Peach pie with cream cheese pastry

Alright, I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that this was a snap to make. Like all pies or tarts, it involved making, chilling, pressing, freezing, blind baking and then filling and more baking of pastry. But, I’m also not going to lie when I tell you – HOLY SMOKES – this is a good pie.
I first heard of peach pie with cream cheese crust in the Time Life American Cooking recipe booklet. I love this little ring bound book with its black and white pages and drawings at the beginning of each chapter. This recipe, the Deep Dish Peach Pie with Cream-Cheese Crust, made my stomach flip and I had to make it instantly. 
Except, I didn’t use their pastry recipe because it had double cream in it. I love ancient cookbooks, but it seems that they manage to jam cream into every recipe. The other day I even saw a cream basted kebab recipe in a 1960s cookbook. Who ever made pastry or kebabs with cream? Not me, and with my pastry experiments often veering on the wrong side of rustic, I wasn’t about to start adding cream to my pie dough. So, I used a trusty looking Martha Stewart recipe instead, then for the filling, I melded the Time Life pie with a Gourmet Traveller one. Anyway, it looks and tastes like a big deal pie. Yes, it’s a bit time consuming but you will taste your patience and love in every bite. 

Peach pie with cream cheese pastry
For the pastry (recipe adapted from Martha Stewart)
4 teaspoons cold water
2 teaspoon cold cider vinegar
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1 teaspoon salt
225 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
225 grams cold cream cheese, cut into small pieces
1 egg beaten, for egg wash
For the filling (recipe adapted from American Cooking, Time Life and Gourmet Traveller)
1.5 kg firm but ripe peaches
300g brown sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 lemon, juiced
20g corn flour
2 tbs almond meal
1. Make the pastry first. Put the sifted flour and salt in a food processor and blitz for 10 seconds to combine.
2. Add the cream cheese and butter and blitz until it starts coming together.
3. Turn out onto a floured work surface and break into two even sized pieces. Form into discs and chill for an hour.
4. Butter a 25 cm fluted tart tin with a removable base. Roll one of the discs into a round about a centimetre thick. Press into the prepared pan. Prick all over with a fork and freeze for at least an hour or up to overnight. Leave the other half of the dough in the fridge, to use later for the pie top.
5. Start preparing the filling, slice up the peaches into twelveths. Place them in a bowl with the brown sugar, lemon juice and the seeds of the vanilla bean. Leave to macerate for 20 minutes. 
6. Strain the fruit and reserve the juice. In a medium sauce pan, bring the sauce to a boil then continue to cook over medium until you have a thick syrup. Sprinkle the corn flour over the peaches and toss to combine.
7. Pour the syrup back over the peaches and set aside.
8.  Take the chilled pastry crust out of the freezer and line with parchment paper. Fill with pastry weights(rice, dried beans) and bake for 15 minutes.
9. Meanwhile, prepare the pie top. You can either cut strips from the reserved ball of pastry for a latticed top or cut a round so you have a closed it top. Either way, roll it out on a piece of parchment paper, making it a bit thinner than the base.
10. Back to the pie base - remove the parchment and weights and bake for another 15 minutes, removing the pie every 5 minutes to press the pastry down with a cloth, to prevent rising.
9. When the crust is golden,take it out of the oven and sprinkle it with the almond meal. Then fill with the peaches. Just spoon them in. Then arrange your topping, Either place the round on or arrange the lattice strips in a weave pattern(kindergarten weaving sessions come in handy here!).
11. Brush with egg wash, sprinkle with caster sugar and bake for 30 minutes. After this time, the top should be golden brown, if not give it another five minutes.
12. To serve – If you can wait, this is best at room temperature, when you can really taste the vanilla, brown sugar, almond meal and tangy cream cheese pastry, with a bit of cream or ice cream.

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