Is there anything more succulent than a fresh peach, perfectly ripe? Maybe not, but I'll tell ya-- our peach pie comes awfully close!
We use about two and a half pounds of fresh peaches in every pie. We only make this summer treat if we can get our hands on juicy, ripe, flavorful peaches... and it's been a tough peach crop the last couple of years, so it's been a while.
This year the Peach Truck came to town, bringing with it an amazingly huge haul of some of the best peaches I've ever eaten. Our kitchen manager Bridget stocked up, purchasing 500 pounds of perfectly plump peaches. Over the course of the week, the intoxicating scent of peaches filled our kitchen and all of us were up to our elbows in peach juice as we pitted and sliced them, prepping our pies.
Before we began all this prep work, we wondered "to peel or not to peel?" We've always peeled them, but lately we've been inspired by my friend Amy Emberling and her team of bakers at Zingerman's Bakehouse in Michigan. They have been on a quest to reduce their food waste and as a result have questioned a lot of their assumptions about which parts of the produce are "the good parts" and which go into the compost bin. They've inspired us to ask questions of our own and this summer we looked at that mountain of peaches and thought of how much typically gets wasted in the peeling process and thought, "what if...?"
We love to learn through experimentation, so we tried it out! We baked one peach pie using peeled peaches and one using unpeeled. Once the pies were cooled, we conducted blind taste tests to determine the better pie and SURPRISE-- the "au natural" peach pie was the hands-down winner.
Turns out, leaving the peach peels on the fruit not only drastically reduces food waste but yields a much "peachier" flavored pie and heartier texture. We were pleasantly surprised to find not a trace of the expected "fuzziness"- just a robust, juicy, flavor-filled pie. As an added bonus, the peels contribute a lovely blush color to the filling-- so sexy! (see the pic of sample "slivers" below)
I so hope you'll try a slice of our peach pie next time you're in the shop (or pre-order a whole one!) and tell me what you think. I'd also love to hear about your own peach adventures...email me directly at eat(at)muddysbakeshop(dot)com
Lastly, think for a moment-- what's an assumption you hold? - maybe something that falls in the category of "that's just how we do it". What experiment can you conduct to test the assumption? You may be pleasantly surprised!
Have a peachy keen day!
PS. the official details of our peach pie... loads of succulent peach slices tossed in honey and a pinch of cinnamon and a squeeze of lemon baked in our signature all-butter crust and topped with a sprinkling of cinnamon-sugar; slice $4.45, whole pie $27 Get 'em while they last!