This peach pie with crumb topping is made with fresh peaches, brown sugar, and a little booze (optional) in the filling for a peach pie with a perfect set (not runny) that is not too sweet. The crumble topping, like a streusel, gives a lovely comforting layer of texture on top. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
The recipe makes a single crust peach pie with a crumb topping, much like a Dutch apple pie (or in this case, Dutch peach pie). Feel free to make this into a double crust peach pie with a lattice top if you prefer (use this double crust lattice pie dough recipe so that you have enough dough).
To peel or not to peel the peaches
Do you need to peel peaches to make pie? A lot of people seem to peel peaches when they make pie, but I really don’t see the point. Peeling peaches takes time, it doesn’t always work well, it can cause the fruit to become mushy on the surface making it a little more challenging to work with, the peeled peaches are slippery, which can be dangerous when you slice them if you aren’t careful…. so many reasons not to peel peaches for pie. The ultimate reason? The peach skins are soft and become even softer when baked in a pie. They don’t interfere with the texture of the peach filling. I honestly don’t notice the peels as I eat peach pie. So, don’t bother peeling peaches for peach pie. I really don’t think it’s worth the extra effort. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Making a good homemade pie is enough effort.
Making a peach pie with frozen peaches
If it’s winter and you have a craving for peach pie, frozen peaches will definitely do the trick and you will end up with a great peach pie. Mix the frozen sliced peaches with the filling ingredients. Cover and let the peaches defrost overnight in the fridge, stirring every so often to evenly defrost. Then, strain the peach juices, reserving the peaches back in the same bowl you defrosted them in. Place the juices in a saucepan to cook down and thicken them (as written below). Mix that reduced peach juice concentrate with the peach slices and proceed to fill your pie and bake according to the directions. You can also defrost the peaches in the microwave if you are short on time. Do so before mixing with the sugar and thickeners.
The easiest recipe to make (and the easiest recipe to remember) for crumb topping
There are so many recipes for crumble topping. Crumble toppings usually have the same basic ingredients:
- butter—can be salted or unsalted
- sugar—white sugar will lead to no additional flavour, while brown sugar or muscovado will lend deeper caramel and molasses notes to crumb topping
- oats—use rolled oats or large flake oats which are slightly less processed and have a more defined shape and texture. Instant oats or minute oats tend to be too fine and powdery
- flour—generally, use all-purpose or whole wheat flour, but for more flavour, try rye flour or buckwheat, even almond flour could work
- salt—always add a bit of salt but if you are using salted butter, you may want to add less or none
As for how much of each, I try to keep it simple: to make a crumble topping, mix equal parts butter/sugar/oats/flour by volume, meaning for every cup of butter, mix in 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup oats, 1 cup flour. Scale up or down as needed or make a big batch and freeze the leftovers in a labelled container for future crumb topping needs. That’s smart!
You can literally use any mixing method to mix together a crumb topping. Here are your options:
- if you have room temperature butter, use the creaming method: meaning you mix together the soft butter and sugars til well blended, then add in the dry ingredients (flour, oats, salt) to form a crumble.
- if the butter is fridge cold, do the opposite of the creaming method: meaning, start with all the dry ingredients and sugars in your bowl, then cut in the butter to form a crumble. This is the same method you use for pie dough typically.
- if the butter is melted, do whatever you want: you can literally throw all the ingredients in the bowl with the melted butter and mix to form a crumble.
For this peach pie, I revisited a very old blog post and recipe (one of my first!). This peach pie with a crumb topping is much like a Dutch apple pie (or in this case, call it a Dutch peach pie), which is a single crust pie with a fruit filling topped with a crumble or streusel topping. Traditionally, Dutch apple pies don’t have oats in the streusel topping, so this is a variation on that. You can skip the oats too if you prefer! If you’ve read this far, I think you have noticed that all roads lead to peach pie!
For better browning, bake your pies in a metal pan with a darker finish
I like this dark metal pan on Amazon. The metal is better at conducting heat to the bottom of the pie so that the pie dough bakes properly on the bottom. No more soggy bottom pies!
I made this pie when I should have been doing a million other things, literally. I don’t regret a minute of my impromptu pie-making session. Perhaps when I arrive in PEI with no underwear or without a toothbrush, then I’ll probably feel a little different about this pie, but for now, I have pie and it tastes wonderful.
P.S. This crust is AMAZING! You have to try it. I suspect the quasi-equal parts flour and butter help. If you don’t want pie, but have lots of peaches, try roasted peaches with brown sugar and rum! But, if it isn’t peach season where you are, try this maple syrup pie, or this maple apple pie.
Whiskey peach pie with crumb topping
- 156 grams (1¼ cups) all-purpose flour
- 1.25 mL (1/4 tsp) fine kosher salt
- 115 grams (½ cup) unsalted butter cold
- 50 mL (3½ tbsp) cold water
- 100 grams (½ cup) dark brown sugar
- 60 grams (½ cup) all-purpose flour
- 50 grams (½ cup) rolled oats (or large flake oats)
- 60 grams (¼ cup) unsalted butter melted
- 1.25 mL (1/4 tsp) fine kosher salt
Make the crust
- In the food processor, pulse together the dry ingredients, then add the butter and pulse until you get a coarse crumble. Add the water. Pulse to form a dough.
- Drop on a work surface. Press and shape into a disk, wrap the dough, and stick it in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Roll the dough on a floured surface to a 13" circle, then transfer it to a 10-inch pie plate. Trim and tuck the edge, and crimp it. Refrigerate for an additional 30 minutes.
Make the filling
- An hour before you will be baking the pie, combine the filling ingredients and let them sit to macerate in a bowl. Just before it's time to fill the pie, strain the juices into a saucepan. Cook down the juices until you have a very thick gel. Mix this back in with the peaches.
- Transfer the filling to the blind-baked shell when you are ready to bake the pie.
Make the crumb topping
- Mix together all the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add the butter and work it in to form a coarse crumble. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the peaches. Chill the pie for 30 minute before baking.
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
- Bake the pie for 20 minutes at 425ºF. Lower the oven temperature to 350ºF and bake for an additional 40 to 60 minutes. At a certain point, you may want to cover the crumb topping with a piece of foil to prevent burning.
- Let cool for 4 hours before serving to set the filling.
Janice Lawandi is chemist-turned-baker, working as a recipe developer in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She studied pastry at Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa and cooking at l’Académie Culinaire. She has a BSc in Biochemistry from Concordia University and a PhD in Chemistry from McGill University. Visit janicelawandi.com to see my portfolio.