honey bourbon caramel peach pie

honey bourbon caramel peach pie

Make. This. Pie. Now. Honestly, I don’t know much else to say about it except just tell you to drop whatever you are doing and just make it this weekend. For the 4th of July weekend. You know, an American pie for an American holiday. I know (yawn) how Patriotic and assimilated of me! But honestly, no one loves a holiday centered around picnics, barbecues and cookouts more than me. I swear, I live for these things!

I know that the saying goes “as American as apple pie”, but in the summertime, no one wants to bake with apples when there’s so much other in-season fruit around. Cherry pie, blueberry pie both seem to come to mind more readily than apple pie does, especially this time of year. Berries shine in summer pies – while apples are better suited for fall baking.

fragrant and ripe

If berries aren’t your bag, or if, like me, you’re always conflicted as to whether you want to eat the berries as they are, or cook with them, consider peaches. I can’t think of a scent more evocative of summer than that of ripe peaches filling the room. Beautiful, ripe, fragrant, full of sun and hot, sticky summer air, peaches often deliver their finest arias after being cooked. rather than on their own. Though, never underestimate that first bite into a ripe peach, its juice running down your arm. Baking peaches gives them a lovely, sunny, caramel sweetness.


When I made this pie, I followed most of the instructions, but of course, couldn’t resist adding a little bourbon to the caramel. I was going about my business, making the pie, when I heard the bourbon in my cupboard call out to me, whispering sweet, seductive nothings into my ear. And when there’s an opportunity to add bourbon (hee-hee, ha-ha!), I am unable to resist. I file this behind the I-know-a-good-thing-when-I-see-it tab. And bourbon, like Martha would say, is a good thing, indeed.

making honey bourbon caramelbutter

I bet many of you have holiday plans this weekend and are going to picnics, barbecues, cookouts. I bet you might even have to bring a dish with you. Why not this one? True, you have to make pie dough ahead of time. But really, the whole thing comes together rather quickly especially if you skip the blanching process, which I did, because I was ridiculously short on time and pulled the pie together in under an hour (that’s with crust being made the day ahead – which, by the way, took like 15 minutes!)

It’s funny how with some dishes, I’ll have a story for you and with this one I am so excited about this pie, that’s pretty much all that’s coming to mind. I think you should make this and I know you will love it. Except that I know how many of you feel about making your own crust. I get more questions about crusts and anxiety about making them, than perhaps any other cooking insecurity. And I am far from being an expert.

honey bourbon caramel, poured

Believe me, I know where you are coming from. Until this very pie, I was in the same boat, afraid of making my own crust, nervous about how it’ll turn out. I finally figured it out and I’ll share what I’ve learned with you. But my very first pie crust was a serious fail. A historic, memorable, go-down-in-history-to-scar-you fail. It gave me crust anxiety for years to come. Of course, it doesn’t help that I chose to make my first crust on the hottest, most humid day of the summer. And you know – pie crusts and humidity are mortal enemies. Crusts like to be cold and summers like to be hot and muggy. And with all this abundant, ripe, beautiful fruit in the summer, we have a conundrum. We want a beautiful, flaky, buttery crust – and it absolutely refuses to cooperate? Happen to anyone lately?

all butter pastrycoarse meal texture
making all butter pie crustthis is what you want your dough to do

My very first pie crust, was an abomination. It tore, refused to roll out and just about melted in my hands. It didn’t help that I was a nervous wreck around it and didn’t work quickly enough. Crusts are like dogs – they smell fear and my crust, sensing I was petrified, showed me who’s boss. The whole thing still is traumatic enough to make me shudder. But please just trust me when I say this – a beautiful, delicious, flaky, homemade pie crust is well within your reach. If you want to give it a go – you can absolutely do it! Here are a few pointers that I hope should help to guide you along.

I also think that Deb over at Smitten Kitchen has an indispensable primer on pie crusts – definitely check it out!

all butter pie dough

So here are my few thoughts on what can make your pie-crust-making life a lot less painful. Hope this helps.

Cold butter

First of all, this might sound silly, but as soon as you cube your butter, please shove it back in the freezer and give it a few minutes’ sitting time. While you dump all the other ingredients into the food processor (does the job that much faster – hence keeping it all colder!) – your butter gets a little colder after you touched with your warm hands.

foldedpie dough
the overhangbrushing with milk

Not overworking dough
Until I saw the picture of what the dough should look like, I had no idea what coarse meal really meant. I’ve included a few pictures for you, including how it looks before and after being pinched – so you can do your own ready-test.

making vents

Chill whatever equipment you can
I chilled my rolling pin in the freezer. Every little bit helps, you see.

honey bourbon caramel peach pie

Rolling Dough Out – keep it quick
Finally, I figure out how to roll out the dough. Short, purposeful movements from the center to mid-point of your disk (never to the end) as you flatten the dough. Continue to dust with flour to prevent sticking.

honey bourbon caramel peach pie

I hope this helps and I hope you all have amazing holiday weekends full of delicious food, fabulous parties and lots and lots of sun! Happy 4th of July!

Honey Caramel Peach Pie
Adapted from Gourmet, July 2009

Any kind of mild honey will work beautifully here. It will cook into a rich caramel, which coats the peaches and deepens their sweetness.

Pie Filling Ingredients:
3 lb ripe peaches
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided

Honey Bourbon Caramel Ingredients:
1/4 cup mild honey
2 tbsp bourbon
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

All-butter pastry dough (recipe below)

1 tablespoon whole milk

Pie Preparation:

1. Cut an X in bottom of each peach, then blanch peaches in batches in boiling water 15 seconds. Transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to stop cooking. Peel peaches and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges. [My note: I skipped this step, I was really short on time, and I just sliced the peaches, skin and all – the result, heavenly. I don’t think the book club ladies minded at all!]

2. Toss peaches well with cornstarch, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.

3. Put a foil-lined large baking sheet in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 425°F.

4. Bring 1/2 cup sugar, honey, and bourbon and water to a boil in a 1 1/2- to 2-qt heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then wash down any sugar crystals from side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Boil without stirring, swirling pan occasionally so caramel colors evenly, until dark amber, about 5 minutes.

5.Remove from heat and add butter, swirling pan until butter is melted. Pour over fruit and toss (caramel may harden slightly but will melt in oven).

6. Roll out 1 piece of dough (keep remaining piece chilled) into a 13-inch round on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim excess dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Chill shell while rolling out remaining dough.

7. Roll out remaining piece of dough into an 11-inch round on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin.

8. Transfer filling to pie shell, mounding it. Cover pie with pastry round. Trim with kitchen shears, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Press edges together, then crimp decoratively. Brush top all over with some of milk, then sprinkle with remaining Tbsp sugar. Cut 3 steam vents in top crust with a paring knife.

9. Bake pie on hot baking sheet 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Continue to bake until crust is golden-brown and filling is bubbling, about 50 minutes more. Cool pie to room temperature, 3 to 4 hours.

All-Butter Pastry Dough
Makes enough for a double-crust 9-inch pie

Crust Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup plus 1 to 4 Tbsp ice water

Crust Preparation:

1. Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl (or pulse in a food processor). Blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse) just until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps. Drizzle 1/3 cup ice water over mixture and gently stir with a fork (or pulse) until incorporated.

2. Squeeze a small handful of dough: If it doesn’t hold together, add more ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until just incorporated, then test again. Do not overwork dough, or pastry will be tough.

3. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 8 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather dough together, with a pastry scraper if you have one, and press into a ball. Divide in half and form into 2 disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.


  • Dough can be chilled up to 1 day. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes before rolling out.
  • Recipe can be halved if making a single-crust pie. Use a rounded 1/4 tsp salt and start with 3 Tbsp water.

    • Amanda

      Despite my reservations about baking at this time, I feel compelled to bake this bad boy. The lure of peach, caramel and honey is just too much for me. I officially call a truce with my kitchen standoff.

    • Whitney

      This looks delish.
      I still suck at pie dough. I don’t have a full sized FP only the one on top of a blender base which doesn’t help.

    • Michaela Harlow

      Oh that looks so good. I love your recipes and your stories. I can not wait to try it… right after your delicious recipe for strawberry shortcake, (my Fourth of July favorite). Sassy Radish you are indeed queen of temptation. :) Thank you for the wonderful pictures and thorough instructions.

    • maggie

      Don’t baked peaches just smell incredible? Your pics of this on flickr inspired me to throw together a last-minute peach galette. Not as pretty as this, but tasty and FRAGRANT…

    • Silke

      Oh,this looks delicious! I will make it tomorrow – I was going to make a peach pie anyway and now I am going to try yours! Thank you!! :) Silke

    • sara

      This pie looks AWESOME! I have already committed to sour cherry pie for the Fourth, but after that I am totally making this one!!!! Yum. :)

    • maris

      This sounds great! Does the strong bourbon overwhelm the peaches? I love peach desserts but I would think that they would get lost in the strong flavors of bourbon.
      Either way – I think this looks like a winner!

    • Marcy

      I made this last night and ate it tonight and OHHH MYYY! It is so good. I did not have any bourbon so I used Grand Mariner. It was so good with homeade vanilla bean icecream. You are such a diet crasher.

    • Silke

      I baked it yesterday for our 4th of July celebration with friends and it was amazing!!! Soooo good! We ate it with vanilla ice cream and it was divine! Thank you!! :) Silke

    • radish

      Maris, the bourbon actually enhances the flavor, I think. And I didn’t add very much, just enough to enhance the caramel flavor.
      Sharbear – not sure about cobbler – I think if you have a good cobbler topping, it’s worth a try. I’m a fan of cobbler.
      Silke – I’m thrilled! I loved this pie – such good flavors, perfect for a summer picnic/cookout.

    • Jodi

      I’ve been anticipating Ontario’s upcoming peach season with plans to make a peach and dulce de leche pie. Maybe next year. This pie has moved to the top of the list.

    • radish

      Don’t be. I used to be one and it’s REALLY not as bad as it sounds. If I can do it, ANYONE can. A few tries – and you’ll go from crust wimp to a crust pro!

    • Vanessa

      Looks so good! I can’t wait for you to cook for us… wait, did I just volunteer you to cook for us?

    • Alejandra

      I’ve never been much of a pie fan. I know, that’s odd. But when I *do* eat pie, I like there to be peaches in it. And this version looks particularly delicious. I think you just may have made me change my mind about pie…

    • radish

      Becky, I pulled out all stops I know. Plus – caramel. Always gets my attention.
      Vanessa – I would be delighted to cook for you guys. Especially after that insanely good bbq – I’m still raving about it.
      Alejandra – sometimes pies are just the thing – and peach pies are just heavenly! :) Glad you might change your mind. Another convert!

    • Lisa (dinner party)

      Your directions make it sound so simple, but I suck at pie dough too. And I have no counterspace to roll anything out, which doubly sucks. Maybe I’ll cheat and make this in a pre-made shell without an upper crust. Think it could work?

    • radish

      EB – pie dough crusts are like dogs, i swear! :)
      Lisa – premade pie dough has worked for me in a pinch! so absolutely. But if your kitchen allows for a stand (mine’s stainless steel top where i do all of my cooking, i highly recommend getting it.

    • Andrea Wong

      The pie looks divine! I can’t wait til it’s NZ’s turn for summer again. I’ll have to make sure I get my fancy food processor by then eh?

    • Irene

      Oh, gosh, that’s giving me serious pie envy! I made my first pie (and pie crust) recently and, while the flavor was great, the crust was not flaky enough. It was really hot and things melted instantaneously, and yes, my pie crust smelled fear. Pie crust = 1, Irene = 0. But you know what, I decided not to complicate my life with worries about pie and we ate it anyway. :) Thank you for the fantastic tips, your pie crust looks absolutely perfect! I love the combination of peaches and honey (and well… bourbon, hell yeah).

    • Yael

      Been thinking about making this ever since I saw the title… maybe today. Who knows.
      By the way, do you think it’ll work with figs, as well? Our fig trees are overflowing. And the flavours seem like they can fit, but I’m not sure.

    • Lisa A

      Thank you,SR, for this recipe!
      I have made it three times, and each time I have been told it is the BEST pie that they have ever eaten! One person just came up to me, plate of pie in hand, whimpering, pointing to the pie, and whimpering some more….pie’d speechless…high praise indeed :-)
      It is a pretty easy pie to pull together. Only change I made was to the crust, mixing 1/3 cup water with 4 tbsp half & half, and adding it to the flour/butter mixture.as well as a sprinkle of cinnamon to the dry ingredients…flaky, yummy crust indeed!

    • Yael

      This is probably not gonna reach you in time (especially since it appears at the bottom of a wave of spam), but I am making this pie today, and suddenly realised we don’t have a pie-dish. I am trying to think of possible replacements, but I’m a bit nervous about using a regular cake pan (especially since the smallest we have is around 24cm – about 9.5″ – and also seems deeper than the dish in your pictures) or a tart pan (also larger than 9″, but shallow – maybe too shallow?). Neither seem exactly right.
      If you do see this over the next few hours, can you offer any advice on this? I’d hate to ruin a pie this awesome.

    • Yael

      Well, update:
      Used a regular cake pan (about 22cm I think, with removable bottom, which turned out to be a very good thing), and the pie was incredible. :) Huzzah!

    • Ken Topham

      This is an AMAZING recipe! LOVED it in every way. Delicious and will recommend time and again. Can’t wait to make again and share with others.

    • Katie

      I’ve been looking for a good bourbon peach pie recipe, and this one looks like it might be the winner. I think I’ll go straight home and try it out.

      As for pie crusts…I’ve been making pie crusts completely without fear since I tried Cook’s Illustrated foolproof pie crust recipe which was published in the November 1, 2007 issue. The main secret to this recipe is replacing some of the water with vodka. Gluten, which helps to make a fantastic pizza crust and a lousy pie crust, forms easily in water but not at all in ethanol. By replacing some of the water with vodka (40% ethanol, 60% water) your dough will retain the correct wet/dry ratio but with less of the gluten forming water. It looks like a similar recipe might be published in the September 2010 issue.

    • Radish

      Katie – I have also tried the vodka version and have to tell you, that I am an all-butter girl through and through. Or butter and some rendered leaf lard. But I found my all butter crust worked better than the Cook’s Illustrated Version. You just have to work quickly and not overwork the dough.

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