There are certain flavors out there that seem as though they were tailor made for each other. Peanut butter and jelly, tomatoes and basil, apples and caramel, bourbon and white peaches. There is something incredible about the way the flavors of white peaches and bourbon play off each other. Similar to how the cinnamon in the honeysuckle sorbet brought out the honeysuckle flavor, the bourbon in this pie doesn’t stand out by itself, it simply illuminates the subtle flavors of the white peach.
While I love all peaches and nectarines (okay, I love all stone fruit), I think that white peaches and white nectarines are my favorite. Part of that love is aesthetic. I love the slightly pink tint to the fruit when it’s very ripe, and I love the splashes of red and pink around the pit. It almost looks like tie die or spin art, the fruit has these swirls of different shades of pink set against a clean, white palate. I also love the way they taste. When eaten alone they’re sweet, sweeter than yellow peaches, with just a hint of tartness. When baked into pies they can be lost, which is why it’s important to pair them with flavors that accentuate their strong points.
As far as bourbon is concerned, I can’t say that I’m much of a bourbon drinker. I sometimes drink it with coke, but I don’t have the stomach for it solo, or neat as Dan has instructed me to describe it. Not that I have a taste for any liquor neat- it’s been years since I’ve taken a shot (you could measure this to the minute since the ill-fated last tequila shot on my twenty-first birthday) and I’m the first to admit that it doesn’t take much to put me over the legal limit. Nevertheless, I appreciate what liquor can add to a recipe- vodka added to a marinara sauce alongside some heavy cream makes a delicious pasta. Wine added to blueberry soup creates a savory summer dish. And, as it were, bourbon added to white peaches yields a sweet and complex pie.
As I mentioned above, white peaches are known for their sweetness. For a fruit that is low in calorie and high in fiber to be so rich in natural sugars adds a huge value to a pie, as it allows you to cut down on the amount of sugar that you have to add. When baking with stone fruit, I like to add a combination of ripe and almost unripe peaches and nectarines. I find that the ripe fruit bring all the flavor, whereas the harder fruit allow just the smallest amount of crunch after the pie has baked. I don’t like when fruit pies are exclusively unrecognizable mush- I want people to go AH! and remember this is fruit they are eating. It’s important to give credit where credit is due. Thank you, white peaches. And, thank you bourbon.
Bourbon White Peach Pie
5 white peaches
1/4 cup flour
1/8 cup white sugar
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp bourbon
1 tsp vanilla
Pie dough (recipe here)
1 tsp cinnamon (for pie crust)
1 egg (for wash)
2 tbsp sugar (for wash)
Peel the peaches and slice them. They should be sliced thinly, but not squared. Toss the peaches in flour, sugar, bourbon, and vanilla.
Spread half the dough in the pie dish and add the filling. Roll the other half of the dough out on the counter and cut into strips. Create a lattice shape pattern with the strips.
Whisk egg and brush over pie crust. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until golden brown.