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Peach and Cheesecake Pie
Back in 1964, a teenager, Janis Boykin, ran away with the $25,000 Grand Prize at the 16th Pillsbury Bake-Off® with her Peacheesy Pie, something she developed for a home-ec class. She used canned peaches and topped her filling with a vanilla-flavored cheesecake batter. I made her recipe as soon as it was released and found it delicious. I’ve become so fond of our local peaches that I’ve adapted her recipe using them. I also make a butter crust and pre-bake it to keep it crisp after filling and baking.
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (scoop dry measure into flour container, fill to overflowing, and level with a straight edge)
1/2 cup cake flour (measure as above)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ½ sticks (6 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 equal pieces
1/3 cup ice water
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 ½ pounds ripe freestone peaches (4 medium)
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons peach juices
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon apple pie spice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons peach juices
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 ounces regular cream cheese (NOT fat-free), at room temperature
½ cup dairy sour cream (NOT fat free)
1. For the crust. In the work bowl of a food processor, pulse both flours and salt together for 5 seconds. Add the butter and pulse 4 times for about 1 second each. Combine the water, egg yolk, and cider vinegar in a 1-cup glass measure. Pulsing rapidly, gradually pour the liquid through the feed tube in a thin stream until the dough forms several large clumps and almost gathers into a ball. Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and press it together gently. Divide it into two pieces, one about 2/3 the amount of dough. Form each into 1-inch-thick disks. Wrap separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
Roll the larger piece of dough on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle. Fold the circle of dough in half, then in half again, and place the point in the center of a 9-inch pie plate, preferably Pyrex. Carefully unfold the dough and fit it into the pan by nudging it gently down the sides without stretching it. Trim the excess pastry to a ½-inch overhang. Fold the edge back under itself, toward the outside of the pan, and pinch the double thickness to make a high-standing rim. Flute it by pinching it at ½-inch intervals into an attractive zigzag pattern. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Adjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line the chilled pastry shell with a square of aluminum foil, pressing the foil gently on the bottom and sides and fill with dried beans. Bake about 20 minutes, until the edges of the pastry begin to brown. Remove from the oven and carefully lift out the foil and beans. Prick the bottom of the pastry evenly with a fork, return to the oven, and bake 8 to 10 minutes more, until the bottom of the shell has lost its raw look and is set. If pastry puffs up in spots, prick with a toothpick. Cool completely on a wire rack. Leave the oven on but reduce the temperature to 350˚.
2. For the peach filling. Cut the peaches in half along their seams and remove the pits. Strip away the skin with a sharp paring knife (perfectly ripe peaches peel easily) and cut each peach half into 4 wedges. Put the peaches into a large skillet and add 1/3 cup sugar. Fold together very gently with a heatproof rubber spatula and let stand 30 minutes.
Set the skillet over medium heat and cook the peaches slowly, turning them occasionally with the rubber spatula, until they’re cooked through, about 10 minutes. Turn them into a strainer set over a bowl to catch the juices and set aside to cool.
In a small saucepan, whisk together the 2 tablespoons peach juices, cornstarch, salt, apple pie spice, and vanilla extract. Cook over medium heat, stirring gently and constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula until smooth and thickened, about 2 minutes. Let cool while you prepare the cheesecake topping.
3. For the cheesecake. Whisk together in a medium saucepan the eggs, sugar, 2 tablespoon peach juices, and lemon juice until smooth. Cook over medium low heat stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula until smooth and thick, 6 to 8 minutes. Do not let the mixture actually boil or the eggs will curdle. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand-held electric mixer until smooth. Add the sour cream and beat until smooth. Add the hot egg mixture and beat until smooth.
4. Final assembly and baking. Roll the smaller disk of dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 1/8-inch and cut out 8 to 10 circles of dough.
Fold together the cooled drained peaches with the cooked cornstarch mixture and spread in bottom of cooled pastry. Pour cheesecake filling over the peaches and arrange circles of pastry on top. Brush pastry with some leftover peach juices. Bake at 350˚ for 45 to 50 minutes, until the cheesecake is set. Cool pie completely on a wire rack before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.
Makes 8 servings.