I love Peach Pie. There’s probably no pie I love more—when prepared with good technique and the right local peaches.
But alas, not every peach makes a great pie. The right pie peach has full peach flavor, firm texture that doesn’t turn to mush when baked, and a balance between sweet and tart.
I recently tasted my way through a couple dozen peach varieties at Portland Farmers Market, including Angelus, August Lady, Blushing Star, Hale, O’Henry, Peace, Red Gold, Red Rose, Regina, September Red, Sierra Rich, Snow White, Summer Lady, Suncrest, Yukon White, and Z Lady.
I chose O’Henry. It has BIG peach flavor. It’s firm and fabulously juicy. And it’s deliciously sweet and also refreshingly tart. In other words, a perfect pie peach.
The Best Streusel Pie Topping Ever
You may have read about my adventures on The Crunchiest Streusel Topping front in the post Ginger-Lime Peach & Blueberry Crisp with Toasted Hazelnut Streusel.
I was frustrated with soggy streusel toppings, even though the method I used had not changed over a couple of decades. My technique involved setting the oven at 350°, topping the fruit filling with streusel, covering with foil, baking for 30 minutes, removing the foil, and baking for 30 minutes longer. That technique used to work.
But increasingly, the streusel melted into the fruit filling and didn’t achieve a distinctive crunch. So with that post, I threw caution to the wind and baked the covered fruit filling alone for 30 minutes, uncovered it, added the streusel, increased the oven temperature to 400°, and baked for 25 minutes. Bingo, perfectly crunchy streusel!
Now I am taking it a step further based on a serendipitous bowl of blackberries that needed to be baked immediately and a lack of streusel in the freezer.
I took a prepared pie crust from the freezer instead, let it thaw slightly, and then chopped it into ½-inch pieces. I piled the pastry on top of the prepared blackberries and hoped for the best. The result was spectacular. Better than any pie crust topping I have ever eaten. The pastry bits were golden brown and very crisp.
To translate that effect to a streusel topping, I simply added ice water. And what a difference it makes. The streusel crumbs are now separate and super crisp. I plan to rework all of my streusel recipes to reflect this recent discovery.
Peach & Blackberry Pie with Coconut Streusel
I used O’Henry peaches when developing this pie and the result was divine. O’Henry peaches have full, lush peach flavor with lively acidity that balances the juicy sweetness. And they hold their shape during an hour of baking. No mushy peach pie with these superb peaches.
Prep Note To save time, forego the pastry. This pie is just as delicious as a crisp.
Technique Note To easily peel the peaches, check out How to Peel a Peach in my earlier post, Ginger-Lime Peach & Blueberry Crisp with Toasted Hazelnut Streusel.
Quick & Easy, Flaky, All Butter, Short-Crust Pastry
unsalted butter for pie dish
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup unsalted butter, cut into 24 pieces, very cold
2 tablespoons ice water
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
finely grated zest of two limes
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced
2 cups (1 pint) blackberries
- To prepare the baking dish, lightly butter a 9-inch round (5-6 cup capacity) glass or ceramic pie dish or 4, two-cup capacity ramekins. Reserve.
- To prepare the streusel, in a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, coconut, sugar, brown sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter until mixture is evenly crumbly. Sprinkle water on top of crumbs and pinch dough together into large crumbs. Spread onto a baking sheet, and put into the freezer.
- To prepare the filling, in a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, lime zest, lime juice, and vanilla. Gently fold in peaches. Allow to sit for 15 minutes to draw out the juices.
- To fill the pie crust, spoon half of the peach filling into the prepared baking dish or ramekins. Scatter blackberries on top. Spoon remaining peach filling on top of blackberries, and then scatter remaining blackberries on top.
- To partially bake the pie, put the pie on a large edged baking sheet. Lightly cover the pie dish or ramekins with foil. Bake at 350°F for ½ hour.
- To add the streusel, remove foil and carefully (so as not to burn yourself) sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top of the pie or sprinkle ¾ cup of streusel over the top of each individual tart. Raise the heat to 400°F, and bake an additional 25-30 minutes, until streusel is nicely browned and fruit is bubbling at the sides.
Makes one, 9-inch pie or four, 1½-cup tarts.
More LunaCafe Fruit Pies & Crisps
- Apple Cranberry Deep Dish Pie with Toasted Walnut Streusel
- Balaton Cherry & Lime Crisp with Toasted Almond Streusel
- Ginger-Lime Peach & Blueberry Crisp with Toasted Hazelnut Streusel
- Rhubarb Apple Crisp with Toasted Hazelnut Streusel
Copyright 2014 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.