Blackberry Peach Pie
Homemade blackberry peach pie. An incredibly flaky all-butter pie crust filled with ripe summer peaches and tart blackberries!
Today’s blackberry peach pie provided me with a very important life lesson: make more homemade pie!
If there was ever a time to get over a fear of pie-making (and more importantly, homemade pie crust!), let this summer be it. There is no better time to tackle it. Add homemade pie to your bucket list. Your hard work and effort will be rewarded ten fold. Promise.
In fact, this blackberry peach pie might be the best dessert that’s come out of my kitchen all year! I can turn down dessert any day of the week, but homemade pie? Nope. It’s my kryptonite. I have a particular affinity towards peach pie, but any pie will do the trick. The addition of fresh blackberries give a touch of tartness in each bite and improves it for the better.
If this recipe sounds familiar, you’re right! I shared a similar blackberry peach pie almost five years ago to this day. Sadly, the pictures did not do it any justice.
So, I turned back to the very same recipe, changed my technique a bit, added further instruction, made a few tweaks here and there, rewrote the recipe, and took new photos.
The end result? A new-and-improved blackberry peach pie recipe that you’ll want to make time and time again! Just check out that flaky pie crust.
[If you’re in a mood for a higher crust-to-fruit ratio, this blueberry peach slab pie is another great option.]
As is the case with most things in my life (particularly pastries), practice, discipline, and a basic understanding is key for great homemade pie. While you’re at it, re-read these tips for fool-proof pie dough.
As a relatively impatient person, I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. Trust me. These lessons usually have come in the form of lackluster crust texture or shrunken pie crust.
I repeat, homemade pie is not a spontaneous affair. Or rather, great homemade pie is not a spontaneous affair! If you’re in a rush and need to make dessert for a last-minute dinner party or gathering, pie is not the right choice.
Pie requires planning, time, and patience. Lots of time. It’s mostly inactive time, but time all the same. Time for chilling, resting, and cooling. Some of the steps might seem repetitive and perhaps even a little excessive at times. But I promise, all of these steps are essential if you want to make a fabulously flaky homemade pie.
These steps are even more essential if you wish to forgo shortening (my life rule) and want to make a flaky all-butter pie crust!
The most important factor to keep in mind when making homemade pie is temperature. It is of the utmost importance that all of your ingredients, tools, and kitchen (if possible!) be as cold as possible before you start preparing homemade pie dough. Heat is your worst enemy.
Cold butter, in particular, helps discourage gluten formation during mixing. It is essential that the butter stay chilled, in large and small pieces, in the final shaped pie as it hits the hot oven as this is what enables it to produce a flaky texture.
[If you do wish to make more spontaneous pies, set aside a half day and prep and freeze several batches of pie dough in advance. As long as you thaw the pie dough in advance, this will shave off a substantial amount of recipe time.]
Over the years, I’ve experimented and prepared pie dough in every method possible: by hand using a pastry cutter (takes the most time – therefore, be even more careful with the temperature of your ingredients), my old go-to method using the food processor, and most recently, a stand mixer and paddle attachment at the suggestion of Samin Nosrat’s excellent cookbook Salt, Fact, Acid, Heat.
If you have one on hand, the stand mixer is my new favorite tool for preparing pie dough for several reasons: (1) the metal bowl can be chilled far longer and more efficiently than the plastic bowl of a food processor, (2) the paddle attachment provides more control at breaking up the butter into larger and smaller chunks than the sharp, fast pulsing action of a metal blade, (3) allows for more precision when slowly adding the water.
The filling for this blackberry peach pie is a combination of ripe, peeled yellow (or white) peaches, fresh blackberries, lemon juice, brown sugar, granulated sugar, a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg, and cornstarch.
I’m not usually a huge fan of cornstarch, but it has an important role in this pie: thickening the filling just enough to prevent excessive weeping. The flavor is absolutely undetectable once baked, promise.
PS. Don’t forget the vanilla ice cream!
Blackberry Peach Pie
All-Butter Double Pie Crust:
- 2 and 1/4 cups (12 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- large pinch of kosher salt
- 16 tablespoons (8 ounces; 2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- ~1/2 cup ice water
Peach Blackberry Filling:
- ~3 lbs yellow or white cling-free peaches, ripe but firm (roughly 6-7 large peaches)
- 8 ounces (1 and 1/2 pint containers; about 1 and 1/2 cups) fresh blackberries
- 1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- large pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream, for brushing
- 1 generous tablespoon demerara sugar, for sprinkling
- vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, for serving
Prepare the Pie Dough (preferably, the night before or several hours in advance):
- Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a stand mixer bowl. [If you do not have a stand mixer, you can also prepare the dough in a large food processor or by hand, with a pastry cutter - chill all of your tools before using.]. Transfer the stand mixer bowl and paddle attachment to the freezer (if your freezer is too small, you can use a large Ziploc bag or a small bowl). Place the butter in a separate small bowl. Chill the dry ingredients, tools, and butter for 20 minutes.
- Using the stand mixer, fitted with the chilled paddle attachment, mix the dry ingredients for 5 to 10 seconds over low speed. Over low speed, slowly add the butter, a few pieces at a time, until the butter has broken into a mixture of larger and smaller size pieces (similar to 'broken walnut pieces').
- Add the vinegar and slowly add the ice water (you will most likely need to use all of it or a touch more, depending on the humidity of your kitchen) until the dough just barely holds together. It will still look relatively dry and shaggy in the bowl, but if the dough can hold together (or almost hold together) when squeezed in the palm of your hand, it is ready. Transfer the dough mixture to a large gallon-size Ziploc bag (this helps lessen the warmth from your hands from transferring to the dough) and using the open ends and sides of the bag, press the dough together into a ball using the heels of your hand.
- Remove the pie dough from the bag and using a sharp knife, cut the ball in half. Wrap each half tightly in plastic wrap and flatten into a disc. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or, ideally, overnight.
Prepare Filling and Pie:
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the center position.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Set aside a large ice bath near the stove. Using a paring knife, make a small, shallow 'X' incision on the bottom of each peach and carefully drop into the boiling water. Allow the peaches to blanch for roughly a minute (depending on the ripeness of your peaches) or until the skins begin to slightly peel away from the flesh. Using a skimmer or large spoon, transfer the peaches to the ice bath (this will prevent them from cooking any further) until cool enough to handle. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
- Meanwhile, remove one disc of pie dough from the fridge. Allow it to sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes or just soft enough to roll. On a well-floured board (or marble slab) and rolling pin, roll the dough until it is about 1/8-inch thick or less and about 12-inches in diameter. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer to a 9-inch pie pan (I prefer glass or heavy ceramic), pressing it into the edges of the pan without stretching the dough. Using a knife or kitchen scissors, trim any remaining overhang to one inch. Brush off any excess flour with a pastry brush and place the pie pan in the freezer for 10 minutes (or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 30 minutes). Remove the remaining pie dough disc from the fridge, unwrap, and roll until it is 1/8-inch thick or less, and 12-inches in diameter. Place between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper and chill in the fridge while you prepare the pie filling.
- Prepare the filling: Using a paring knife, carefully peel the skin from the blanched peaches, remove the pits, and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Place the peach slices in a large mixing bowl and add the blackberries, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Toss gently to combine.
- Remove the pie pan with dough from the freezer and add the filling. Remove the rolled top crust pie dough from the refrigerator and place over the fruit filling, tucking the overhang of the top crust over and then under the bottom crust overhang border. Using the knuckle of your index finger on one hand (on the inside edge of the crust) and the thumb and index finger of your other hand (on the outside edge), press and crimp the edges of the crust.
- Using a sharp paring knife, make four 2-inch slashes in the top of the crust, extending from the center out in a circle. Place the entire pie pan in the freezer to chill for 20 minutes (or alternatively, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 hour). This will allow the pie dough to relax, the butter to chill, and helps prevent shrinking during baking.
- Place the pie pan on a parchment (or foil) lined baking sheet. brush the top crust with heavy cream, and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake at 425 (F) degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 400 (F) degrees and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pie is just beginning to turn golden. Reduce the heat to 350 (F) degrees and bake until golden brown, an additional 25 to 35 minutes. Allow the pie to cool on a wire rack for at least 2 hours before slicing. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Tips For Success:
- It is essential that your pie dough ingredients start/stay as chilled as possible! This ensures minimal gluten development (tenderness) and allows the butter to remain cold as it hits the hot oven (producing flaky layers). Butter that starts to melt or soften will produce a tougher crust with very little flakiness.
- A small addition of white vinegar (aka. acid) helps discourage additional gluten formation as well. If you do not have white vinegar on hand, you can substitute it with apple cider vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice for a similar effect. It is not an essential ingredient by any means, but doesn't hurt!
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