Aunt Melba's Peach

Aunt Melba's Peach
Andrew Thomas Lee

Full disclosure: neither of us actually has an Aunt Melba. Rather, the combination of peaches, raspberries, caramel-y turbinado sugar, and vanilla are inspired by the classic peach Melba dessert. We sometimes name new recipes after fictitious relatives when entering them in contests to give them an air of authenticity. This fairly traditional lattice-topped pie was certainly a good candidate for such attribution. Does it help? Maybe or maybe not, but it certainly keeps us entertained!



  • Pie dough for a Deep-Dish Double Crust
  • 9½-inch deep-dish pie plate
  • Pie crust shield or foil
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)


  • 8 cups peaches, peeled, sliced into ½-inch wedges – frozen, from approximately 4 pounds whole fresh peaches (48 ounces / 1,361 grams)
  • 1 scant cup freeze-dried raspberries (0.5 ounce / 15 grams)
  • ¾ cup turbinado sugar (5.25 ounces / 150 grams)
  • ¹⁄⁸ teaspoon salt  
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch (0.5 ounce / 15 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (0.55 ounce / 15 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream (0.5 ounce / 15 grams)


  1. Roll out the first disc of dough (the larger of the 2 discs) to a ⅛-inch thickness and place in the deep-dish pie plate. Place the pie plate with the untrimmed pie dough in the refrigerator.
  2. Roll out the second disc of dough into a rectangle approximately 16 by 10 inches, l⁄₁₆ inch thick. If you have rolled it on a silicone mat, transfer the dough to a piece of parchment. Using a ruler, cut the dough into 1-inch-wide strips. Slide the parchment with the cut strips onto the back of a half sheet pan and place the pan in the refrigerator until the strips are firm, about 15 minutes.
  3. Weave the dough strips into a lattice and place back in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the pie.
  4. Thaw the peaches in a colander, collecting the juices in a large bowl. This amount of peaches should produce about 2¼ cups of liquid. Once the peaches have completely thawed, set aside ¼ cup of the peach juice and pour the rest into a medium saucepan. Bring that liquid to a boil over medium-high heat, and simmer until it is reduced to ¾ cup, about 15 minutes. (If you are not very good at estimating volumes by eye, you may need to pour your reduced liquid into a glass measuring cup to confirm). The reduced juice will be thick, dark, and syrupy and can be removed from the heat.
  5. Grind the freeze-dried raspberries in a spice grinder or small food processor until reduced to a powder with seeds. Use a fine-mesh sieve to remove the seeds and add this powder with the sugar and salt to the reduced peach liquid, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  6. Stir the tapioca starch and cornstarch into the reserved ¼ cup peach juice and then add it to the saucepan with the reduced peach juice mixture. Bring the mixture back to a boil; after a few minutes, you’ll notice streaks of thickened juice in the liquid—don’t worry, this is the tapioca starch thickening first (tapioca starch thickens at a slightly lower temperature than the cornstarch). Keep stirring; once the liquid comes to a boil, the cornstarch will thicken too and the liquid will transform from thin and cloudy into a rich, clearer dark gel. Remove from the heat and fold in the raw peaches and vanilla. Transfer this mixture into the bottom of the pie that has been chilling in the fridge.
  7. Place the completed lattice from the refrigerator on top of the pie; the heat from the peaches will start to soften the lattice. With the pie on a turntable (or on a flat work surface), start pressing the bottom and top crusts together, rotating the pie as you go. Keep rotating and pressing until the top and bottom are malleable and sealed (don’t try to crimp too-cold dough—it will crack). Trim the excess and roll the edge under. Crimp it decoratively and place the pie in the freezer for 20 minutes while heating the oven to 425°F with the oven rack placed in the lowest position.
  8. Lightly beat the egg white with the cream until combined but not frothy. Brush this egg wash over the top surface of the pie. Place the pie on the lowest rack of the oven. Immediately lower the temperature to 400°F. After 15 minutes, add a pie crust shield to protect the edges and then rotate the pie. Bake until the pie is golden brown and the pie liquid starts to barely bubble at the edges, about an additional 40 minutes, rotating the pie again halfway to brown evenly.
  9. Remove the pie from the oven, place on a cooling rack, and allow it to cool to room temperature before slicing. The pie is great by itself, but also pairs very well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. (Leftovers can be stored, covered, at room temperature for up to 3 days.)

Reprinted from The New Pie: MODERN TECHNIQUES for the Classic AMERICAN DESSERT. Copyright © 2019 by Chris Taylor and Paul Arguin. Photographs copyright © 2019 by Andrew Thomas Lee. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

^ TOP ^