YWPWT-#1: James and the Giant Peach Pie

by Holly on October 8, 2008


Well, today is the day. The very first day of posting for the new fun pie event taking the food blog’s by storm – You Want Pies With That?

OK, so, maybe not taking it by storm, but it certainly is fun and everything starts small. Don’t forget to check out all the other participants movie themed pies today and watch for the next theme to be announced.

I decided to go with the one and only fruit pie I actually love. Peach. This comes about mainly because, though Summer is pretty much over, we had a late harvest here in Utah because of the crazy Spring weather. Which means, you can still get some peaches right now around these parts. I think I am going to end up missing making my usual batch of peach jam this year (just too busy to spend a whole day jamming), but thankfully I’ve made some batches of cherry, pear and plum to hopefully hold me through Winter.

Anyway, back to the pie. For the first YWPWT? Event the theme was all about pies inspired by your favorite movie. Well, we have been on quite a Roald Dahl kick at our house for the past few months started by Aidan watching James and the Giant Peach for the first time.

I didn’t think he would like it because he usually gets creeped out. Well, he did get creeped out, but oh, was I wrong. He LOVED it!! Loved it. Loved the movie, wanted to watch it over and over. Then, after that, started the obsession. I said, “You know, this guy wrote a lot of other books too.” So, off to the library we went. We read The Twits and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (which will be soon followed by Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator when we can get our hands on it) and eventually we’ll check out one of my personal favorites, The BFG. Now, I realize those are all originally books, not movies, but what brought this pie about was thinking about what started it all. Now, I could have picked a movie I love, but I don’t really get to watch grown-up movies anymore, so I went with one of Aidan’s favorites.

So, even though I thought about doing something chocolate, since I just did the Chocolate Chess Pie to announce the event, I decided to do something rather unexpected for me and go with fruit. Fresh peaches are best for this pie, but you could make this from bottled peaches as well if you wanted. Cutting the leaves out of pie dough rolled slightly thicker is a really fun way to make a really pretty top crust for a pie and isn’t really hard at all. I’ve even done this just around the edges of a one-crust pie to cover up my total lack of pie-edge-crust-fluting-skills (don’t know why I never get it right, but I don’t, so there you go – my dirty little secret is out – pie crust as cover-up).

After yesterday’s lousy day, I knew I’d better show up here today with something sweet. Speaking of sweet, thank you all for your hugs and support with my lame and crappy attitude yesterday. I’ve wanted to try to keep things pretty positive here, but sometimes life just has other ideas. I really appreciate you all showing me some love anyway! You all are the very, very best!


Peach Pie with Leaf Crust
(Adapted from Baking: Easy-to-Make Great Home Bakes, Hermes House, Contributing Editor Carole Clements)
2 1/2 pounds ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons butter, diced

For the Crust:
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 Tablespoons cold shortening, cut in pieces
5-6 Tablespoons ice water
1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon water, for glazing

For the crust, sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the butter and shortening and cut in with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

With a fork, stir in just enough water to bind the dough. Gather into 2 balls, one a little larger than the other. Wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F with a baking sheet placed on a rack in the center of the oven.

Combine the sliced peaches with the lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg and cinnamon. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the larger dough ball to about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan and trim the edge. Place this in the refrigerator to chill while preparing the leaves.

Roll the remaining dough 1/4 inch thick and cut out leaf shapes about 3 inches long. Make ‘veins’ with the back of a knife by pressing lightly into the dough. Roll a few small balls with remaining dough for a center accent.

Brush the bottom of the pie in the pan with the egg glaze. Add the peaches, making sure to pie them so the peaches are piled higher in the center. Dot the peaches with butter.

Start with the leaf pieces from the outside edge and cover the peaches with a ring of leaves. Place a second ring above, staggering the positions. Continue with rows of leaves until all the peaches are covered. Place the little dough balls in the center and brush with egg glaze.

Bake for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 35-50 minutes more, until golden.

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Engineer Baker October 8, 2008 at 6:05 am

We’re there with perky attitudes, whenever life gets you down 🙂 And I love love this movie and all the books – I read them over and over growing up. Fabulous choice.

Judy October 8, 2008 at 6:40 am

What a gorgeous pie! It was a favorite book of my girls.

Peabody October 8, 2008 at 7:09 am

What a beautiful leaf pattern. It is a gorgeous pie.

The Food Librarian October 8, 2008 at 12:11 pm

Beautiful!! I love the leaves.

Chavi October 8, 2008 at 12:29 pm

That is teh most glamorous looking pie ever!

Madam Chow October 8, 2008 at 12:43 pm

Absolutely beautiful, and what a great author Dahl was!
Madam Chow

Susie Homemaker October 8, 2008 at 1:43 pm

Please tell me you didn’t cut that pie…It’s gorgeous!!

Elizabeth October 8, 2008 at 1:47 pm

After all of those comments about how pretty it is, I’m sad that I can’t see the pictures (stupid, ancient work pc)! However, I love the idea!!! Such a great inspiration.

rainbowbrown October 8, 2008 at 1:49 pm

I love the idea of peach pie. Never had it though…
I have always liked the idea of James and the Giant Peach. Never read it (or seen the film(s?)) though.

I know, I know. I will, I will.

Di October 8, 2008 at 1:53 pm

What a gorgeous pie! I love peach pie, and I love the way you did the leaves on top.

Rachel October 8, 2008 at 2:23 pm

That pie is gorgeous! And inspired by a great story.

vibi October 8, 2008 at 2:25 pm

Woahhhh… Stop the traffic, I wan’t see this!
It is absolutely sublime! Worthy of the best cooking magazines… I’m sure even Martha would be jealous! LOL
I’m floored!

Prudy October 8, 2008 at 2:55 pm

What a beautiful pie! I love the leaf top.
If you get a chance, the Dahl book “The Witches” is really fun to read at Halloween time. The book is not too scary, but the movie is one to skip.

Melanie October 8, 2008 at 2:59 pm

Your pie is stunning, Holly! And what a great idea to read those great classic children’s books to Aidan – I’m going to have to try it with my boys, too.

Linda October 8, 2008 at 3:16 pm

WOW…really stunning pie, with that gorgeous leaf pattern! What a way to take advantage of the tail end of peach season.

Deborah October 8, 2008 at 3:28 pm

Ok, I am SO stealing you idea for making pie crusts pretty now!! I cannot – for the life of me – make a pretty fluted pie crust. I always get so embarrassed, but now I will just do leaves! What a gorgeous pie!!

April October 8, 2008 at 5:04 pm

Your pie looks so pretty!!

Dianne's Dishes October 8, 2008 at 5:05 pm

Look at that crust! Your pie looks amazing!

bakingwiththeboys October 8, 2008 at 5:26 pm

One of my favorite books as a kid – great choice. The Pie? Is gorgeous!

Natashya October 8, 2008 at 5:56 pm

That is beautiful! I love the leaves. Peach pie is one of my faves.

Mary Ann October 8, 2008 at 6:20 pm

One of my favorite authors of all time. Your pie is absolutely beautiful. I hear you about those Utah peaches. They are good! I used the last ones from our tree on this endeavor! SO pretty! I bet it was wonderful!

Megan October 8, 2008 at 6:53 pm

Beautiful work on the pie. It looks fabulous!!

Tammy October 8, 2008 at 8:14 pm

Fabulous pie!!! I havent seen the movie but love the book. Your pie looks beautiful!

Mevrouw Cupcake October 8, 2008 at 9:06 pm

Your pie looks so beautiful! What a detailed and meticulous job you’ve done, I’m so impressed!

lemontartlet October 8, 2008 at 10:37 pm

What a crust! Have I ever told you how inspiring all of your posts are? you really help me every day to push myself further to do better, I adore your blog and you especially.

Allergy Mom October 8, 2008 at 11:05 pm

That’s beautiful! Did you use a cookie cutter or hand cut all those leaves? Libby

tami October 9, 2008 at 2:04 am

WoW! What a work of art 😉 Great job! It looks so delish!

Jaime October 9, 2008 at 5:15 am

wow! that is literally the most beautiful peach pie i have ever seen! 🙂

Rebecca of "Ezra Pound Cake" October 9, 2008 at 3:16 pm

Lovely! This is my nephew’s favorite movie, and he’s a pie-eating machine, so I can see you pie in my future. 😉

Gretchen Noelle October 9, 2008 at 5:26 pm

These are absolutely gorgeous leaves on top of this pie! Lovely job!

kate October 9, 2008 at 11:31 pm

so pretty!!!!

do you bake, like every day? how are you not the size of a house? seriously, who eats all these luscious treats you make? they’re just awesome!

Shari@Whisk: a food blog October 11, 2008 at 2:54 pm

What a gorgeous pie!!

Anne October 14, 2008 at 4:38 am

What a beautiful pie- I’m so jealous of the fresh Utah peaches! Dahl is one of my favorite kids authors, too. It’s great to see kids enjoying his books. I can’t wait to see the pies for next month!

TeaLady October 16, 2008 at 1:51 am

I have only one word for your pie. WOW!!! This is a beautiful pie. Wish I could do that. Fabulous.

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