I love peach season! I just wish it lasted longer. As we approach all things pumpkin-spiced, I used the last peaches of the season to make one final peach pie. Peach crumble, actually, because . . . brown sugar and butter!
When asked what my favorite pie is I always answer “apple” to keep it simple. But I confess, when it comes to summer fruit, peach crumble pie is my number one.
Speaking of favorites, last week I did a Facebook Live event with some of my favorite authors — Paula McLain and Patti Callahan Henry. We were hosted by our mutual favorite friend, Ron Block, of the Cuyahoga County Public Library in Cleveland. We talked about our latest book projects, and we also made peach-based food and drink. Wonder what I made? Pie, of course. During the event, Patti Callahan Henry demos how to make crumble topping, and I demo how to make the crust. Here’s a link to the event — https://www.facebook.com/CuyahogaLib/videos/322326998970821/ (also embedded below). My recipe for peach crumble pie is below as well.
Peach Crumble Pie
Basic Pie Dough (for a single-crust pie)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, chilled and cut into large chunks
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
1 1/4 cups flour, plus at least 1/2 cup extra for rolling
Dash of salt
Ice water (fill a full cup but use only enough to moisten dough)
1. In a deep, large bowl, work the butter and shortening into the flour and salt with your hands until you have almond- and pea-sized lumps of butter.
2. Then, drizzling in ice water a little at a time, “toss” the water around with your fingers spread, as if the flour were a salad and your hands were the salad tongs. Don’t spend a lot of time mixing the dough, just focus on getting it moistened. Translation: With each addition of water, toss about four times and then STOP, add more water, and repeat.
3. When the dough holds together on its own (and with enough water, it will), do a “squeeze test.” If it falls apart, you need to add more water. If it is soggy and sticky, you might need to sprinkle flour onto it until the wetness is balanced out. The key is to not overwork the dough! It takes very little time and you’ll be tempted to keep touching it, but don’t!
4. Now divide the dough in two balls (or three, if your pie dishes are smaller) and form each into a disk shape.
5. Sprinkle flour under and on top of your dough to keep it from sticking to your rolling surface. Roll to a thinness where the dough almost seems transparent.
6. Measure the size of the dough by holding your pie plate above it. It’s big enough if you have enough extra width to compensate for the depth and width of your dish, plus 1 to 2 inches overhang.
7. Slowly and gently—SERIOUSLY, TAKE YOUR TIME!—lift the dough off the rolling surface, nudging flour under with the scraper as you lift, and fold the dough back. When you are sure your dough is 100 percent free and clear from the surface, bring your pie dish close to it and then drag your dough over to your dish. (Holding the folded edge will give you a better grip and keep your dough from tearing.)
8. Place the folded edge halfway across your dish, allowing the dough of the covered half to drape over the side. Slowly and carefully unfold the dough until it lies fully across the pie dish.
9. Lift the edges and let gravity ease the dough down to sit snugly in the dish, using the light touch of a finger if you need to push any remaining air space out of the corners as you go.
10. Trim excess dough to about one inch from the dish edge (I use scissors), leaving ample dough to make crimped, fluted edges.
8 to 10 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced (number of peaches depends on size of fruit and size of your pie dish)
1 cup sugar (or less if peaches are really sweet)
1/4 cup tapioca
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional, but I love it)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, chilled and cut into large chunks
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1. Prepare the Basic Pie Dough for a single-crust pie.
2. Prepare the Peach Filling.
3. Prepare the Crumble Topping: In a large bowl, rub together the flour, butter, and brown sugar—and rub and rub and rub—until the texture feels like various sizes of marbles.
4. With both hands, distribute the crumble topping over the top of the pie. Do not press down on it, as you don’t want your crumbs to look flat. It’s a good idea to place a cookie sheet or oven liner under this pie when baking, as a few bits of the crumble topping may roll off into the oven.
5. Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes, until browned.
6. Turn down the heat to 375 degrees and continue baking another 30 minutes, or until the filling bubbles, the peaches soften, and the juice thickens — really thickens!
BETH’S TIP: For a chunky crumble topping, rub the flour, butter, and brown sugar between your hands as if you were rolling ball bearings. It’s the circular motion of the rubbing that will create the little round chunks. Pick it up in handfuls, rub, rub, rub, let it fall back into the bowl, and repeat, repeat, repeat. Be patient and just enjoy the process, as it can take a while to get the desired texture.
Overworking the crumble topping will turn it into a melted mush. To remedy this, either add more flour or refrigerate it. After it gets cold, you can break it apart into a crumbly texture. Conversely, underworking the crumble topping will result in a texture that is too fine. In this case, just keep picking up handfuls of it and roll it between your hands until the desired texture is achieved.