(it was hard to take a pic with eight people watching and wondering what I was doing!)
I love vanilla. It's one of my favourite ingredients to cook with and when I saw this recipe over at Ezra Pound Cake, I was excited for the opportunity to bake with a vanilla bean. I found whole vanilla beans at a local/organic type shop (The Big Carrot in Toronto) and the smell was divine. Even the grocery clerk smelled it and I enjoyed the scent wafting from my bag all the way home.
Using the bean was easier than I thought and I simply sliced it open and scraped out the paste. I feel like I've crossed another culinary milestone by using this fresh ingredient!
The vanilla took this basic peach pie over the top and I was excited to bring it up to a friend's cottage as a "thank you." I found it a little nerve-wracking taking up a dessert I myself had never tried (it's rude to cut a slice out before bringing it, right?), but the response was an overwhelming success! Whew!
- 2 basic flakey pie crusts
- 1 vanilla bean
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 5 cups peeled, pitted, and thickly sliced
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Slit the vanilla bean lengthwise. Scrape the seeds from the bean and place them in a food processor. Add the sugar and process for about a minute. (I did this with my hand mixer/immersion blender and it worked fine).
- Take 1/2 cup of the sugar and put in another bowl and mix with cornstarch. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the peaches, sugar-cornstarch mix and lemon juice.
- Roll the bottom layer of the pastry and place in pie plate.
- Fill pie shell with peaches and dot the top of the fruit with butter.
- Drape top layer of pastry over filling. Cut off excess pie crust and tuck top layer over bottom layer and fold into pie plate. Flute edges with fingers and then poke steam vents in top of pie with a paring knife.
- Place the pie in the centre oven rack and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 40-45 minutes, untill pie is browning and you can hear the juices bubbling.
- Transfer the pie to a wire rack and immediately sprinkle half the remaining vanilla sugar (about 1/4 cup) over the top.
- Let cool for at least two hours.
** have some extra vanilla sugar? Try it in your coffee!!!
Recipe adapted from Ezra Pound Cake