There are few things as wonderful as a perfectly ripe peach - and few things as difficult to find. Even here in North Carolina, in such close proximity to Peach Country. Thankfully, over 4th of July weekend, I lucked out with a couple pounds of beautiful, sweet, smooth organic South Carolina peaches. My family requested a pie for our festivities, and, peaches in hand, I was happy to oblige.
This pie was unbelievable. Relying almost entirely on the peaches themselves for sweetness, the fruit nestled between two layers of buttery, flaky, perfect pie crust, served with orange blossom-scented whipped cream. Oh, my. It disappeared in a matter of minutes.
For the filling
2 pounds of ripe peaches, pitted and cut into chunks about 1/2" x 1" (I left my skins on to create a textural difference in the filling, but peel them if you prefer)
1 tablespoon agave nectar (Madhava brand is best, it's the real deal.)
2 teaspoons tapioca powder or cornstarch
For the crust
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1 1/2 cups white spelt flour
heaping 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 sticks unsalted butter, cut into chunks and frozen
1/4 cup - 1/2 cup ice water
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
Combine flours and salt in a large bowl. Add butter chunks and cut in with a pastry blender. You aren't aiming for a meal-like consistency here, you want butter pieces of various sizes - though none terribly large. Add the water a little at a time, working it in with your hands until the dough comes together. Work quickly, as you don't want the butter to warm too much. Turn dough out onto a board, divide into two, form each half into a ball, flatten into a disk and wrap well in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling.
When ready to assemble the pie:
Preheat oven to 375. Butter a 9" pie pan. Pull out one disk of dough at a time, and roll out on a well-floured board to about 1/8" thick. Line pie plate with first circle of dough, and trim overhang to about 1/8" - 1/4". Fill with peach mixture. Lay second circle of dough over filling, trim overhang to about 1/4 inch beyond bottom crust. Pinch edges of crust together, tuck top around bottom, and flute crust to make an attractive edge. Cut slits in top crust. If the dough seems to have softened a lot while you were working with it, pop it in the freezer for about 10 minutes before baking.
Bake for about 60-70 minutes, or until crust is evenly browned and fruit juices are thick and bubbling. Cool on a rack until warm.