17th Century Bottom-Crusted Peach Pie.

Via Peggy Markel
on Aug 24, 2013
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peach pie

The lull of late summer hangs in the air like ripe fruit.

The atmosphere is thick and still, perfect for the crickets’ hum. Without the heavy heat, they don’t sing. It’s a sign of ripeness, the balsamic time of summer in its fullness, that brings us juicy tomatoes, watermelons, peaches and plums.

I recently visited my friend Elizabeth to teach her how to make a pie. In return, she taught me how to have a big view. It was Carl Sagan who said, “If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”

Which is to say: a pie is more than flour, water and fruit. You must consider the farmer, the soil… it is a cosmic collaboration.

What does it mean to make something from scratch? It is an invitation to look deeper into your world.  

As we roll out the dough and slice the fruit, we are left with an opportunity to enjoy a peach pie at its sweetest. Remember, the best pie is the one you are eating right now.

The apples will have to wait.

Here’s a recipe that many of you have seen, but many of you are still asking for.

Go ahead! Make a pie and discover your place in the family of things.

17th Century Bottom-Crusted Peach Pie


  • 2 cups of unbleached white flour
  • 1 and a half sticks of butter
  • A few T’s of cold water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Cream 


  • 6 organic peaches, skins left on, sliced
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 lemon, sliced in half
  • Cream to whip and put on top is optional
  • Tart pan or wide edged ceramic bowl.

Put together your pie dough by cutting butter into your flour with two knives (or use a Cuisinart, pulsing the blade to cut the butter into flour). Add a pinch of salt. Add cold water a tablespoon at the time to bind the dough together. Form into a ball. It should feel like a “babies behind.” Put it in the fridge for 1/2 hour.

Meanwhile, slice peaches into a bowl. Add sugar to taste and 1/2 of a lemon, juiced with your hand. Set aside.

Take out the dough and flatten it with your hand on a floured surface. Roll out the dough, starting from the center and rolling out in all directions until you have a thin round. It will be large. The point is to have enough to drape over the fruit. Center it over your tart, pie plate or open ceramic bowl.

Preheat oven to 400F. Fill the dough with your peaches. Add a sprinkle of flour and 4 or 5 pats of butter. Fold the excess dough over the fruit like you were covering bread in a cloth. Brush the dough with a beaten egg.

Put in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 45minutes to an hour. Check when you smell the fruit cooking. The crust should be golden. Let cool.

Final step: Enjoy.

This recipe has been adapted from the original, which you can find here.

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Ed: Sara Crolick



About Peggy Markel

Since 1992, Peggy Markel has traversed the Mediterranean and North Africa, from Elban fishing villages and Moroccan markets to the homes of Tuscan artisans and chefs, furthering her own exploration of culture and cuisine. On these journeys, she saw an opportunity to design and direct her own brand of culinary tours in which enjoyment of the present place and moment plays a pivotal role. "When we speak of Slow Travel, we mean that particular experience of letting yourself merge with your surroundings: the pace, customs, mores and style of where you find yourself. It’s really about our willingness to let the world in, and see ourselves a part of it.” For more information about Peggy's trips and classes, check her web page. For more writing and recipes by Peggy, check her blog. Sign up for Peggy's monthly newsletter, to receive stories, videos, recipes and updates in your inbox. Join the PMCA community on facebook for photos and stories from the road.


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