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  • Perfect Peach Pie

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  • 2 3/4 pounds (about 8 medium; 6 cups sliced) peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into 16 slices each
    1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar (4 ounces)
    Pinch salt
    Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust recipe, for a 9-inch, 2-crust pie (see accompanying recipe)
    Flour, for dusting work surface
    4 teaspoons cornstarch
    1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
    Place the sliced peaches in a large bowl. Sprinkle them with the lemon juice, then the sugar and salt; toss to coat evenly. Let them sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
    Place a colander over a small saucepan; transfer peaches and any collected liquid to colander. Almost 1 cup of liquid should be captured in saucepan. Place saucepan over medium-high heat; cook for about 12 minutes, or until juices have been reduced to a syrupy 1/3 cup. (Alternatively, liquid can be poured into a microwave-safe measuring cup and microwaved on HIGH for 12 minutes, stopping to check its progress a few times in between.)
    Twenty minutes before you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove pie plate with (unbaked) Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust from refrigerator; discard plastic wrap.
    Ten minutes before assembling pie, remove second disk of pie-crust dough from refrigerator.
    Cover work surface with a large pastry cloth and lightly dust with flour. Cover a rolling pin, preferably chilled or cool, with a cloth cover and roll the dough into a circle about 1/8 inch thick by 12 inches in diameter. (Alternatively, roll the dough between 2 large sheets of plastic wrap.) Dough should be smooth and cool.
    Return peaches to large bowl and add the cornstarch and almond extract; toss gently to coat until all traces of cornstarch disappear.
    Pour reduced syrup over peaches and toss gently; do not worry if it hardens on contact with fruit. It will dissolve during baking. Pour peach mixture into pie shell.
    Use a little water to wet rim of bottom crust. Carefully fold top-crust dough in half, and then again into quarters; transfer to filled bottom crust and gently unfold on top of peaches. Tuck overhang under bottom crust edge and press down all around top to seal it. Crimp edges in a decorative fashion and cut four, 3-inch slits in crust to vent steam.
    Create a protective shield for edge of pie crust (to prevent overbrowning) by lightly crimping a ring of aluminum foil over it. Place pie on oven's floor to bake for 20 minutes, then transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Adjust an oven rack so it is on oven's lowest level, place baking sheet with pie on that rack and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until juices bubble thickly through slits in top crust and peaches feel tender but not mushy.
    Transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least 3 hours before cutting (pie will still be warm after 4 hours). Store pie at room temperature for up to 2 days.
    Makes 6 servings.
    — Recipe from "The Pie and Pastry Bible," with adaptations from its author, Rose Levy Beranbaum.
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