I’ve been making one and only one Carol’s peach pie for many, many Summers now while sort of sharing the recipe and sort of not sharing the recipe. Maybe because it was one of those recipes that was fiercely guarded by an inner circle of women and coveted by everyone else during my childhood. Maybe because it’s one of the few things in my life that I find novel and want to keep it to myself. Maybe I’m just lazy.
I finally put instructions for it up on Instagram last year, but I think the time has come for it to have a permanent residence. Here’s what you need to know about Carol’s peach pie:
1. Carol was my neighbor when I was very small and a total legend for leaving Chattanooga in the 1970’s to study pastry in France.
2. There are two ways to assemble Carol’s peach pie. The woman, the myth, the legend Carol likes to assemble it like a tart (pictured). I usually prefer to assemble it like a proper Southern pie with a crimped crust.
3. You’ll want to use a pie or tart dough that is on the salty and sour side since the filling itself is quite sweet and rich. I am partial to the Four & Twenty Blackbirds recipe linked below.
4. No matter how much time you spend arranging the peach slices, this pie will look unimpressive. No matter how unimpressive it looks, it will taste great!
5. DO. NOT. SKIP. THE. ALMOND. EXTRACT.
6. You might end up with extra filling depending on the size of your pie plate. Pour it into ramekins and bake it! A four ounce ramekin should be cooked through in roughly 20 minutes.
7. You don’t have to, but you can peel the peaches if you want. Either boil them whole for a minute, dunk them in ice water and slip the skins off in one fell swoop, or freeze them in slices and slip the skins off their backs when they are defrosted.
Carol’s Peach Pie
-serves 6-8, adapted from Carol Chesnutt
your favorite pie crust
3 pounds sliced, ripe peaches*
3/4 cup raw cane sugar
1/4 cup AP flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
pie plate or skillet roughly 8-10” in diameter
optional: one large egg
1. Roll out crust and get it very cold in your pie plate. Parbake at 425 for 16-18 minutes and trim the edges if you are assembling tart-style (you will need to cool it completely before filling). Glaze the insides with egg white and outer crust with egg yolk whisked with 1/2t water if you are assembling Southern pie-style.
2. While your crust is chilling, mix peaches with 1/4 cup of the sugar and preheat oven to 375. When peaches are a little juicy, mix in the rest of the ingredients.
3. Fill the pie shell and bake in the lower third of the oven for about 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the filling looks set.
4. Cool completely before slicing or serving.
*for me that’s usually six or seven medium sized peaches, or one bag from The Peach Truck