It’s getting pretty late in peach season, but on the other hand it is getting late enough that the idea of turning on the oven and baking a pie is feasible. And this is so good it would be worth turning on the oven for even in the heat of summer.
There are a lot of stages to this, but none of them are difficult. You could bake the pie crust and make the custard the day before if that was useful, but don’t put the custard in the crust until you are ready to proceed. If you wanted to emphasize the coconut you could also replace the milk with coconut milk.
2 hours – 50 minutes prep time, plus time to cool
Make the Pastry:
1 1/3 cup soft whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter or lard
3 to 4 tablespoons very cold water
Measure the flour into a small mixing bowl and stir in the salt. Cut in the butter or lard until the size of small peas, then stir in the water, one tablespoon at a time with a fork, until you can press the mixture together into a ball. It is better to work it a little to get it to form a ball than to add too much water, but nevertheless, work it as little as you can.
Form the dough into a ball, cover it, and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Roll the dough out on a floured board or sheet of parchment paper to fit a 10″ pie plate. Transfer it to the pie plate and neaten up the edges and prick it all over with a fork. Bake at 375°F for 12 to 15 minutes, until firm and very lightly browned.
Make the Filling:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups light cream
1/4 cup soft unbleached flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 extra-large egg yolks
500 grams (1 generous pound) fresh peaches
Put the butter and cream into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat gently until the butter melts and the cream begins to steam – I give the butter a small head start before I add the cream.
While the butter and cream are getting acquainted, mix the flour, sugar, and salt in the top of a double boiler. Whisk in the egg yolks until the mixture is smooth – put the whites aside in a smallish mixing bowl for now.
When the cream and butter are steaming, let them cool for a few minutes. Begin to mix them into the egg yolk and sugar, a little at a time, whisking well to keep the mixture smooth. Continue adding and mixing until they are all well combined.
Heat the mixture over boiling water, whisking frequently at the beginning and constantly as the custard begins to thicken, until it is thick. Scrape it at once into the prepared pie crust and spread it out smoothly.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Peel the peaches, and cut them into 8 or 12 slices each. Arrange the slices in 2 circles pressed lightly into the custard. Bake the pie for 30 minutes.
Make the Topping:
3 extra-large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup coconut sugar or Sucanat or dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon soft unbleached flour
1 cup fine unsweetened dessicated coconut
Meanwhile, add the cream of tartar to the egg whites, and beat them until soft peaks form. Sprinkle the coconut sugar and flour over them and beat again, until stiff. Fold in the coconut.
When the pie has baked for half an hour, remove it from the oven and immediately spread the topping evenly over it. Return it to the oven and bake for another half hour.
Let the pie cool completely before cutting it.
Last year at this time I made Chicken with Roasted Grapes.