“An apple is an excellent thing, until you have tried a peach.”
-George du Maurier, 19th century cartoonist and author
This is not the first peach crumb pie recipe you have seen at The Pie Academy. And – as someone who shares the above sentiment with our esteemed author – it will not, likely, be the last. But it may well be the best, on several counts.
For the first time here, peaches share the spotlight with my other favorite summer fruit: blueberries. This combination is a no-brainer, and hardly puts me in the genius realm. Still, considerable effort – with predictable repercussions to my midsection – has been made to calculate the ideal proportions of one to the other, and this 5 to 1 ratio is just right. It’s still a peach pie. The blueberries are guests at this party. But they’re not loud or boisterous or trying to steal the show. As it should be: peach pie should never suffer from an identity crisis.
Another improvement over past peach pies: the quality of the crumb topping and fruit interface, the technical name I made up for the place where the fruit ends and the topping begins. If the pie is too juicy – and peaches are famous for their juiciness – the crumb topping will act like a sponge and absorb too much liquid from below. The result: a soggy interface.
Not so good, kemosabe.
The solution? Like we did a few weeks back with our plum tart, we’ll first toss our fruit with sugar, then set it aside to let it juice. We’ll then boil the juice, reduce it by a little more than half, and add it back to the fruit. Your pie still ends up juicy, but not awash in it. The concentrated peach flavor permeates the filling. AND your topping maintains its individual character. Less juice in your pie also means less slump in your slice, so there’s also a cosmetic advantage to this boil-first approach. This holds true whether you’re using a crumb crust, or tucking the filling into a double crust.
Now, before you begin, a couple of last minute reminders. The quality of your peach pie is directly proportional to the quality of your peaches. If they’re not sweet, juicy, and ripe when you begin, don’t expect your pie to rise, miraculously, above its own limitations. If you can’t find great peaches in your area, you should probably move here to South Carolina.
Don’t peel peaches with a peeler or paring knife. A peach is not an apple, and you’ll end up removing way too much of the lovely peach flesh. Blanch them instead: bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, lower in your peaches with a slotted spoon, and submerge for 30 seconds. Remove them, wait a minute or two, and the skins will peel right off.
As always, I wish you the best with this pie recipe. Keep sending me your photos and comments. Incidentally, quite a few of you sent me glowing feedback and your photos of the most recent Savory Corn Pudding Pie, making it one of the most popular pies to date.
OUR CORN ZIPPER WINNERS
Speaking of corn pie, you’ll recall how, in my last post, I showed you a neat little tool I’ve been using this year to cut corn off the cob – the Corn Zipper. I told you that we had three of them to give away – courtesy of the manufacturer, Kuhn Rikon. All you had to do was visit our new online store, browse around, and send us your feedback on the sorts of items you’d like to see in the store in the future.
Dozens of you did just that, and we can’t thank you enough. We’ll be adding many of your suggestions to the store in the months to come. As promised, we’ve chosen 3 names at random from those who responded. And the winners are:
Congratulations to all of you! We’ll be in touch with each of the Corn Zipper winners.
OUR NEW TABLE OF CONTENTS
Several of you have written in the past and suggested that we create a table of contents so you have a quick-and-easy way to search and find the recipes and videos in The Pie Academy archives.
You’ll see the new Table of Contents tab at the top of each page on the site. Click, and it will take you into the complete archives. We appreciate your patience while we worked on this project, and our gratitude to those of you who emailed with this user-friendly suggestion.
RECIPE NOTES: Use any single-crust pie dough recipe here that makes enough for a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie, including the GOOD BASIC PIE DOUGH, and FOOD PROCESSOR PIE DOUGH. See the Table of Contents for other pie dough recipes.