YUM. Yesterday I sliced up some locally-grown “Eastern” peaches, and piled them onto a French pastry crust. Then, instead of using a top crust, I simply sprinkled the ruby-skinned fruit with sweet, buttery streusel. The result of this daring experiment? Peach pie perfection, baby.
To start, make a batch of Pate Brisee. You’ll find the recipe for this all-butter pastry dough in this post.
If you can find a high-quality ready-made crust at your supermarket, go ahead and use it. I’ve tried the two varieties of pre-fab crust from my local supermarket. One was horrid. The other was awful.
While the crust is freezing, preheat the oven to 425°F.
To par-bake the crust: Set the pie plate on a baking sheet, cover the dough with foil or parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake on the center rack for 12 minutes. Then remove the beans and foil (or parchment), and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
Salt, believe it or not, will bring out the peachy-ness of your peaches.
Now onto the streusel, which you can make either by hand or with the help of a food processor. I made mine by hand:
Use a pastry-blending gadget (pictured above) to cut the butter into the the flour. Aim for a mixture that resembles coarse bread crumbs. (Alternatively, you can crumb the streusel ingredients in a food processor.)
Note: I ended up making two of these pies — for the first one, I heaped all of the fruit into the crust, as above.
Although both versions were delicious, I thought the piled-high subject was particularly scrumptious. But it was not particularly attractive.
The conclusion? Well, if you don’t intend to photograph your work, you might as well heap the fruit.
Let cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before serving.
As if you can wait that long.
I’m sorry, Miss Lily. This dessert is not for you.
For your convenience, here’s a copy-and-paste version of the above:
For the filling:
1 1/2 pounds fresh, ripe peaches
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
For the streusel:
1/2 cup all-purpose (“plain”) flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, diced
Rolling out and freezing the dough — On a lightly-floured surface, roll the pate brisee into a circle 11 1/2-inches in diameter. Transfer the dough to a standard (not deep dish) 9-inch pie plate. Fold under the overhang, and then crimp or flute to seal. Dock the bottom (not the sides) of the crust with the tines of a fork, and then transfer to the freezer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, center the oven rack, and preheat the oven to 425°.
Par-baking the dough — Line the crust with foil or parchment, and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake on a baking sheet for 12 minutes, then remove the beans and the foil or paper. Return to the oven, and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.
The filling — Cut the peaches in half; dig out the pit, or “stone” with a soup spoon. Cut each half into quarters, and place them in a medium bowl. Add the sugar and salt, and gently toss with a spatula to coat. Let rest while you make the streusel.
The streusel — Whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a large, wide bowl. Then whisk in the confectioners’ sugar. Add the diced butter. Use a pastry-blending gadget to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. (Alternatively, you can pulse the streusel ingredients in a food processor.)
Assembling and baking the pie — Spoon approximately 1/3 of the streusel onto the pie crust. Add the fruit and all of the juices, and then top with the remaining streusel. Bake until bubbly and lightly browned — about 50 minutes. Cool for at least one hour before serving.
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