What’s definitive proof that a recipe is a good one? It’s been approved by Sarah Carey, the OG of Martha Stewart’s test kitchens.
The internet is so cluttered with food bloggers these days that when a strikingly gorgeous photo of a luscious peach pie blows up your Instagram feed, it can be hard to tell whether it’s a trustworthy recipe or a total hack job created by an inexperienced baker who’s only “doing it for the ’gram.”
But Zoë François is not your average food blogger. Aside from creating the food blog Zoe Bakes, she has co-authored several best-selling bread cookbooks. Before that, she was an ice cream maker for Ben & Jerry’s, earned her pastry degree from the Culinary Institute of America and worked as a pastry chef at several restaurants.
And now, she has created a peach pie recipe that’s inspiring everyone who’s lucky enough to find it ― including the influential Carey.
Part of the genius behind François’ Perfect Peach Pie with Lattice Crust is the timing: It’s summer, and everyone in their right mind wants a slice of peach pie right now. But the real key to the success of François’ recipe is the accompanying Insta Story (which you can still see here, because she archived it) that breaks down some brilliant keys to pie-baking perfection.
First, she solves the whole soggy-bottomed-pie issue with a simple solution: Instead of letting ripe peaches release their juices inside the pie, she first drains them over a strainer for 30 minutes, then thickens the juices with cornstarch. It creates a smooth, velvety blanket that prevents the juices from leaching into the bottom crust.
“I used to have a hard time keeping my fruit pies (especially stone fruits and berries) from becoming soup in a soggy crust,” François told HuffPost, “so I like to cook off some of their juices and thicken it with the starch before baking. It gives the crust a fighting chance at staying tender and flaky. The pie is also sliceable without having to add way too much binder.”
Secondly, François explains how to freeze an entire unbaked pie so you can enjoy it up to a month later.
She acknowledged that when you freeze a whole pie, it does take a bit longer to bake ― but her advice is to just keep an eye on it in the oven and wait until every last bit is bubbling to know it’s ready. Otherwise, there’s really no downside to freezing unbaked pies, she said.
“It is so worth the extra baking time to have a peach pie at the ready after the peak of the growing season has slipped by,” François said.
Just hours after François posted the recipe to Instagram on Sunday, Carey sniffed out the recipe and immediately baked (and storied) the pie herself.
“I was so excited and impressed that Sarah had one baked [within] hours of my posting it,” François said. “She’s a rock star.”
Carey provided a ringing endorsement, calling it “one of the best pies I’ve ever made!”
When it comes down to it, François doesn’t credit the pie’s greatness to anything fancy. It’s all about simplicity.
“If you start with really ripe, sweet peaches, they don’t require a bunch of spice or other ingredients to improve them, they’re perfect on their own,” she said.
To make the peaches really sing, François recommends peeling off their skins (watch her Insta Story instructions). You can cut a small X into the end of each peach, slip them into boiling water for about a minute, and then plunge them into an ice bath. The skin will peel right off.
Get the full Perfect Peach Pie with Lattice Crust recipe from zoebakes.com and find out what all the fuss is about.