Peach & Koloa Rum Pies

It's hard to believe that Summer is winding down already. (After all, with the kind of heat we get here in California, the feel of summertime can extend all the way to October...) Yet, here we are halfway through August. Vacation is over, Jon is enjoying kindergarten, and Labor Day is right around the corner. Appropriate to blast Lana Del Ray's "Summertime Sadness" everywhere I go? I think so...

But before I completely give in to the blues, I'll be damned if I don't sneak in a few more fruit recipes! The days of the locally grown, picked-daily stuff are numbered, so I'll be trekking out to my neighborhood farmers markets and the fruit stands down the road while I still can. Today also happens to be National Rum Day, bringing some extra oomph to the phrase T.G.I.F! These Peach & Koloa Rum Pies are a tasty treat to keep the feel-good Summer going and a way to enjoy what's left of the season's bounty. Ripe peaches and tropical rum make a juicy filling inside a flaky buttermilk pie crust.

When picking a fruit for my pie filling, I thought about which in-season fruit that I just had to cook with at least one more time. The sweet peach came to mind immediately. I always remember the full peach and nectarine trees growing in the backyard when I was a kid. Actually, I was tempted to just slice a few up, toss 'em into a big bowl, and call it a day...but "Bowl of Sliced Peaches" doesn't sound nearly as fun as "Peach Rum Pies"...

This recipe begins by peeling and slicing 3 large peaches. (And by "large", I mean, "Wow, these are bigger than my fist. Okay.")

Depending on your presentation preferences, you can either keep the peaches sliced or dice them into smaller pieces. For me, dicing made it easier to divide the filling.

Next, add some dark brown sugar and cornstarch. The natural sweetness of the peach can shine all on its own, so I added a minimal amount of sugar, but brown sugar adds a hint of spice that pairs so well with the rum.

And, at last, it's time to add the rum! Hints of vanilla and caramel!

Little history lesson: I love to use the Kaua'i Spice Hawaiian Rum from Koloa Rum Company. (You may remember seeing it in a couple of recipes on the blog already. Banana-Jackfruit Rum Sauce, anyone?) The Hawaiian sugar cane industry is deeply rooted in the island of Kaua'i and the town of Koloa. Last year, I wrote about the Kaua'i Made program (which the company is a part of), a little history on plantation workers, and my experiences while plantation tubing. I was able to dip into the brisk, refreshing water that streams down from Mt. Wai'ale'ale, the very mountain that supplies the Koloa Rum Company with its water for distilling. They take pride in being able to handcraft premium, award-winning Hawaiian rum from local ingredients, especially Kaua'i's "tall cane" that grows in volcanic soil. (To read more about the unique process, read this piece from Tasting Kaua'i.) Although the sugar cane industry in Hawai'i has significantly diminished, Koloa Rum Company aims to conduct their own renaissance. In every cocktail and recipe that you use their rum, you get a little bit of Hawaiian essence in every sip and every bite.

Not a bad way to keep the feel-good Summer going, right? An island twist on a classic pie...

Finally, mix all of the ingredients together with a spoon. The juices and rum will thicken into a yummy, syrupy goodness.

Then, scoop equal amounts of the filling onto prepared pie crusts (about 7 inches wide each). Leave enough room around the edges to seal.

After folding over the dough and crimping with a fork, brush the tops with a touch more buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar. Cut small slits across the top so that steam can escape while baking.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, and the crust becomes a beautiful golden-brown.

I made these pies while Jon was in his kindergarten class, so Jacquelyn was my little helper that morning. Opting for something other than the typical slits, she decided to cut little hearts into her pies. She said, "Baking with love!" :)

Peach & Koloa Rum Pies have a crust that is a golden crisp on the outside, yet it has a tender bite. The peach and rum filling is sweet, juicy, and oh-so-Summery. Also, the individual portions make them easy to wrap and transport, so they're perfect for picnics or BBQ's! Enjoy a sunny afternoon with an equally delightful dessert! So go ahead...Grab a basket of peaches at your next market visit, and treat yourself to a bottle of Koloa Rum :)

Peach Rum Pies (makes 8 individual pies)

Print Recipe
1 1/2 cups Vegetable Shortening
3 cups All Purpose Flour
1 large Egg, beaten
5 tbsp Ice Cold Water
1 1/2 tbsp Buttermilk
3 large Peaches, pitted, peeled, & sliced/diced
1/4 - 1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar (depending on sweetness of fruit)
1 tbsp Cornstarch
1 tbsp Spiced Rum
1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

Buttermilk, for brushing
Sugar, for topping
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the shortening and flour. Blend the two ingredients using a pastry cutter, until the mixture is a coarse meal and there are no large chunks of shortening left. Add the beaten egg, cold water, and buttermilk. Knead the dough with a wooden spoon or a spatula, until all of the ingredients are incorporated. (The dough should be smooth and not sticky.) Divide the dough into 4 balls, wrap with plastic or place in a ziploc bag, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  2. While the dough is chilling, prepare the peach-rum filling. In another large mixing bowl, combine the peaches, brown sugar, cornstarch, spiced rum, and vanilla. Mix with a spoon or spatula to combine evenly. Set the mixture aside until the juices become thick and syrupy.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. To prepare the pie crusts, cut each dough ball in half. On a floured surface, roll out each section into small circles about 7 inches in diameter. Spoon 1/8 of the filling onto the center of each pie crust. Next, fold the dough over the filling and crimp the edges with a fork to seal. Cut slits across the top of each pie, then brush the tops with buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar. 
  5. Bake the pies at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. The outsides will be golden-brown. Transfer the pies to a wire rack to cool slightly.
  6. Serve with freshly whipped cream or scoops of ice cream. Enjoy!