Homemade flaky crust, sweet juicy filling with fresh peaches, and a buttery golden brown topping make this a fantastic dessert when peach season hits. The pie shell and crumb mixture can be made in advance so it's much easier to put together than it looks.
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When summer brings truckloads of stone fruit, fruit pies are a must.
At this house, we take advantage of juicy peaches and make this peach crumble pie or the more rustic peach galette, a fancy word for free-form pie.
This pie is almost a deep-dish one, a great recipe with a thick layer of juicy filling that will ooze when you cut it. The crumble topping bakes to a golden brown and the pie crust doesn't get soggy because it's blind-baked, a technique I explain further down this post.
It's also great with nectarines, which are similar to peaches but with thinner skin, which is the way to go if you don't want to take the extra step of peeling fruit.
- Pie crust: we always recommend homemade, but you can cut corners and use a store-bought one.
- Peaches: use fresh fruit that is just ripe enough to eat but not overly ripe.
- Lemon: some lemon juice is needed to balance the sweetness and butter in the recipe.
- Cornstarch: it's necessary to thicken the peach juices that are released during baking and create a wonderful syrup.
- Brown sugar: it adds a great caramel flavor, and it's used in the filling. But use regular white sugar if that's all you have.
- White sugar: I use it to make the crumble topping.
- Flour: all-purpose flour or cake flour, both can be used.
- Butter: a necessary ingredient for the streusel topping, we recommend using unsalted butter.
All pie crusts can be made in advance and have posts devoted to them, with detailed images, step-by-step instructions, and videos.
- Traditional crust: my go-to recipe is the Perfect Flaky Pie Crust, the one I use for holiday pies. It's made with both butter and shortening and is barely sweetened. It's the one I use for the chocolate pecan pie and this strawberry pie.
- Sweet crust: if you're into sweet more European-style desserts, you can use the homemade Sweet Shortcrust Pastry or pâte sucrée in French, a sweet pie dough that we use for the raspberry chocolate tart and the pear frangipane tart.
- Store-bought crust: homemade pie crust is always the best choice, but you can substitute it for a good (all butter is better), store-bought, bakery-style one at any time.
Blind baking: this is a technique that half bakes the pie crust so that the wet filling doesn't immediately seep into the dough which will create a soggy crust after it's baked. It's all explained in the recipe card. Or you can read this post about blind baking that has more info and details.
- Sliced peaches: you can peel all of them, half or none, your choice. I like to peel some of them and leave the skins on others. If using nectarines I don't peel them at all as their skins are very thin.
- Mixing: use a large bowl to combine peaches with the brown sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice, and then dump this peach mixture in the pie shell.
- Butter: add dots of butter to give the filling a more luscious texture.
Also called a streusel topping, it adds a layer of buttery crunchiness to this peach pie that is delicious! It's a basic crumble recipe with only 3 ingredients: butter, sugar, and flour.
How to make it: simply mix all dry ingredients in a medium bowl, add the cold butter pieces, and integrate with a pastry blender (also called pastry cutter), your hands, or a fork. The butter should be the size of small peas and that is your cue to stop mixing. You can also use a food processor which I recommend if making large amounts. Just be careful not to over-process everything and end up with a paste. We want a clumpy, coarse meal.
It can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator or the freezer. I like to have frozen crumble at all times to add to cakes, pies, and muffins. It's a nice way to add crunchiness.
Vintage Kitchen tip: highly recommended to make the topping extra crispy is to freeze the crumble for 30 minutes before adding it to the pie.
When adding the crumb topping, cover most of it but it's fine if you don't cover the fruit filling completely. A small space around the edges of the crust will be left without and that is fine.
- Plain: this pie has enough going on to serve it as it is. I like it semi-cold, but it's just as good at room temperature.
- Topping: serve it slightly warm with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream (ginger or cream ice cream also work very well). And a drizzle of caramel sauce or homemade dulce de leche if you want a decadent dessert!
- Organization: always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!
- Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. Use a thermometer inside the oven (like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that the temperature is right. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
- Crust: you can have the pie pan lined and waiting in the freezer. Blind bake it for this pie, it's important so the peach juices don't soak too much into the pie crust and make it soggy.
- Peaches: are the star so fresh fruit is highly recommended. But you can use homemade canned peaches or a good commercial brand.
- Crumble: freeze it before adding it to the pie. It will be crisper after it bakes. Brown sugar crumble - I sometimes use just brown sugar for both filling and crumble. It bakes to a more golden brown and adds a more intense caramel tone.
- Ratio: when it comes to crumble pies, the amount of filling to topping is important because we need both to bake and be ready at the same time and the fruit flavor to shine. So don't overdo it with the topping.
- Make ahead: you can make the crust and keep it in the refrigerator for 3 days or in the freezer for a month, well wrapped, before rolling it. You can line the pan, wrap it with plastic wrap and freeze it for a month. The crumble topping keeps in the refrigerator for a week or two, with plastic wrap or an airtight container. And frozen for a month.
Frequently asked questions
Add thickening ingredients such as cornstarch, flour, or tapioca to the filling. This is a necessary step if you want a filing that holds itself a little. The more of these ingredients you add, the firmer the filling will be. But don't overdo it because the flavor will not be good. Follow the recipe.
It depends on your personal taste. I like to peel half of them if their skin is thin, or all of them if it's too thick. The average pie uses peeled peaches.
The filling didn't thicken enough or the pie didn't have time to cool enough for the filling to settle and firm up. This can be due to a lack of a thickening agent such as cornstarch, because you didn't bake it long enough, or because you used frozen peaches that released more juice than normal.
Related recipes you might like:
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For the pie crust:
For the crumble:
- ¾ cup flour (all-purpose or cake)
- ⅔ cup white granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter, cold and in pieces
For the filling:
- 4.5 pounds (about 8 large) fresh peaches
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice (about ½ lemon)
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
For the pie crust:
- Have ready a 9-inch pie pan with at least 2-inch high sides. I like it with a removable bottom but you can use a nice ceramic or glass pie plate and serve it directly from it.
- Roll pastry on a lightly floured surface until it's about ¼ inch thick and at least 3 inches larger than the pan.
- Line the pie pan you're using by folding the dough in half and transferring to the center of the pie plate. Open it and gently fit it into the dish, not forcing or stretching it as you go. If you follow the instructions for the Flaky Pie Crust recipe, you can see the images.
- Pre heat oven to 350°F/180°C.
- Put the lined pan in the freezer for 15-20 minutes while the oven gets to the right temperature. This will help the dough to shrink as little as possible as it bakes.
- Blind bake the crust: Cover it with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Add some weight: small ceramic balls, or use raw rice, chickpeas, lentils, even flour. Any ingredients that will not burn and will weigh the paper down. Bake for 15 minutes until you can remove the paper with the weight. Do this carefully to make sure you don't burn your hands and take out the whole thing at once without tearing the crust. Bake the pastry 5-10 minutes longer, until barely colored and dry. You don't have to completely bake it at this point.
For the crumble:
- Mix flour and sugar in a medium bowl.
- Add cold butter in pieces and integrate with the dry ingredients. It should be the size of peas and beans.
- Put this crumbly mixture in the freezer while you make the filling.
For the filling:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
- Wash, dry and core the peaches.
- Cut them in medium wedges. I don't peel all of them, but you can if you want to.
- Mix the peaches with the lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl.
- Pour into the pre-baked crust distributing as best as you can.
- Top the peach mixture with the cold crumble.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbly and the crumble is golden.
- Let cool on a wire rack until it's at room temperature and serve.
- Or refrigerate, covered, for a few hours before serving. I like it this way because it's easier to cut and the filling has a chance to solidify a bit.
- always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!
- Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes are as accurate as I they can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer that is placed inside the oven (like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
- Crust - you can have the pie pan lined and waiting in the freezer. Blind bake it for this pie, it's important so the peach juices don't soak too much into the pie crust and make it soggy.
- Peaches - they are the star so fresh fruit is highly recommended. But you can use homemade canned peaches or a good commercial brand.
- Crumble - freeze it before adding it to the pie. It will bake crisper. Brown sugar crumble: I sometimes use just brown sugar for both filling and crumble. It bakes to a more golden brown and adds a more intense caramel tone.
- Ratio - when it comes to crumble pies, the amount of filling to topping is important because we need both to bake and be ready at the same time and the fruit flavor to shine. So don't overdo it with the topping.
- Make ahead: you can make the crust and keep it in the refrigerator for 3 days or in the freezer for a month, well wrapped, before rolling it. You can line the pan, wrap it with plastic wrap and freeze for a month. The crumble topping keeps in the refrigerator for a week or two, with plastic wrap or an airtight container. And frozen for a month.
- Flavorings: you can jazz up the filling with some grated fresh ginger or pinch of ground cardamom or cinnamon.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cooling time: 120 minutes
- Cook Time: 60 minutes
- Category: Pies & Tarts
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: peach crumb pie