I am not much of a one for excessive fooling around with fruit pies..mostly, I like them straight up, with maybe a ghost of one spice. This one is an exception, what with the cream and so on, but I think I may actually prefer it to ordinary peach pie, when it's made in optimal circumstances. As was not the case here, sorry to report. And not that I would call any homemade peach pie "ordinary".
Of course, if you have really splendid , perfect tree ripened peaches, you are not going to be all crazy and cook them in a pie, or even refrigerate them. You'll want to have them warm, ripe and plain, maybe served with a little knife to slice them, or just slurped up whole, dripping down your chin. Unless, of course, you are fortunate enough to have a peach tree of your own. Then, once you are totally replete , you will start wanting to be doing stuff to them. I don't have a peach tree, but I find that commercial peaches, of the sort that are picked unripe, can make admirable pies. Especially the white fleshed ones, which taste sort of winey, or floral to me.
Since I had company for dinner two nights in a row, I thought it would be best to make something or other ahead-and assembled my pie early. This is my first time freezing a homemade pie, so of course I picked something with a custard that has to be added just before serving, and a top crust, and then complicated matters by making it in a pyrex pan.
It seemed, after a brief survey, that most folks think it is better to freeze a pie before baking it, and to bake it without defrosting. Hence, a metal pie pan is in order, since a pyrex pan is not going to survive a trip direct from the freezer to a 450F oven. Whoops. This bit of logic did not surface until my pie was frozen, so I adapted the whole business to accomodate my little faux pas. I put the pie, from the freezer, into a cold oven, and let the oven and pie heat to 450F together.
I did realize from the start that freezing the cream and egg yolk was not a plan. So before I fitted the top crust on, I cut two big triangular vents on top, for pouring the raw custard mix in later. I did the glazing right before baking, too. I made this particular pie earlier this week, and wrapped it up well before freezing.
I used my usual two crust recipe. I added a bit more cornstarch to the peaches than usual, due to the freezing and custard. The bottom crust was sprinkled with dried breadcrumbs as an extra absorption anti-stodge barrier. I filled the pie with 8 largish peeled, thinly sliced white peaches, 1/2 cup sugar, 3 tbsps cornstarch and a wee bit of freshly grated nutmeg and a pinch of cinnamon. It was dotted with butter,covered with the aforementioned top-crust-with-big-triangle-cut-outs, and pinched before freezing.
When I was ready to bake, I mixed 3/4 cup of cream well with one egg yolk, and poured it in the triangular holes. Egg glaze and sparkly sugar sprinkles (corny-but I'm addicted) and then it went into a cold oven, on a cookie pan, set to 450F. Once the oven came up to temperature, I gave it 20 minutes at 450F, then turned it down to 350F. If you make a pie like this, it will take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and 15 to finish off.
Of course, you've got to keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't get over brown, If it is browning too fast, you can cover the darker areas with foil. Also of course you don't want to burn it... but an undercooked pie is a disgrace and a disappointment. Cute thing about this one is, you can poke a skewer through the triangles to make sure the peaches are all soft before you take it out. Very handy.
I strongly recommend against the starting in a cold oven, desperation ploy. Ew. The bottom crust was way soggy, and now I don't know how much to attribute to the freezing process, and how much to this mistake. I guess I am going to have to try another frozen pie to see if the option is usable for me.
But hey-have some fun with a pie. You can always run whatever cooling device you have against the oven, and waste your money in a worthy cause. I do it with the air conditioner now, but I did it with a big old fan before I had the high tech cooler devices-once in a while. Because when can you have a real peach pie but summer?