5 top tips for flawless (and healthy!) peach pie

Peach-Raspberry PiePeach-Raspberry PieThis Peach-Raspberry Pie recipe was developed by EatingWell's Test Kitchen Manager, Stacy Fraser, a two-time pie-contest winner. It's one of my favorite pie recipes because Stacy's instructions are straightforward enough that even a non baker can get a result that will impress. Stacy says, "Even though this pie is healthier than a typical butter-crust pie it still meets my highest culinary standards with its whole-grain shell and tart, sweet filling."

To make this recipe healthy, Stacy developed the crust using whole-wheat pastry flour combined with all-purpose flour. It yields a tender crust with the added benefits of whole grains. Plus she cut down on saturated fat in the crust by replacing some butter with reduced-fat sour cream and canola oil (which is high in heart-healthy unsaturated fats). This crust is my standard for any fruit pie-like Deep-Dish Apple Pie-sometimes I make an extra batch or two of dough, wrap them up and throw them in the freezer to use later.

Stacy's top 5 tips for successful, healthy pie recipes:

  • Cold butter works best. It keeps the crust flaky and tender.
  • Make sure you use ice water. It also helps keep the crust tender.
  • Don't overwork the dough. Just knead it a few times in the bowl and a few times on the counter. Overworked dough makes a tough crust.
  • Dough that's been chilled is easier to work with, so don't skip the chilling step before you roll it out.
  • Roll your dough out between parchment paper or wax paper to prevent sticking and to make transferring to the pie pan easier.

Besides Stacy's pie tips, keep in mind that for any baking it's important to measure your flour properly. EatingWell's technique for properly measuring flour is to scoop the flour with a spoon into your measuring cup, then scrape across the top with a knife to level it off. Don't just scoop into the flour with the measuring cup. That technique adds a lot of extra flour to the measure and can result in dry baked goods.

Also, for many peach desserts you'll want to peel your peaches. Here's a guide on how to properly peel peaches.

Peach-Raspberry Pie
Makes 10 servings

1 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (see Ingredient note)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar, plus 1 teaspoon for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
3 tablespoons canola oil
4 tablespoons ice water
1 egg white, lightly beaten, for brushing

6 cups sliced peeled peaches (6-8 medium, ripe but firm; see Tip)
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons cornstarch

1. To prepare crust: Whisk whole-wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons sugar and salt in a large bowl. With your fingers, quickly rub butter into the dry ingredients until the pieces are smaller in size but still visible. Add sour cream and oil; toss with a fork to combine with the dry ingredients. Sprinkle water over the mixture. Toss with a fork until evenly moist. Knead the dough with your hands in the bowl a few times-the mixture will still be a little crumbly. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few more times, until the dough just holds together. Divide the dough in half and shape into 5-inch-wide disks. Wrap each in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. To prepare filling: Meanwhile, combine peaches, raspberries, sugar and lemon juice in a large bowl; toss well to coat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer the fruit mixture to a colander set over a medium bowl and let drain for 30 minutes. Pour the collected juice into a small saucepan. Return the fruit to the large bowl. Bring the juice to a boil over high heat and cook, gently swirling the pan, until reduced, syrupy and slightly darkened in color, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the syrup to the reserved fruit along with cornstarch; gently toss until the cornstarch is completely dissolved.
3. To assemble & bake pie: Position a rack in the center of the oven and place a foil-lined baking sheet on the rack below; preheat to 375°F.
4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator; let stand for 5 minutes to warm slightly. Roll one portion between sheets of parchment or wax paper into a 12-inch circle. Peel off the top sheet and invert the dough into a 9-inch pie pan. Peel off the remaining paper. Trim the crust with kitchen shears or a butter knife so it overhangs the edge of the pan by 1 inch. Scrape the filling into the crust. Roll the remaining portion of dough between sheets of parchment or wax paper into another 12-inch circle. Peel off the top sheet of paper and invert the dough onto the fruit. Trim the top crust so it overhangs evenly. Tuck the top crust under the bottom crust, sealing the two together and making a plump edge. Flute the edge with your fingers (see photo, right). Brush the top and edge with egg white and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar. Cut 6 steam vents in the top crust.
5. Bake the pie on the center rack until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 1 1/2 hours before serving.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 316 calories; 10 g fat (4 g sat, 4 g mono); 14 mg cholesterol; 54 g carbohydrate; 5 g protein; 4 g fiber; 129 mg sodium.
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (20% daily value). 3 1/2 Carbohydrate Servings.

Ingredient Note: Milled from soft wheat, whole-wheat pastry flour contains less gluten than regular whole-wheat flour. It helps ensure a tender result in baked goods while providing the nutritional benefits of whole grains. It is available in natural-foods stores and large supermarkets. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Tip: Peaches that are ripe but still firm bake up perfectly tender while still holding their shape. To peel, dip peaches in boiling water for about 1 minute to loosen their skins. Let cool slightly, then remove the skins with a paring knife.

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Prepare the crust (Step 1), wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 6 months. | Equipment: 9-inch pie pan

By Jessie Price

EatingWell food editor Jessie Price's professional background in food started when she worked in restaurant kitchens in the summers during college. She started out testing recipes for EatingWell and then joined the staff here full-time in 2004 when she moved to Vermont from San Francisco.

Related Links from EatingWell: