Plum Peach Crumble

About fifteen years ago, about a dozen miles from where I am now, I fell in love with peaches. (How did it take someone 30-plus years to fall in love with peaches? It’s a long story.) Life is radically different from then, but the peaches in this pie came from the same orchard.

They had some Matheny plums in. Thankfully I picked up a pound of them, because not all the peaches were ripe.

It’s a basic fruit pie, nothing special. Fruit tossed with sugar, spices, a thickener, poured into an unbaked shell, and pop the whole thing into an oven. Wait till the center bubbles like lava. Personally I prefer a little nutmeg and ginger in a peach pie. Vanilla, too. Brandy. One small trick for the crumble, toast your oats and pecans. On the list of ideas to try is grilling some of the peaches, too.

Now, what have I learned from the past few weeks?

  • Don’t overfill. Seriously. Keep it like 1/2” under the rim.

  • Use enough sugar.

  • Be patient.

I returned to some old notes on pies for the baking process. Some people start their fruit pies at 425˚ and drop to 375˚. This one started off at 450˚ and dropped to 350˚. Try a few different pies.

And that brings up the subject of experimenting and learning. Pies used to be a craft passed from elders to youngsters. Generational knowledge, collected over centuries, was handed down, and you’d be supervised. Sure there are a few rules and lots of guidelines, but really, baking has so many variables and special cases to know about. Books can get you started, but hands on experience it what really counts. As a craft, you gotta fail sometimes to learn what does and doesn’t work. Experiment, follow your guts and imagination.

 

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 9" Deep dish pie

Filling

  • Peaches & Plums to almost fill the pan
  • ¾ - 1c sugar
  • 2-3Tble thickener (cornstarch, arrowroot, instant tapioca)
  • pinch of salt
  • splash of lemon/apple cider
  • 1tsp ginger
  • 1tsp nutmeg
  • 1Tbls vanilla extract

Topping

Crumble Topping from The Art of Pie, page 95

  • 110g brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 73g flour
  • 144 whole oats, toasted
  • 112 butter
  • 60g pecans

Directions

  1. Place pastry dough into pan and chill in the freezer.
  2. Preheat oven to 450˚.
  3. Combine all the crumble topping ingredients except pecans.
  4. Just like making pie dough, work the butter into the flour and oats.
  5. When its the texture of stressful topping, add the pecans and chill.
  6. Combine sugar, thickener, salt, and spice.
  7. Slice and pit fruit.
  8. Toss fruit and sugar mixture together.
  9. Let stand 10 minutes.
  10. Pour into pie shell and pop into the oven.
  11. After 15 minutes, pull from the oven, spread crumb on top, return to the oven, and reduce the heat to 350˚.
  12. Bake 30-45 minutes. You want to see the filling in the middle gently bubbling.
  13. Cool & serve.