramel sauce and toss gently to coat
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and remove dough from the fridge
- On a flour-dusted surface, roll dough (using a rolling pin) into a thin large circle, large enough to cover a medium (8 – 9-inch pan) pie pan with a bit of an overhang
- Gently lift the dough and line it with the pie pan
- Pour filling into pie shell, spreading the mixture evenly
- Remove dough from the fridge and let it rest for 5 – 10 minutes (for coconut oil to soften)
- Place one disk of dough on lightly-floured work surface and roll dough into a 10 – 12 inch circle or large enough to cover a medium (8 – 9-inch) pie pan with a bit of an overhang
- Transfer rolled dough in to a medium pie pan, cover top with a plastic wrap and put it back in the fridge
- Meanwhile, roll second dough into another 10 – 12 inch circle or large enough to cover the pie pan
- Remove the prepared pie shell from the fridge and pour the peach filling into it
- Gently place the top crust dough over open pie, trim off the excess dough, press the edges to seal and crimp with a fork or your hand
- Make a slit (or 4 small slits) in the middle of the crust for steam to escape, and sprinkle sugar over the top of the crust
- Refrigerate pie for another 20 – 30 minutes
- Bake pie in oven at 350 degrees F. for 50 – 60 minutes, or until pie is cooked through and crust is golden brown
- Cool pie on a wire rack before serving with your favourite ice cream or coconut whip