Summer of 2016: pie goals!!
Can I tell you something weird? When I was making this brown sugar peach pie, Kevin told me that the crumble resembles ground beef. Then proceeded to call it the beef pie the entire time the leftovers were in the refrigerator.
But I was all like:
It tastes like feet!
I like it!
Are you serious?
What’s not to like? Pie crust, good. Peaches, good. Beef, GOOD!
Disclaimer: this is a reference to Friends and this pie does not taste like feet, nor does it have ground beef in it. I’m very sorry if all of this nonsense has ruined the pie for you.
Let’s move on. I had some trouble with this pie! It took me 4 different attempts to create a peach pie filling that wasn’t weighed down with flour, but still kept its shape. As well as a peach pie that didn’t turn into a sloshy mess from the butter in the crumble melting down. And one with prominent brown sugar flavor, but not being overly sweet. AND finding the best peaches: firm, but ripe.
This is all a taller order than one might think!
After about 8 days of recipe testing– and 4 peach pies later– I cracked the code. The filling is sturdy with plenty of juicy peach chunks throughout. The crumble keeps it shape, while some of its butter melts down creating an even richer peach pie filling experience. Because eating this homemade peach crumble pie is most certainly an experience to savor this summer.
The BEST peaches for peach pie: Slightly firm (not hard) with zero bruises and soft spots. I find that organic peaches have the best texture for peach pie, so keep that in mind when you’re shopping if you don’t pick them fresh. Your best bet is to purchase about 9-10 firm peaches, then let them sit in a paper bag for 1-2 days to slightly ripen. They should be good to go at this point. Some may have soft spots after this time, so that is why I suggest buying a couple more than you will actually need. Eat the others!
Now here’s the real trick: Cut the peaches into chunks, not slices. I feel like thickish slices are fine with a double crust or lattice topped peach pie, but with the buttery crumble on top– this peach crumble pie didn’t look so good. It was all sorts of mushy inside. I went with larger chunks and that seemed to immediately fix the issue. See these pictures? Chunks. Lots of peach chunks, from slightly firm peaches.
For the rest of the filling ingredients– we have flour, brown sugar, a teensy bit of fresh lemon juice to balance out the sweetness, and cinnamon. Brown sugar and peaches are meant to be; this flavor pairing makes this peach pie better than any I’ve tasted recently. There isn’t too much brown sugar because peaches are naturally sweet. Cinnamon is an obvious must and flour thickens everything up.
I’ve heard a lot about using instant tapioca or tapioca starch in pies (thank you for all the pie filling chats!) and I gave it a try with today’s pie. 1/4 cup worked wonderfully. The pie filling was sturdy and gorgeous. And I used 1/2 cup of flour in another test pie. Also fantastic results, which I believe is due to the size and thickness of the peach chunks. With either, there didn’t seem to be a ton of excess liquid and there certainly wasn’t any mush business! I want something easy, like flour, for everyone so I will give you the option of either flour or tapioca in the recipe below.
I really wanted the brown sugar and cinnamon flavors to come through in this peach pie, so both make an appearance in the crumble topping as well.
Let’s talk about that crumble! Which, to remind you, is not ground beef. Rather, it is the more acceptable and awesome combination of brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, and butter. I added some walnuts for extra crunch and texture, but you can leave the nuts out or maybe even use chopped pecans instead. YUM.
And all of this goodness sits atop my beloved homemade pie crust. For lots of pie crust tips, tricks, discussion, and the recipe: go here. It’s flaky, golden brown, hits the spot every single damn time. Happy weekend and let me see any of your pies on Instagram (hashtag #sallysbakingaddiction) or post on my Facebook page.
Brown Sugar Peach Crumble Pie
- Homemade pie crust (recipe makes 2 crusts; you can halve the crust recipe or freeze the 2nd half)
- 7-8 medium peaches, slightly firm (about 7 cups of peach chunks)
- 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (62g) all-purpose flour OR 1/4 cup instant tapioca1
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup (94g) all-purpose flour
- 1/3 (75g) cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- optional: 1/2 cup (63g) chopped walnuts
- The crust: Prepare my pie crust recipe through step 5.
- Make the filling: Peel the peaches then cut into 1-2 inch chunks. You'll need 7 cups. In a large bowl, stir the peach chunks, brown sugar, flour, lemon juice, and cinnamon together until thoroughly combined. Set filling aside as the oven preheats.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
- Roll out the chilled pie dough: On a floured work surface, roll out one of the discs of chilled dough (if you made the entire pie dough recipe-- you can freeze the other half of the dough at this time). Turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls until you have a circle 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough into a 9x2 inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. Spoon the peach filling into the crust, leaving any liquid behind in the bowl-- don't want all that in the pie. Use a small paring knife to trim excess dough off the edges. Flute the edges.
- Make the crumble topping: In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Stir in the butter and walnuts. The crumble topping will be thick and crumbly. Sprinkle over peaches.
- Place the pie onto a large baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Keeping the pie in the oven, turn the temperature down to 375°F (190°C) and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes. After the first 20 minutes of bake time, I place a pie crust shield on top of the pie to prevent the edges from browning too quickly.
- Allow the pie to cool for 3 full hours at room temperature before serving. This time allows the filling to thicken up; I actually place it in the refrigerator during this time so the filling is super sturdy. Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired. Cover pie leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Make ahead tip/Freezing: Wonderful pie for making ahead! The pie crust dough can also be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Baked pie freezes well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving. Prepared filling can be frozen up to 3 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
1. See my notes in the blog post above about flour and instant tapioca. Instant tapioca can be found in the baking aisle. Since I know it may not be convenient for everyone, 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour works as well.
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Brown sugar peach crumble pie’s tasty sister: apple crumble pie.