The Recipe: Anyone else happy to save both time and calories? I thought maybe so! That means Peach-Pie Pudding (say that three times!) is for you. It's all the glory that is summer’s very best peach pie, except without the crust!
The Conversation: What's the "state of pie" in America? Hint: It won't surprise you.
Four years ago, we drove a pickup across six states on a pie odyssey, seeking out fresh homemade pie in small-town cafes, roadside truckstops and local dives.
I’m sad to report, there’s just one word for the “state of pie in America”: abysmal. We stuck our forks into one forgettable pie after another. It was only the last night, at a pricey white-tablecloth place where the pastry was worth every single calorie.
Now I make a mean pie crust (à la How to Make Flaky Tender Pie Crust) – and I do, for special occasions – but mostly, really, it is better to avoid the carbs and the calories that come with crusts. Still, my Midwestern heart longs for pie, especially in summer when the fruit is so heady and sweet.
So last summer this idea struck me: why not skip the crust entirely and convert pie filling to pudding? We’d just devoured a Fresh Peach Pie and a few ripe peaches sat on the counter. Perfect: guinea-pig peaches! My first experiment was a hit, soft peachy peaches, but with some firmness and structure left.
I can’t speak for America but here in my kitchen, let the Pie to Pudding Odyssey begin.
HOW TO DICE WHOLE PEACHES I like to dice the peaches whole, holding the peach in my left hand, cutting each half into six slices right to the pit, then inserting the knife around the circumference, cutting each slice in to three pieces.
FROM PIE to PUDDING:
Time to table: 2 hours
- Water to cover
- 6 ripe peaches or nectarines
- 1/2 cup sugar (Splenda works great)
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- Zest of an orange
- 1 cup orange juice, preferably fresh-squeezed
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- To serve, Greek yogurt and toasted almonds, optional
BLANCH PEACHES Bring water to a boil. A couple of peaches at a time, drop peaches into boiling water for 1 minute. Lift out with a slotted spoon and repeat with remaining peaches. When peaches are cool enough to handle, slip skins off with your hands, then dice the peaches.
COOK ORANGE SAUCE In a saucepan, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and orange zest, slowly add the orange juice. Turn heat to medium and cook slowly, stirring often, until sauce thickens. Remove from heat, stir in butter and almond extract.
COMBINE Stir peaches into sauce, let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled.
TO SERVE Top with a little Greek yogurt and a few slivers of toasted almonds.
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