Peaches and cream is classic for good reason because some pairings never get old. When I say rum, you say raisin. When I say apple, you say cinnamon. It. Just. Is. When I see recipes that offer new interpretation of the classic, I am often skeptical. Why mess with a good thing?
There are exceptions, of course. I bookmarked Martha Stewart’s Peach & Crème Fraiche Pie for a few years. Crème fraiche is simply the tangy cultured version of cream. Close enough to the classic but just different enough to be intriguing. Every year peach season came and went but I just never got around to the recipe. I have to sheepishly admit that pies were not my forte and I avoided the recipe. My head told me it was easy and result must be spectacular but my heart simply ran the other direction.
My recent success with pie baking renewed my confidence. Niagara freestone peaches are just showing up at farmer’s market. Last week, I jumped into this recipe with both feet before hesitation had a chance to set in. My verdict? Waiting is overrated. I should have made this recipe when I first laid eyes on it and repeat every peach season!
First of all, the pie crust is not the finicky flakey pie dough that I feared. It is a pate sucree cookie dough which is typically used for tarts. The crust can withstand the custardy filling without turning soggy, not to the mention so much easier to make. My trusty food processor first churned out the streusel topping then the buttery cookie dough. I imagine an almond pate sucree would also be absolutely lovely. The streusel and pie dough were left to chill in fridge overnight and the only thing left was assembly.
I parbaked the well-behaved crust using foil to protect the crimped edges. I smeared crème fraiche on to the partially baked crust and scattered streusel all over. Big juicy peach quarters were arranged in an attractive pattern before I topped it with more crème fraiche and streusel. The oven helpfully took care the remaining work. Can it be any simpler?
The pie had an easy rustic charm appropriate for casual summer afternoons. The mound of peaches released its nectar and collapsed into the golden custard of crème fraiche, peach juice, and streusel. The butter cookie dough crust turned crisp and gently cradled the delicate filling. I was pleasantly surprised that I could slice neat wedges once the pie cooled to lukewarm. The tang of crème fraiche was unexpected yet totally harmonious. It complimented the sweet juicy peaches in the most charming way.
Thanks to Martha, tweaking with classics can be a very good thing.
Take advantage of the peach season with more peachy keen dishes:
- Peach Melba Breakfast Parfait
- Walnut Peach Streusel Snack Cake
- Ginger Peach Muffin
- Chickpea Cucumber Peach Salad