Purple Peach & Blackberry Pie

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Photo by Emily Murphy
Photo by Emily Murphy

What happens when you pair purple peaches and blackberries in pie? Only the most amazing mouthful of summer.

Dare you ask what’s a purple peach?

Photo by Emily Murphy

We generally find white or yellow peaches at the market. Both are wonderful, especially when they’re perfectly ripe and fragrant. There are many cultivars that fall within the general categories of white and yellow peaches. Some are considered freestone fruits, where the flesh separates easily from the pit, while others are semi-freestone, or clingstone. Clingstone peaches behave as the name implies, the flesh adheres to the pit or stone — the seed at the center of the fruit.

What we rarely see are peaches that trend past white and yellow to crimson and purple, but they exist! There are over 300 peach varieties grown in the U.S. and over 3,000 peach varieties grown world wide.

Photo by Emily Murphy

The purple peaches in this recipe are actually a variety commonly called blood peaches, Cherokee peaches, Indian blood peaches, or blood cling peaches (because they’re a clingstone and “Cherokee” because the Cherokee tribe are reportedly the first to find purple peaches growing in North America). They have deep crimson, velvety skin and a flesh to match. They’re more meaty and dense than a typical peach and are considered exceptional for baking and canning. However, they’re just as sweet as a yellow or white peach when perfectly ripe and tart to sweet when just underripe.

We generally don’t find blood peaches in the market because when they’re perfectly ripe they’re incredibly fragile. Look for them at your farmer’s market, roadside stands, or grow your own if you live in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 8 and you have plenty of chill hours in winter. I found the peaches pictured here at my farmer’s market and the grower suggested I cook with them in 2 to 3 days. They were fairly firm, but already had a fabulous fragrance (I always test peaches by smell before buying or eating them).

I gathered the blackberries for this pie from wild plants with my mom. Read more about our picking adventure on my Instagram feed.

Photo by Emily Murphy

Purple Peach & Blackberry Pie

I love this recipe because it’s sort of a no-recipe recipe, it calls for a handful of ingredients that I generally keep stocked in my cupboards, and it’s always divine.

The trick is to trust yourself and taste test while mixing the fruit, sugar, and cinnamon. Not all fruit is created equally. If you’re fruit is super sweet, why add lots of sugar? If you love the flavor of fruit when it’s slightly tart, why add lots of sugar? Basically, only add as much sugar as necessary to heighten flavor rather than mask it. Peaches are in season for such a short period of time, don’t waste a mouthful — enjoy every bit of it! 😉

The crust recipe listed here can be swapped out for any crust recipe. Gluten free, dairy free, you name it. I like this one because it’s a nice balance between buttery and flaky, and heart healthy and easy to roll out.

What You Need

Crust

  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 Tbsp oil of choice (I use olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup ice water

Filling

  • About 6 large peaches, 7 medium peaches, or 8 small peaches (or about 3.5 lbs)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon *optional but nice for keeping fruit from browning
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar (or more or less depending on personal preference)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or more or less depending on personal preference)
  • Pinch of salt *optional
  • Cornstarch *optional
  • 1 cup blackberries or blueberries
Photo by Emily Murphy

What You Do

  • Make your crust by first combining the flour and salt in a large bowl.
  • Stir in oil and butter and mix well.
  • Add icy cold water and stir until your dough is consistent.
  • Split the dough into two even portions, shape into rough disks, and pop into the fridge.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

Make your filling while the dough chills

  • Wash and chop peaches into wedges. There’s no need to peel the peaches. Use the whole fruit. It’s all wonderful.
  • If using lemon, squeeze over the fruit and stir.
  • Stir in the sugar starting with 1/4 cup, tasting, and adding more as needed.
  • Do the same with the cinnamon, starting with 1/4 tsp.
  • Because blood peaches are dense, I opt to not use thickeners like cornstarch or tapioca. However, if substituting with a different peach or fruit and/or you prefer a thick pie add 3 Tbsp premixed cornstarch now.
  • Mix ingredients until well coated then set aside.
  • Wash berries separately and set aside.

Tricks for rolling out dough

  • Clean your surface and make sure it’s completely dry before sprinkling a small area with flour.
  • Rub flour on your rolling pin.
  • Roll dough by working from the center out to the edges, working in a circle so dough is even and just large enough to fill the bottom of your pie pan.
  • Gently fold dough in half, scoot the pie pan next to the dough, lift and place dough in pan, unfold, and center.
  • Stretch edges of the dough so they extend up to the edges of your pie pan.
Photo by Emily Murphy

Fill your pie

  • Spoon fruit mixture into your pie pan then sprinkle berries over the top.
  • Roll out the 2nd portion of dough in the same fashion as the first and place over your filling or you can get fancy and cut it into strips and weave the strips over your filling.
  • Pinch dough together at the rim of the pie pan and place on a central oven rack.
  • Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes and then increase heat to 400 F and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the crust begins to brown.
  • Pull from the oven and let cool for at least an hour before serving.
  • Try pairing with vanilla ice-cream and port or ice wine.

So good! This pie is unforgettable – a memory in the making.

Photo by Emily Murphy

Other articles you might enjoy:

How to Make a Cold Processed Fruit Shrub

Make the Best Ever Blueberry Pie

Grow Your Own Herb Tea Garden

*Note, the depth of purple to crimson color of blood peaches depends on soil, heat, water, and the combination of these environmental factors. You may find blood peaches at your farmer’s market but they may appear to be streaked with red instead of deeply red like the peaches featured in this article.

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