I’ll be honest, I hardly ever make pies.
I once braved it and made this anise pear pie last year, that turned out phenomenally after 4+ hours of work, but I typically stick to the “no fuss” cookies, cupcakes, and cobblers. Flipping through cookbooks of pies, seeing the gorgeous photographs and seemingly simplistic recipe list, it looks so easy. They look so perfectly polished. They don’t look like someone has spend 4-6 hours on it. No biggie.
Out of devotion to this lovely vegan baker and recipe maker, I, of course, recently purchased Vegan Pie In The Sky book by Isa Moskowitz. I’ve utilized nearly every cupcake recipe out of VCTOTW, made several batches of cowboy cookies, so pie? No big deal. It can be done.
This particular recipe caught my eye at first glance. Basil? With peaches? Heck yes. With flats of gorgeously sun kissed peaches at Trader Joe’s for five bucks, I figured it was now or never (or, next summer I suppose but you know…).
I made only one alteration to the crust recipe by substituting one cup of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour. The end results were delicious, but proved for a more labor intensive crust preparation. I’m not sure if I would recommend it, but nothing’s stopping you. Seriously, I spent at least four hours on this thing. At least a half hour or so preparing the crust the day before, and around 3-4 the next day chilling the crust again several times after rolling it out and making the designs and decorations. If I were hard pressed to sell it, it’s at least a $50 pie. But I’m not complaining. The perfect marriage of basil and peaches is worth it in the end.
Side note. I have never “scored” peaches, boiled them, and transferred them to an ice bath to easily peel their skins, keeping all of the meat intact. This was a tip in the book that I will forever remember in the future. I’ve never seen a peach perfectly peeled like this before. They are absolutely gorgeous. It seems like a lot of work, but it’s more fun than it sounds and I promise you’ll feel as stoked as I did with the end results.
Here’s how you do it: You’ll need (1) a big pot of boiling water; (2); a huge bowl for an ice bath; and (3) a slotted spoon to transfer the peaches. To make the ice bath, fill a huge bowl with ice and cold water. Place it right next to the stove for fast transferring. Then, score the bottoms of the peaches making an “X” in them with a knife. Place the peaches in the boiling water for one minute, then transfer them to the ice bath with the slotted spoon. After they have cooled for a few minutes, peel the skins off using the “X” as a starting point. You can pretty much just use your fingers. Slice the peaches in half, remove the pit, and cut into 1/4 in slices. Sweet!
Vegan Basil Peach Pie
From Vegan Pie In The Sky
Makes one 9-in pie
For the Double Buttery Crust:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 8 tablespoons cold nonhydrogenated margarine
- 8 tablespoons cold nonhydrogenated shortening
- 6 tablespoons ice water
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Mix in the sugar. Add half the margarine and shortening by about half tablespoonfuls, cutting it into the flour with your fingers or a pastry cutter, until the flour appears pebbly. Add the remaining margarine and shortening, and cut into the flour.
- In a cup, mix together 4 tablespoons of ice water with the apple cider vinegar. Drizzle the water and vinegar mixture into the flour by the tablespoonful, gently mixing it after each addition. Knead the dough a few times, adding more water until it holds together. You may need only the 4 tablespoons, but add up to 2 more tablespoons if needed.
- Divide the dough in two, roll each half into a ball, then press them into disks and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate them until ready to use, or use as directed in the recipe.
For the Basil Peach Filling:
- 1 recipe Buttery Double Crust rolled out and fit into a 9-inch pie plate
- 6 cups sliced peaches (see note above)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 8 average-size fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Combine all the filling ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, then transfer them to the prepared pie shell.
- Top the pie with the crust. Pinch the edges together, then trim the excess dough to about an inch and crimp the edges together.
- Make five slits in the middle of the pie to let the steam escape (or use cut outs like I did).
- Bake for about 25 minutes. Lower the heat to 350 degrees F and slip on a pie crust shield to prevent it from overly browning. Bake for an additional 30 minutes. Filling should be bubbly and the crust should be golden. Place pie on a cooling rack and let cool or about a half hour before serving.