Ideas come to me all the time. Ideas for writing and baking. How to solve problems or make dreams come true. Good ideas and bad ones. Some that pan out and others that go by the way side, filed away somewhere in the archives of my brain, likely never to see the light of day again. The ideas strike without notice. When I’m running or showering, even brushing my teeth. In the middle of baking, writing or watching TV. To avoid allowing them to slip away, I’ve been known to chant ideas over and over until they can be scribbled somewhere. Said scribbles are on all kinds of pieces of paper, in books, on recipes or bills that have to be paid. Eventually most of them get written where they belong, but some don’t make it that far.
A few weeks ago, trying to think of something new and inventive to bake, hoping to bring more readers to my blog and use more peaches before the shelves are void of them, I had what I thought was a flash of genius: Peach Pecan Pie. In my mind it was the best and most original idea I’d had in awhile and I couldn’t wait to make it. But like pretty much all my other ideas, I bounced it off of Mom, as she is my partner in crime in all parts of life. Mom was not impressed. Didn’t think it sounded good. I pestered her about it for a few more days, but still unable to convince her, I let it go, figuring it could wait until next peach season.
We recently returned to Joe Muer Seafood for dinner with our friends Art and Jessica. It was a wonderful time, as Art and Jessica were so much fun to spend an evening with. It was also a beautiful late September evening, still warm, the sun, and later nearly full moon, shining on the Detroit River. I had a great time. We all did. The meal was also great, and when the gleaming dessert cart rolled up to our table, there were many choices I could eat (a rare and wonderful thing), including Peach Pecan Pie.
This pie could no longer wait until next year. I had to make it now, had to make my idea into reality, had to make a pie that I thought could be even better than the one I was served (though it was amazing). So just a few days later, pie crust was rolled, peaches sliced, filling made. And this pie? It’s as good as I thought it would be.
The pie from the restaurant was more of a tart and their peaches somehow stayed at the bottom. My pie is an actual pie. The crust has pecans and peach brandy in it. It is the best crust I’ve ever made, though it wouldn’t be appropriate for every pie given its unique flavor profile. It also held up very nicely, leaving this by far the prettiest pie I’ve ever made, eaten, or seen, even if my pictures don’t showcase that. The filling, made with four kinds of sugar, including maple syrup from Blis, by far the best maple syrup I’ve ever had, and Lyle’s Golden Syrup instead of corn syrup, though it would work just fine, is ooey, gooey, and sweet, but never cloyingly so, with another dose of peach brandy that really makes the flavor sing. The peaches float above the syrup with the crunchy pecans on top. A symphony of flavors.
Okay, so the peach flavor is subtle, though definitely detectable. And the pie would probably be super awesome without the peach (I’ll try it that way soon), but I love this creation and I think you will too. It might help you come up with the ideas for which you’ve been searching.
- ¼ cup pecans
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¾ stick unsalted butter, cold, cubed
- ¼ cup pure vegetable shortening
- 2 tablespoons peach brandy
- 2-3 tablespoons ice water
- ½ cup maple syrup (I use and love Blis)
- 2 tablespoons peach brandy
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- ⅔ cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup (light corn syrup would make a fine substitution)
- 1 ½ cups pecans
- 1 large peach, sliced into ¼- ½ inch slices
- Make the crust. Place pecans in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground. Add flour, salt, and sugar, and pulse to combine. Add butter and shortening and pulse until a coarse meal forms. Add brandy and pulse to combine. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together when pressed and is quite moist. Dump dough onto plastic wrap. Wrap tightly, forming into a disc as you do so. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
- Make the filling. In a large bowl, stir or whisk together maple syrup, peach brandy, eggs, vanilla, salt, butter, sugars, and Golden Syrup until a homogeneous mixture is formed. Stir in pecans.
- Remove crust from refrigerator and roll on a lightly floured surface until it is large enough to fit your pie pan and about ⅛ inch thick. Place in pie pan, being sure to patch any holes. There must not be any holes. Use fingers to flute crust edge as you wish. You should use all of the dough. Place peach slices on top of crust. They should cover the entire bottom. Pour filling over peaches. Refrigerate pie for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place refrigerated pie on foil lined baking sheet. Dab edges of crust with milk or cream using your fingers. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F without opening the oven, and bake an additional 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary. Cool pie completely before slicing. I actually like to refrigerate it overnight and eat it the next day. It may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen in quarters wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 4 months. Thaw at room temperature for a couple hours or in a 350 degree F oven for about 15 minutes.