An extraordinary dessert…
It’s peach season and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than with a pie! It does take some effort but it’s totally worth it when you’re rewarded with the taste of fresh summer peaches encased in crisp buttery pastry & sweet crumbly streusel.
Don’t be put off, it really is a spectacular pie…
It will feed a crowd and you can put it together quicker by making both the streusel topping & pastry ahead of time. For recipes I turned to my cookbook collection and some trusted sources; the pastry and streusel recipes both are from Dorie Greenspan while the filling is from James Fobel.
Streusel topping & kitchen memories…
A particular favourite my mother used a lot in baking, anytime I now make streusel I’m transported back to her kitchen for not one, but two memories. The first is to a one-layer cake she made that had streusel on top, and raisins in the middle. Still not a fan of raisins ‘in things’ I would pick them out and put them in a little pile. I’d pick also off the streusel – which of course was gobbled up. You’re probably wondering if I ate the cake, and I’m pretty sure I did… I can still remember the looks mom was giving me, as I dissected her culinary efforts. (p.s. I do believe that later in life I apologized for it…)
The second memory is again in mom’s kitchen, and although many years ago is still very clear. My little nieces were visiting and when showing signs of restlessness, I got them into the kitchen to help make a peach streusel coffee cake. I hope their memories are as fond as mine of not only the fun we had making the cake together, but the pure delight on their little faces to see them enjoying it afterwards. I also remember the looks of pride from my mom, as she observed the next generations busily and happily in her kitchen!
Making the pastry…
I followed the recipe suggestions and highly recommend that you also do! It made everything easier, from the rolling to the baking, and resulted in the best pie pastry I’ve ever made!
- Roll out the dough immediately after making it, between two sheets of parchment paper (easiest method ever – you won’t believe it!)
- I also froze it, once in the pie plate. It chilled out literally, for 2 days, before I had time to finish the pie.
- I par-baked the crust, before filling and finishing the pie. It took extra time, but the results speak for themselves!
Putting it together, in pictures…
Peach Streusel Pie
- 1/3 cup (67 grams) sugar
- Finely grated zest of 1 orange optional
- 3/4 cup (102 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3/4 stick 6 tablespoons, 87 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Sweet Tart Dough
- Makes enough for one 9-inch tart crust/pie shell
- 1 1/2 cups (204 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (60 grams) confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 9 tablespoons (4 1/2 ounces or 128 grams) very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg yolk
Peach Pie Filling
- 6 - 8 large peaches about 6 ounces each
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into bits
Make the streusel:
Put the sugar in a medium bowl. If you’re using the orange zest, sprinkle it in with your fingers and work the two ingredients together.
Add the flour & salt and mix together using your fingers.
Drop in the butter and again using your fingers, combine until crumbly; it should climb pressed together in your fingertips. (make ahead, and keep covered in the fridge)
Make the sweet tart dough:
Add the flour, sugar and salt together in the bowl of a food processor, pulse a few times to combine. Drop the pieces of butter in the food processor and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long 10 second pulses until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Turn the dough out onto a work surface
To finish you need to fraisage - a French term to fully bring the dough together. Separating small piles of dough and using the heel of your hand, smear the dough a few inches across the counter. Once you’ve done this to all the dough, it’s very easy to form it all together in a disk.
Place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper, and roll to 12-inch round, lifting and turning dough occasionally to free from paper. (You can also roll this out between two pieces of plastic, though not as easily) Using the paper as an aid, turn dough into your buttered tart pan/pie plate with removable bottom; peel off paper. Seal any cracks in dough, by pressing them together. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold overhang in, making double-thick sides. Pierce crust all over with fork.
Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
To par-bake the frozen crust preheat the oven to 375° F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use non-stick foil) and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 20 to 25 minutes. (I par-baked without foil or weights, but the shell had been in the freezer for 2 days!)
Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Bake the crust for another 5 minutes longer to fully bake it, or until it is firm and golden brown, brown being the important word: a pale crust doesn’t have a lot of flavour. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature, and proceed with the rest of your recipe.
Finish the Pie
Preheat oven to 425° and butter a 9-inch pie plate (or tart pan).
Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add two peaches and blanch for about 30 seconds, then dip in a bowl of cold water for a few seconds. Peel and cut into slices about 1/2 inch thick; you will need about 5 cups.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeat and salt; stir together until blended. Add the sliced peaches, lemon juice and butter bit and stir gently to combine. Spoon into the lined pine pan.
Sprinkle evenly with streusel and place in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° and bake for another 20 - 25 minutes, until golden.
Cool on a rack. Serve as is or top with softly whipped cream or ice cream.
*it does seem like a lot of work but it's well worth the effort; if you make the streusel & pastry ahead putting together this spectacular pie easier.