Here's one of my many secrets: I'm addicted to the cookbook section at the library. It's such a great way to check-out those big fancy coffee table cookbooks that you'll never buy. You know, like Thomas Keller's AdHoc at Home or Heston Blumenthal's The Big Fat Duck Cookbook. Actually, the one I really want is Magnus Nilsson's The Nordic Cookbook, but I haven't found that one yet at the library.
So, yeah, usually, I'm all about checking out those big glossy cookbooks, but the other day it was a black-and-white spiral bound nearly pictureless cookbook that grabbed my attention. I checked out Cook's Country America's Best Lost Recipes and was immediately fascinated by some of the crazy-sounding recipes. I mean, Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake?!?! Apparently, it's really good.... but I'm still skeptical, too skeptical to attempt to degluten that one.
But, there was one recipe that intrigued me enough to attempt: Peach Puzzle Pie. I thought the puzzle part had to do with how the pie comes apart into pieces and each piece has it's own peach, like a circular peach puzzle. Seemed like a stretch, but ok. Buuut, as I read on, it turns out that the puzzle is actually waaaay cooler than that. The "puzzle" has to do with how a melted-butter-brown-sugar-peach sauce ends up magically in an upside down ramekin. Say, whaaaattt???
You make the Peach Puzzle pie by placing an upside down ramekin in the center of a pie plate. You surround the ramekin with a circle of peeled whole peaches. Pour a melted-butter-brown-sugar sauce over the top and then cover with a pie crust. Bake the pie, let it rest and flip the entire pie dish over... and here's where the magic happens... perfectly cooked peaches nested in buttery pie crust and a ramekin FULL OF BUTTERY SWEET SYRUP!
I'm not kidding. I think it's some sort of science vacuum thing that makes it work, but whatever the reason, it is DELICIOUS. I admit that not all of the sauce ended up in my ramekin, but that did nothing to dampen the magic or the flavor.
This pie is best served warm and probably at the table if you really want to show off. Which, duh, of course, you do! Let your guests pour the sweet syrup over their slice of pie themselves.
Gluten-Free Peach Puzzle Pie, serves 7-8
- DOUGH RECIPE
- 1.25 cup gluten-free flour (be sure your blend includes xantham gum)
- 2 TBSPs granulated sugar
- 1 TBSP baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 5 TBSPs unsalted butter, chilled & cut into 1/4" cubes
- 6 TBSPs whole milk
- PEACHES & SYRUP RECIPE
- 7-8 ripe peaches, peeled (not hard and not too soft)
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 6 TBSPs water
- 2 TBSPs unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
Since we're making this gluten-free and gluten-free dough is sometimes tricky and more temperamental, I recommend starting with the dough so you can have a little extra time to let it rest in the fridge before rolling it out. Pull out your Cuisinart and quickly pulse together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to combine. Add chilled cubed butter and pulse until mixture becomes more coarse, almost like sand. Turn mixture out into a medium-sized bowl. Use a rubber spatula to fold milk into mixture. Fold and press together until a ball of dough forms. Cover with saran wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Add brown sugar, water, butter, vanilla extract & salt to a small pot on your stovetop. Stir occasionally on medium to medium-low until sugar dissolves. Meanwhile set a 6-oz ramekin upside down in the middle of a 9" pie plate. Organize peeled peaches in a circle around the ramekin. Pour melted sugar syrup over peeled peaches.
Remove pie dough from fridge and roll out on a lightly-floured surface & between a layer of parchment paper. Roll dough into a 9" circle and drape gently over your wreath of syrupy peeled peaches. Do not attach dough to the pie plate. Let it sort of hug the peaches and stay within the edges of the pie plate... not on the top of the edges.
Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 25-35 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and let pie plate cool on a rack for 30 minutes. Once cooled, place a large serving dish over the top and quickly invert the pie plate. Cut into slices-- each person gets a peach-- and drizzle syrup that has collected in the ramekin over each slice. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.