Iron chef: A peach of a pie

I love pie. I mean, LOVE pie. Fruit pie, cream pie, lemon meringue, butterscotch, French silk. Pecan and pumpkin, bumbleberry and cherry, vanilla custard, and good old All-American apple pie. Savory pie, a.k.a. quiche (which real men are now enlightened enough to eat). Turnovers. Even TableTalk. Give me a fork; bring it on. I’m there.

It’s too bad pie has such a terrifying reputation for wannabe and newbie bakers. I daresay even those of us who’ve been baking for years feel a tiny quiver of apprehension when we get out the rolling pin.

For instance, I got a call the other night from my mom, who loves pie as much as I (though not as much as me). She said she’d just made the best pie crust ever—and had no idea why it had turned out so well. That seems to be the case with many of us. Sometimes pie crust turns out great; sometimes it’s a mess. Why?

I lay it all to pie karma, and to the liquid/fat/flour ratio. First, karma: sometimes it’s just not your day. You do everything right, and the results are wrong. Ah, well… move on.

Second, that tricky flour/fat/liquid ratio. The more fat/less liquid per cup of flour, the more tender your finished crust will be—and the more difficult it’ll be to roll out and handle. More water = easier to handle = tougher crust.

My advice? Keep experimenting till you hit on a crust you really like. One that works for you—in your kitchen, with your tools, using your measuring methods, and your preferred brands of flour and butter.

Be advised that my favorite recipe may not be yours. And just because you use your mother’s crust recipe and it’s turned out perfectly for 53 years, that doesn’t mean it’ll work for me. We all need to find our own path—both to pie crust perfection, and through life.

That said, here’s a link to my current favorite pie crust recipe. It may change next week; but for now, it’s the one I turn to.

And my current favorite pie, here in the depths of Vermont’s Mud Season? A sunny-golden, tasty Anytime Peach Pie, studded with dried apricots. Or made half-and-half with last summer’s frozen raspberries. Trust me, even the most patched-together flop of a pie crust won’t matter when you add this filling!


As you can see, I use our pie filling enhancer a lot. I like it because it includes a bit of ascorbic acid, both for flavor, and to help retain fruit color; and when you mix it into the fruit, it doesn’t clump like cornstarch or flour, and you don’t have to wait for it to dissolve, like tapioca.


At this time of year, when the fresh peaches you get up North are barely edible, I find frozen peaches are a great substitute.


Here’s my new favorite pie pan: a 9″ cast-iron skillet. Notice its sheen; that’s the result of a quick rubdown with shortening after each use. This particular pan was given to me 30 years ago by a 90-year-old friend; it had belonged to his mother. So you can imagine how old this pan is, and how many meals it’s cooked.


Dump the frozen peaches into a bowl. Let them thaw a bit; they don’t have to be completely unfrozen, just soft enough to chop.


Like this: a quick couple of pulses in the food processor is all it takes.


Two 16-ounce frozen bags of peaches combined with a cup of chopped dried apricots makes the basis for a tasty filling. Why the apricots? They play beautifully with peaches, adding depth of flavor and enhanced texture.


One time I only had 1 bag of peaches, so substituted a bag of frozen raspberries for the other bag; I also stirred in the apricots. The combination makes a gorgeous, ruby-red filling. Note the crust: it was one of those days. Never be afraid to patch your crust; the filling will cover a world of sins.


Add the top crust, crimping to seal. Brush with milk or cream…


…then sprinkle with coarse sparkling sugar. Cut slits in the top to let the steam escape (and hopefully prevent any filling eruptions).


Here’s the pie, ready to pop into a 425°F oven.


Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F, and bake for an additional 30 minutes or so, until the crust is starting to brown around the edge.


Add a pie crust shield


…and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the top is lightly browned.


If for some reason the top starts to over-brown, just tent it with a piece of foil.


How’s that, sports fans?


Enjoy it while you can…


…I guarantee this is one pie that won’t last long.


Here’s the half-raspberry version. Notice what a nice touch that sparkling sugar is.

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for Anytime Peach Pie.

Buy vs. Bake

Buy: Mäni’s Bakery Café, Los Angeles: Peach Pie, $34

Sweetie-Licious Pie Pantry, DeWitt, MI: Aunt Grace’s Peach Pie, $17.99

Bake at home: Springtime Peach Pie, $10.60

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. Alissa

    THANK YOU! This recipe looks like everything I imagined it to be. Can’t wait to try it. I also want to thank you for putting the photo of the patched up pie crust. It makes me feel better to know that even seasoned pros have trouble once in awhile.

    Can you give a tip for chopping the apricots? I don’t have a food processor. Should I spray my knife or chopping gadget with cooking spray or toss the apricots with a tiny bit of flour first?

    Thanks again!
    You just use a sharp knife to chop apricots-I like to use my chefs knife. Spraying it first is a good idea! Joan@bakershotline

    Hi Alissa – I actually cut dried apricots with a pair of scissors. Works like a charm! PJH

  2. Beth

    Hi PJ, that’s my favorite pie crust recipe too – except for the addition of the confectioner’s sugar – is that just to aid in browning? Or just to kick it up a notch? And another question: is the pie baking on top of a baking stone? I can’t quite tell what you’ve got under that pie in the oven.

    Ahh, peach pie – thanks a lot – just as I’ve been thinking I need to go back on Weight Watcher’s – again!!

    The confectioner’s sugar will help to enhance the coloring but also help with the texure and flavor. Joan @ baker’shotline

    Beth, I probably set it on the stone because I just leave the stone in the oven full-time. Not necessary, though – cast iron gets plenty hot on its own. Give my best to the cows 🙂 PJH

  3. Bridgett

    You had me at cast iron skllet and peach pie – two of my favorite things in the world! I never would have imagined baking a pie in my cast iron skillet but I certainly will try it now. That looks amazing!

  4. Erin in PA

    Ahh — spring is definitely in the air for this weekend here in PA! This looks absolutely stunning! I have a plethora of canned peaches from last summer – do you think they would work if I drained them first? Thanks for all of the amazing recipes!

    Draining your peaches will work fine. Joan @ bakershotline

  5. marielle

    mmmmmm, that looks delicious and I like the idea of using the cast iron. I have my husband’s granny’s set of pans and after renewing the cast iron love am going to recondition them this summer.

  6. Niki

    I have such a hard time w/ pie crust!!! I made an awesome awesome one in pastry class in school, but when I went to make it again, it stunk. I was sad… I need that never fail crust that magically makes itself!!! But your filling looks soooo good!!!! And yep, I just bought some pie filling enhancer on King Arthur’s website… 🙂

    You should call our hot line for some hints on making a great pie crust! Joan @ bakershotline

  7. Sue

    That pie looks delicious! I love fresh peach pie. I’ve never tried baking one in a cast iron skillet. Mine is at least 10″. Will regular 2-crust pie dough be enough?

    This recipe will work find for your 10 inch pan. Joan@bakershotline

  8. Cindy Young

    OH MY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Peach pie is my FAVORITE! This one looks so pretty with the sparkling sugar -amazing. I am getting ready to open a pastry shop and I would love to add this to the menu. Thanks for all of the inspiration.

  9. Darlene

    Thanks for this recipe. I have SO many bags of frozen peaches from my peach tree and need to use them before our tree bears again this summer! I will make this pie—hopefully several times! My husband will love you! I especially like the idea of adding apricots to this pie too—they are one of my favorite fruits. Thanks again!

  10. Al

    I have always used your pie enhancer but never knew what it was. I now know it is part absorbic acid for tartness and discoloration prevention. What makes it thicken up the filling?
    Modified food starch thickens up filling. Molly@KAF

  11. keri

    Just chiming in to say that looks great…AND… that pie crust -really- works. I love it and no longer have pie fear! I’ve made 3 or 4 pies now using that recipe and all have turned out wonderfully. Oh, I should note that I do use the KA pastry blend flour.

  12. Nel

    On the subject of ‘everyone has her way’ with pie crust… I grew up in California, with a south-facing kitchen that was always hot. Adding ice water to the flour and fat for pie crust did nothing to keep the dough cool and the fat solid.

    A trick I hit on when I was a teen was to make my pie crust as far as cutting in the butter/lard/shortening. Then I would put it in the fridge to keep the fat solid while I made the filling, or even for several hours until I was ready to make the pie. Both the flour and the butter got quite cold in the fridge. Add cold water, roll it out, and even in our hot kitchen, I always ended up with flaky pie crust, because the fat didn’t have time to melt.

    You can also simply freeze the ingredients at the same stage (flour with the fat cut in). Keep it in an air-tight container in the freezer, and take it out a an hour or so before you want to make pie, leaving it either on the counter or in the fridge, depending on how much time you have and whether your kitchen is hot. Add the required amount of liquid, mix and roll while the flour and fat are still quite cold.

    You can put enough frozen crust ‘mix’ in a zip-lock bag for one or two crusts and you’re ready to go whenever you want to make pie. I find zip-lock bags are easier to store than ‘finished’ crusts. There’s no risk of the hard-frozen crust breaking. And of course, I don’t have to have dozens of pie pans to freeze the shells in.

    What’s your take on lard in pie crust? I always feel that lard and butter make the best flavor (butter) and better flakiness (lard). Just don’t tell Americans that you used lard; seems to offend American sensibilities.
    Some of us here only use lard in our pie crusts and others don’t. It’s all a matter of taste. I will say, however, that it makes a lovely, flakey crust. Molly@KAF

  13. Vicki

    Just amazing! I have an apricot tree loaded with apricots and they will be ripe in a few weeks. Will they work?
    Sure, you can use fresh apricots, just make sure that they’re peeled and patted dry and be aware that you may need to use more thickener, but it sounds delicious! Molly@KAF

  14. Holly

    Seeing an iron skillet that’s smooth as satin can bring me to tears. It took a lot of love to put the finish on that pan. It looks just like my mom’s.

    What a sweet blessing that you received from a 90-yr old “child”!

    I’m inspired to try your crust recipe. Love the blog.

    I feel the same way, Holly. As I said, I can only imagine how many meals were served from that skillet. And you’re right, it’s smooth as satin and absolutely non-stick; I rinse it out and put back on the burner, then rub with shortening, then cool. Takes less than a minute, but the time is well spent to keep an old friend like this in good shape! PJH

  15. Jana

    I LOVE the coarse sugar on top I have used it on several fruit pies and everyone comments on the crunch. I am excited to try this recipe mmm.

  16. Penny

    This pie makes me think of summer…I love it!
    I also need to get a pie crust shield. I have been wrapping foil around the crust when it looks like it is getting too brown and this is just so much simpler.
    Thanks for bringing some sunshine back in our lives!

  17. skeptic7

    I started using a cast iron skillet as a pie pan a couple of years ago. I love the handle. I used a slightly larger pan and arrange things so the pie only fills 3/4 of the pan. All the juices are nicely contained in the skillet. Mine is a 10″ skillet too, and a normal pie crust and filling goes only part way up.
    A historical house/museum had baked pies in their cast iron skillet and I decided to try it to shock some friends. The friends being horribly unshocked, I continued on using the skillet for the convenience of the handle. The only problem is that a skillet doesn’t fit in a pie or cake carrier.

  18. Mary Chase

    How did you achieve the lovely design on the pie in the picture on the first page of your ad? I couldn’t find a tool for it anywhere in your catalague. Thank you. Mary Chase

    Hi Mary – it’s our Pie Topper. Take a look – PJH

  19. Kimberly D

    As a former baker at a fruit orchard, here is a great idea when you have all the fruit coming in nice in ripe. Make your pie ups like you are going to bake them, than stick the whole pan (would have to be the foil pans) in a gallon freezer bag and freeze. Just pull out the night before to unthaw and than bake as usual.

    Also question, what do you do to restore rusty cast iron skillets?

    My grandma used to do that, Kimberly – her deep freeze had stacks of pie in it. What a wonderful treasure! As for cast iron, rub with salt and vinegar to remove rust. Then coat with shortening, and bake in a low (250°F or so) oven for several hours. Repeat as necessary. Also, simply Googling “restore cast iron pans” will give you lots of info. Here’s one article you may find helpful. Good luck – PJH

  20. Julie H

    I can completely agree with your comments about crust: I used to dread making pies. Then, because I subscribe to Cook’s Illustrated, I tried their recipe for “never-fail” pie crust. I think it was published 12/07. At any rate, the secret is use vodka for half the liquid called for. It’s a miracle! It works every time. Just about the time I came upon this recipe, I noticed that Crisco had changed their recipe to “no trans fat” my sister said it seemed “greasier”. So I thought “forget that, I’ll make my crust with all butter.” So I tried the Cook’s Illustrated method, using all butter, and substituting vodka for half the water, voila – works everytime and makes the easiest to handle crust. I also use my KA silicone rolling pin and mat. Now I love making pie, and even volunteer. Thanks to Cook’s and King Arthur! Your peach pie looks fabulous, and I have an old cast iron skillet that I inherited from my mother-in-law; I will have to clean it up and make a fabulous peach pie.

    Thanks for the great input, Julie. Glad that Cook’s method works well for you. I tried the vodka thing and couldn’t detect any difference, so am saving it for my daiquiris. However, as I said – WHATEVER WORKS FOR YOU IS THE ANSWER!!! PJH

  21. sue dulle

    I am not a pie maker, cookies and cakes are my strength…but I am going to try this. I have two iron skillets that were my grandmother’s skillets and are well over 100 years old. It would be interesting to date some of these vintage skillets…Another day spent on the web.

  22. Al

    Cast Iron vs. metal vs. ceramic vs. glass pie pans. What works best for pie bakers to make best pie crust? I’ve always had better luck with glass vs. metal. I appreciate anyone’s input. I’ve been thinking of buying a ceramic pan and now I may consider cast iron in the mix too, if it makes a superior pie.

    Al, I think “the darker and hotter the better,” and for me that’s cast iron or anodized aluminum. Others may disagree. What do you day, folks? PJH

    Al – I’ve always had great success with stoneware. I like my stoneware since it is deep dish. I always be sure to place the pie in the bottom third of the oven since I have a conventional. Also, I begin baking my pies at a very high temperature, 400-425 degrees for the first 20-30 minutes and then drop the temperature down to 350 degrees to bake all the way through. And if I have time, I always like to chill my pie before I bake it. EFB @ KAF

  23. Jesurgislac

    I would never have thought of making a pie in a skillet! My favourite pie in the world is apple pie, but that trick of peaches and dried apricots together sounds so good. In response to Al, I agree that a metal pan, as heavy and as dark as you can get it, is the best: if you can find one with a removable base, this makes it much easier to serve.

    For me making an apple pie for dessert was something I was doing before I was 12 – it was just so easy, make the pastry, cut up the apples, bake in the oven… and the result, melting cooked apples with cinnamon and brown sugar, in a lovely crispy pastry shell, was just reliably delicious. The key thing about pastry was always to keep it cold.

    (My Tuesday Recipe posts on pie are Promises are pie crustand Pi, Phi, Pie, and Apple Pie,

  24. Sue

    I have 2 9in cast iron pans that I use only for baking. ( Love them for bread! ) I found that they keep a hint of whatever you used them for last. I have them hidden from the family in with my cake and pie pans.

  25. Marcia

    WOE is me, I am allergic to peaches, and living in Atlanta, GA, that is horrible. But, I do make blackberry pie in my late dear Father’s 9 inch cast iron skillet.

  26. Melissa

    I’m guessing the dried apricots may have another benefit: absorbing some of the extra liquid from the peaches, therefore helping to reduce any risk of sogginess.

    Didn’t think of that added benefit, Melissa – you’re absolutely right/ Thanks! PJH

  27. Loader Lady

    I have to ask, who made the cast iron pan? I have a collection of Griswold and Wagner pans and love to cook in them.

    Muffins are great if you preheat the cast iron muffin pan first, put your oil in to grease it and then the batter.

    Also, the Griswold and Wagner Society have great directions to eliminate rust and to season your cast iron.

    Hi – I have Griswold and Wagner, too, but this particular pan is unmarked… Thanks for the info. about seasoning. PJH

  28. wm1

    I like the sprinkle of sugar on top. I found a great vanilla sugar online at Juliet Mae Spices and I plan to top my pie with some, yum.

  29. Sandra

    My grandmother gave me my iron skillet 46 years ago right before I got married. I’ve used it constantly ever since but never for pie. That’s the next step–thanks for the idea!!

  30. HMB

    A tasty pie — even when you are in such a hurry making it that you forget the lemon juice and butter! Awfully firm though — I think I’ll cut back on the ClearJel when I try it again with the raspberries.

  31. Al (continued from my earlier post)

    I made the pie this weekend and if anyone is on the fence, it is a good recipe and pretty easy to put together. I made a couple of revisions and interested to learn what you think happened. First off, my baking method has always been pie on the bottom shelf, 400 degrees for 30 minutes and 350 degrees for another 30 minutes (this is Cook’s Illustrated method), and normally my bottom crust is crispy, brown and firm. This time my bottom crust was pale and frankly undercooked and therefore soft. Here is what I did differently: a. used ceramic (don’t think it’s stoneware) pan vs my normal glass pie pan, b. used new recipe for all shortening crust (my normal recipe is the misprint in Cook’s cookbook using loads and loads of butter, and c. I realize my rack wasn’t on the absolute bottom shelf, but was on the second to bottom shelf. So my question is which above scenario (or perhaps more than one) attributed to my soggy/soft bottom crust? It is difficult to determine what may have been the problem-maybe a combination of things. Please call our bakers hot line for help on this problem. Joan @ bakerhotline

  32. SB

    Many years ago, I tore a recipe (out of Family Circle, I think). It was for frozen peach and plum pie, and I have made it many times. In high summer, when the peaches and plums are in season, I prep the fruit, mix with sugar, lemon juice and some thickener (I use tapioca). Recipe makes filling for 3 pies: I just put the filling in foil pie plates, wrap well, and pop them in the freezer. Then in the middle of winter, I make the crust, put in the still-frozen filling, top with a lattice crust, and bake. It tastes just like fresh fruit, and is such a wonderful taste of summer when the snow is on the ground!

  33. Beth

    I made this pie for my husband the other night and he loved it!!! He has always said my homemade strawberry-rhubarb was the best, even better than his mother used to make, but now he has a second one in the race. Thanks for another great recipe and thanks for the cast iron idea – that worked beautifully.

  34. Barbara

    The pie looks wonderful.
    Growing up with cast iron, one of the things I learned early on to put a good seasoning on a cast iron skillet is to fry bacon in it often. The fat soaks into the pores of the iron and the heat seals it by turning it to carbon. The problem with a rough skillet is in the casting. New skillets are made in mold with corser sand as a casting medium. The older skillets were cast with much finer sand. That is why I don’t like the new cast iron.
    I have my grandmother’s and my mother’s skillets and I am a grandmother with grown grandchildren, so my cast iron is old.

  35. Bill

    I also have an ancient cast iron pan (inherited from my grandmother), and can’t wait to try this recipe. I recently purchased a peach pie at a small town bakery, and everyone raved about the flavor. My guess is that the pie had bitter almond oil in it. I’d like to try and reproduce the recipe–any thoughts as to how much bitter almond I should use? Would you recommend also using the vanilla?

    Yes, use the vanilla, since it’s such an all-around pleasing flavor. And add, I’d say, 2 drops to perhaps 1/8 teaspoon bitter almond oil? Stir the filling and taste as you go. Good luck – PJH

  36. Grey

    I love this.

    I’m so in love with pie, and realized early this week that I do not own a pie pan — I do, however, have a cast iron that my Nana left us. I may have to use that – this looks amazing. <3

    Agreed, Grey – go for the gold… er, cast iron. PJH

  37. Kate Vickers

    WOW! That looks incredible! It never would have occurred to me to bake a pie in a cast iron skillet. I am the family’s pie expert and have only used glass pie plates and glazed stoneware, sometimes unglazed stoneware for savory pies, like tourtiere or chicken pot pie. Just a tip, I fint that my pie crust is no fail EVERY time when I do it in my food processor. Canadian Living published a food processor pie crust recipe a few years ago and honestly it works great every single time. Here’s the link:

  38. Angela

    I have so many people around me that make incredible pies that I have been intimidated to make one myself but this has inspired me to try.

    You go, Angela!!! You can do it, I know you can… Remember, no one ever sees the mess you might have made of your crust, once it’s covered with filling. 🙂 PJH

  39. Jennifer

    Like Angela, pies have always intimidated me…so, I saw this recipe and for whatever reason I decided to go for it. I have never made a pie crust in my life, but with the help of this website my first peach pie was a success. It wasn’t the prettiest thing I have ever baked but it tastes good. It is good enough for company tomorrow night (they are bringing the vanilla bean ice cream, yummy)! When I make it again I think I’ll leave out the almond extract (I had to try a little tonight to make sure it was okay for guests), but all in all, I really liked it. Thanks again PJ!
    PS – I’m guessing it is okay to leave this out with a towel over it; it didn’t seem to make sense to put it in the fridge.

    Good for you, Jennifer! Yes, leaving it on the counter is fine, covered loosely, just as you did. I’m very proud of you – this fall, you can try an apple pie. And I think I’ll cut back the almond in that recipe – it does seem a bit overwhelming, doesn’t it? Cheers! PJH

  40. rick b

    I believe the cast iron skillet will prove to be an excellent idea. I am unfamiliar with the pie crust shield. I’ll need to research that.

    I have been dreaming of a rhubarb pie and now I have the impetus to give one a try.

  41. Rina

    Pies are my thing! Although I’ll have to admit being in New England, where Apple pies reign, I’ve never made a peach pie.

    Is that really a 9″ pan? … When I got my old cast iron pan out, it looked too small. The bottom identifies it as 9″ though. I think I’d prefer a 10′ pan.

    Yup, 9″ across the top, 8″ across the bottom. Worked fine. Enjoy – PJH

  42. Paul

    That looks absolutely delicious the food in those pics. You cannot beat a nice pie especially with a few dollops of vanilla ice cream.

    Wish I had a piece right now, Paul… 🙂 PJH

  43. flourchild

    I’m an experienced baker with 40+ years experience. IMHO, there are 3 bankable recipe sources: KAF, Ina Garten, and Cook’s Illustrated/Cook’s Country. Even then, I check out reviews to see the feedback. (Yesterday, for example, I wanted to make Ina Garten’s homemade orange marmalade. So glad I read the reviews since one viewer reported that the recipe online was vastly different…by 4 cups of sugar!…than the demonstration on TV.) So I read this one in advance and, although most commented on how good it looked and their intention of trying it, the few that actually made it had high praise. This has been my only flop using a KAF recipe. I thought it was because I used a stoneware deep dish pie plate but saw EFB made it in one. I followed the recipe to a T. I never veer off the first time, leaving my own modifications for later bakings, if any. The filling was obviously going to be too much for my glass pie pans so I used the stoneware. The filling hit right below the crimped edge so I felt it was perfect. I have an oven thermometer so I know the temperature was right as well. But I had to bake this much longer than the recipe calls for. Although the pie was bubbling at the edges, when I stuck a thin knife blade through the center hole I had cut from the top crust, the filling was still cold! It took double the time to bake it. The only thing I can think of is that the partially frozen peaches were not thawed enough? I don’t plan to try this one again. Even if I got it right, my husband and I weren’t crazy about the taste of the filling. Although I used 1 cup chopped, it seemed the apricots overwhelmed the peaches. Don’t know what I did wrong. All your recipes in the past have turned out beautifully for me!

    So sorry it didn’t work out for you, flourchild. Indeed, the peaches must have been too frozen, for them to still be cold after an hour in the oven. Glad you’ve had success with our other recipes, though- PJH

  44. Rina

    After seeing how much filling I had, I abandoned the cast Iron pan in favor of a deeper newly acquired Le Creuset stoneware pie plate. I had to bake it longer than specified before it started to bubble.

    Maybe my peaches were different or I didn’t thaw them enough, but they were rather hard and uncooked feeling and the filling was quite tart,… I was pretty disappointed, of course hubby eats anything that I make and loves it. Thank goodness that I went the extra step and sugared the top crust.

    Since we only ate 1/4 of the pie, I’m wondering if I can push a piece of aluminum foil against the cut edge to keep the rest intact, then tent the rest of the pie and put it back into the oven to bake some more? I’m sorry the recipe didn’t work out. You could try rebaking but the juices may run out leaving the filling dry. If you do try it, let us know how it comes out. Molly@KAF

    Hi Rina – Stoneware will bake much more slowly than cast iron, so that was probably the issue with the peaches being hard.
    As for tart – perhaps a difference in personal taste, or perhaps you had some extra-tart frozen peaches. And sure, go ahead and bake it some more. You might even try carefully transferring it out of the stoneware into a 9″ x 13″ pan, kind of arraying the top crust over the filling and flattening the whole thing down. It won’t look too pie-like anymore, but it’ll probably bake better – Good luck! PJH

  45. Rina

    I followed my hunch… put a folded piece of aluminum foil against the cut edge, then wadded up some more foil to pack against it to hold everything in place. Then tented the whole pie with foil and baked again… it took almost another hour before I was happy with it, the top crust lost some of its flakieness, but it is much improved…

    We enjoyed a piece with lunch…

    I think it was a combination of different peaches, the deep dish and the stone ware… I probably should have baked a familiar pie recipe in it for the first time. Thanks for your comments and advice.

    Glad you were able to salvage something out of the pie, Rina – thanks for reporting back. PJH

  46. flourchild

    PJH, hope it didn’t sound like I was blaming your recipe! I knew I did something wrong and I’m sure it was not defrosting the peaches enough. The rest of it… not liking the apricot overtones…is just a matter of personal taste. ALL of your recipes have been awesome and have made me a lot of money at the farmers market. Especially the mini German chocolate cakes! People will be waiting for May23 when the market opens not having had them all winter. Just wanted you to know I wasn’t blaming the recipe, just the baker! Also making Faux-reos for the opening as well. btw… I twittered in a reply to Trader Joe’s, letting them know I wasn’t happy about them taking KAF off the shelves! Of course, I will buy it at the local Kroger store. Just wanted to stir up trouble. Batter isn’t the only thing I’m good at stirring up! 🙂

    No problem, flourchild – just trying to diagnose what might have gone wrong with those darned peaches! I always wish I was standing right ther in the kitchen with anyone having a challenge – makes it so much easier. We might have to figure out some kind of Skype live baking thing… wouldn’t that be fun! Good luck at your farmer’s market. And THANK YOU for tweeting TJ’s. We appreciate your loyalty very much – PJH

  47. flourchild

    Went to TJ yesterday and asked for KAF anyway. I wanted them to get used to answering that question. They asked if I wanted theirs instead and I said no. The bag looks surprisingly like KAF’s. I’m wondering if they really think we won’t notice. I went in to buy Joe-Joe’s since I had never had any in order to have something to compare the faux-reos to. Wow…SKYPE would be fantastic! I get the same thing from my niece when she tries my recipes. She lives 2 hours away and I, too, wish I could be standing there so I know your frustration, since I can’t imagine what went wrong without seeing it. Thanks for helping me and I appreciate your product and your blogs. It’s so obvious you want us all to succeed and share your love of baking. It’s contagious!

    Thanks for staying connected here, flourchild – I always enjoy seeing your name in the comments! You can start Skype baking right away, if you both have computers that include that camera feature. I know there’s a group online that Skype-bakes already… PJH

  48. Hilary Cable

    Is to die for or what? I have 3 of my grandmother’s old cast iron skillets and haven’t used them in years. You’ve inspired me! The raspberry version is gorgeous. It looks like a sunset.

    Making the raspberry version tomorrow, Hilary; visiting a friend Saturday and she requested it. Got the skillet right by my backpack, ready to go to work with me… I’m glad you’re going to resurrect those old cherished skillets! PJH

  49. Ginnilee

    I’ve always had good luck with tart dough; it’s easier to work with, and, for someone with small hands and/or FMS, not as scary.

    One of my favorite pies or tarts is mixing peaches with dried Montmorency cherries from Trader Joe’s. Also works well for cobbler. 😉


  50. Katherine

    It’s kind of weird to hear that most people are super-afraid of making pies, when I make them all the time and consider them second nature–and yet CAKES, which most people consider easy, absolutely terrify me. Mysterious things full of leavening and frosting…

  51. Dana Curtis

    I have my grandmother’s cast iron pans. They are in dire need of a “little love” and I would be very appreciative if you could recommend a way to do it. Many thanks !

    Hi Dana – Try re-seasoning your pans. Coat your cast iron cookware with vegetable shortening (inside and out) and place in a 300 degree oven for one hour. Remove, and wipe off any liquified shortening. And after every use, lightly apply the inside with shortening or vegetable oil. That should do it! Elisabeth

  52. Nonnie Dahnke

    I use my cast iron skillet to me the most AWESOME cornbread! It’s a truly wonderful tool. I will use it to make pie this year – great idea!

  53. Libby

    I have a question. I am always told to oil or shortening the cast iron pan, but they end up sort of stick and feeling not at all clean. Do you have any idea what I’m doing wrong???
    You are correct, Libby. Try using a little less oil or shortening. A light coat is all it needs. Elisabeth

  54. D

    Love this little grammar nugget: “For instance, I got a call the other night from my mom, who loves pie as much as I (though not as much as me).”

  55. muse

    When I make pies out of fruit that is juicy and likely to become runny, I add in a half cup of chopped dried fruit.
    Great advice! Elisabeth

  56. Natalie

    Dearest PJ,

    Having experienced a resurgence of interest in cooking with cast iron, and the holidays being here as well, I’ve been thinking about making an apple pie (and shepherd’s pie, and sticky buns, and, and, and…LOL!!) in one of my lovely skillets. My only concern is I’m thinking the pie had better not be stored in the skillet. Not, mind you, that pie lasts all that long around here, but remembering that my Thanksgiving dressing began to discolor on the very bottom, pretty soon after we were done eating has me a bit concerned. What do you think?
    BTW, all your hints and tips are SO awesome! As a baker of many, many years experience, I never fail to learn something new and exciting every time I explore blog or website! Thank you!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I don’t recommend storing anything in the cast iron; it does react and discolor. You can always bake it for show and transfer it after the initial eating. Laurie@KAF

  57. Kathy

    I’ve been using frozen peaches when making a peach pie, I’ve made the pie twice and both times when I take the pie out of the oven it looks beautiful, I let it sit until the next day to slice, when I slice the pie to plate it looks great, the filling is slightly firm filling but when I do my tasting the peaches are a bit crunchy. I bake at 425 for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 375 for 40-45 minutes. I also remove the peaches from the freezer and place them in the refrigerator for a day to thaw and on the day I am baking I put the still slightly frozen peaches in a strainer for a few hours to finish thawing. Are peaches supposed to be a bit crunchy when baking a peach pie? If they aren’t what do I need to do to soften them up? Should I microwave them before baking? The peaches still hold their shape nicely after the pie is baked.

    Thanks for your help, Kathy

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      HI Kathy,
      Yes, you may want to cook the peaches a bit to get them softened in the center. They should be firm, but not crunchy. ~ MJ

  58. Ann

    what am I doing wrong… when I bake my pies in the cast iron pan the bottom of the pie is gross… mushy wet. I preheated my oven to 400 degrees for an hr and then backed it back down to 350
    what in the name of Mike am I doing wrong…??

    1. Susan Reid

      Ann, do you have a pizza stone? Putting your cast iron pan on a hot stone will help the bottom to set. Do you have a thermometer in your oven? If it’s running low, that could also be part of the problem. No reason not to try preheating to 425°F next time; quick, high heat for the first part of the bake is the best way to set the bottom crust. Susan

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