Thursday, October 6, 2011

Iowa Recipes: Classic Peach Pie

I'm so fortunate to live within a short drive of a couple apple orchards.  One of my favorites, Center Grove Orchard in Cambridge, sends out a weekly newsletter during its fall apple season.  From the orchard's email newsletter, I learned that the farm was offering home-grown peaches for the first time this August.  I couldn't resist stopping by the orchard to buy a few peaches.

Iowa-grown peaches are a bit of a rarity.  From what I've heard, peach trees grow best in southern Iowa, right along the Missouri border.  But there are a few peach varieties that can handle the cold winters better.  The peaches available at Center Grove Orchard were smaller than the grocery-store variety.  But they were very sweet and good for eating.  I decided to bake the peaches into a pie.

Pretty peaches from Center Grove Orchard
The Iowa-grown peaches were tiny, even smaller than a medium-size apple.
 I'm still trying to improve my pie-making skills.  One of my biggest challenges is trying to avoid a "runny" fruit filling.  King Arthur Flour's "Baking Sheet" newsletter, which I subscribe to, recently had a few tips on using different thickeners in pie fillings.  I actually prefer to use tapioca as a thickener.  I like the texture of the little beads of tapioca, although usually they aren't too noticeable.  King Arthur Flour recommends using 1 tablespoon of tapioca for every 1 cup of fruit.

I also followed the advice from the Kitchn and let the peaches sit in sugar for 15 minutes, then drained off some of the juice.

Well, the pie turned out great!  It definitely wasn't soggy, but I may have added too much tapioca because the pie filling was "solid."  It had a Jello-like texture, although that made it easier to slice.

Not the prettiest pie, but at least it looks homemade.

The Iowa peaches were perfect for pie.  Here's an easy recipe I found in an old Iowa State Fair cookbook.  Give it a try next summer when peaches are in season. If you can find Iowa-grown peaches, even better!


Classic Peach Pie
  • 4 to 5 C. Iowa-grown, tree-ripened peaches, sliced
  • 1-1/4 C. sugar
  • 3 T. tapioca or cornstarch
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 T. butter or margarine
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • Pastry for double-crust 9-inch pie
Combine peaches, sugar, tapioca or cornstarch, salt and lemon juice.  Set aside 15 minutes.  Spoon into pastry-lined pie pan.  Dot with butter or margarine and sprinkle cinnamon on top.  Cover with top crust or lattice top.  Cut slits in crust for steam to escape.  Bake in 400 degree oven 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for an additional 40 minutes, or until golden brown and filling is bubbly.  Cool 1 hour before serving.


  1. Very nice! My husband claims "Iowa" peaches, like he had as a boy, are the best.

  2. The peaches really were excellent. I went back to the orchard the next weekend to buy more. Now if only I could find a pear tree somewhere...

  3. What a great looking pie! Never heard of Iowa Peaches before, so great to use local produce!

  4. The tapioca trick is new to me...good to know! I love when pies can be neatly sliced like yours :)


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