Big, family-sized pies tend to get all the summer dessert glory, but when it comes to picnics and backyard barbecues, I actually favor single serving hand pies.
Sure, it’s a little more work to make a batch of hand pies than to make one large one, but the little guys are easier to transport and easier to eat.
Use a paring knife to score the bottom of each peach in a crisscross pattern, then blanch the peaches in boiling water until the skin starts to peel back (it’ll take about 30 seconds).
After that, just plunge them into ice water and the skin should slip off easily. This method also works well with tomatoes.
Then, cut the peaches into half-inch cubes, toss them with sugar and fresh lemon juice, then drain them. This step serves several purposes. The sugar not only sweetens the peaches, it also pulls out excess liquid, ensuring that the peaches won’t sog up the pastry during the baking process. The lemon juice points up the peach flavor even as it keeps the fruit from oxidizing and turning brown.
A word of caution: Given how many times this recipe calls for the chilling of the dough and the pies, you may be tempted to skip these steps. Don’t do it.
Chilling is key to making sure the butter in the pastry stays cold, which is key to the production of a light and flaky crust.