Sunday, September 20, 2015

Peach Melba (Peaches and Raspberry) Streusel Pie

This summer themed pie... I've been meaning to share this pie, since I first made it a few weeks ago. I debated whether or not it's too late to share it now, since I thought peach season had come and gone. Then, I saw a fresh load of California peaches at my local Trader Joe's and my debate was over.

I think that pie is good anytime of year, so you could easily make this pie with frozen peaches and frozen raspberries.  It'll work. Pinkie promise! 

Peach Melba is one of my favorite classic desserts.  It's a very simply dessert of vanilla ice cream, with sugary peaches and fresh raspberry purée. (To reach the history of Peach Melba, click here.) So, I got to thinking that making a peach and raspberry pie, topped with a streusel filling and served with vanilla ice cream would be a perfect version of this dessert.

 ...and, I was right.  There are three components to make this pie.

First, the crust.  You can buy pie crust, of course.  But, why?  Homemade pie crusts aren't difficult to make, and I think they taste much better than the packaged ones (plus, I control the ingredients in it.)  I used to make bad pie crusts.  They were tough, from overworking the dough. I'd get frustrated with the rolling pin process, and having it stick to the counter or baking mat (until I learned the technique of roll, turn, roll, turn) and patching up the dough got to be frustrating. I'd break the crust when I tried to get it into the pie pan and I felt like such a baking failure. (Folding the dough into quarters and then opening it up inside the pie plate didn't work for me.

I never gave up, and one day it all came together and I've been making perfect homemade pie crusts ever since.  There are so many tutorials you can find online. My favorite resources are either King Arthur Flour or Martha Stewart.  For this particular pie I made a  Pâte Brisée crust. That's a fancy word for "all butter.

If you own a food processor, it's really quite easy (and fast) to make pie crust dough.  Add the flour, add COLD butter (cut into pieces) and and COLD water (I simply put ice cubes into a measuring cup and then add water) and pulse until the dough just comes together.  You want to see pieces of butter.  I learned that overworking the dough is why my pie crusts were so tough. See?  There is a method to making pie crusts!  I dump the dough onto a lightly floured baking mat (one day, I will have granite counters) and gently press it all into a disk shape.  I then wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least an hour (or up to three days).

When it's time to roll the crust, I let it set for about 15 minutes and roll it and set it into my pie plate. ( I much prefer picking up the dough with my rolling pin and then unrolling it onto my pie plate. You just have to practice and decide which method works best for you). Easier said than done?  Click here if you want to see my own pie tutorial.  I like to keep my crust nice and cold, while making the rest of the pie.  That's because the pieces of butter will expand, in the oven, creating a tender and flaky pie crust.

If you've read any of my pie recipe posts, I mention that pie crust isn't my favorite thing in the world (though my boys love pie crust).  I do, however, love a streusel topping. Maybe it's because I much prefer fruit crisp desserts (which are basically a crustless pie).  This streusel recipe is simply all-purpose flour, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla and almond extract.  Just pulse it together until it it has just clumped together and set aside (I like to keep it in the refrigerator, until ready to use.)

For years, I used to blanch my fresh peaches and then setting them into an ice bath.  That works great, but you know.... I find that peeling them as I would a potato to be faster and just as effective.

 Have you ever cut into a fruit pie and the filling oozes out?  (Raises hand.)  There are two ingredients that have eliminated that problem for me.  I buy either one of them on King Arthur Flour.
My personal favorite is Instant ClearJel.  This Pie Filling Enhancer comes in a close second.  This product combines Instant ClearJel with ascorbic acid for bright fruit flavor, and superfine sugar, to sweeten things up. 

Ever since I switched over from using flour or tapioca as pie filling thickeners, I've had perfectly set pie every single time. NOTE: King Arthur Flour does not pay me to say this!

I decided to par-bake the pie crust, so it wouldn't be soggy or uncooked.   I use pie weights, most of the time. I used this metalic pie weight for the first time, and I have to say that it easy to use and worked very well.

If you look closely, you can see that the sugar/pie filling enhancer has already thickened from the juice of the peaches.  I like to dot my fruit pies with butter...

As I added the streusel topping, I squeezed it together (with my fingers) to make large crumbs.  You can leave them as small crumbs-- it's all just personal preference.

I set the pie on top of a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat (or parchment paper or foil) just in case the pie filling bubbles over.  I also used a pie crust shield, so that my crust wouldn't turn too dark.

The pie took about 30-40 minutes to bake.  I could see pie juices bubbling through the crust, and the streusel was a light golden color.  This is when the wait begins.  The aroma of a freshly baked pie tends to make the pie crust vultures circle around you.  The pie should cool for at least 3 hours for the filling to properly set.

Lean in closely. See that?  The filling is perfectly set!  

Peach Melba pie would not be complete without a scoop of vanilla ice cream, would it?

TASTING NOTES:  If you've never had a combination of peaches and raspberries, you need to try it!  The peaches were very sweet, and balanced out the tartness of the raspberries. The almond extract was subtle and didn't overpower the buttery streusel topping.   I need to go buy some more peaches, while they are still in season here.  Peach Melba. It's what's for dessert, any time of year!

A printable recipe card is at the end of this post:


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Wave Watcher said...

When I get back home next week, I am making this pie. I have peaches in the freezer, but may opt for fresh ones to save those for later. I have Clear Jel, probably from your suggestion, but are you saying you would only use 1 tablespoon of it in this pie? I thought it usually required more. I have made your French Berry Pie several times.
Also, have you seen the new King Arthur magazine called Sift? I just bought a copy and want to make all the sweets in it; well, almost all of them.
Thanks for sharing this recipe. I also love mixing peaches or apples with berries, but usually in a crisp.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Peach Melba is such a wonderful old classic. Thanks for the reminder to make it more often and I really like that it's okay to use frozen peaches.

Laurie Tuttle said...

Hi Debby ~ I will order one of the King Arthur thickening products, but want to make this pie today! How much cornstarch or flour would you recommend using?
Thanks, Laurie in California

Laurie Tuttle said...

Hi Debby ~ Just looked at the recipe again, and you mentioned how much cornstarch to use.
Will make today!
~ Laurie

Debby Foodiewife said...

That's great, Laurie. Please let me know how you like it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Debby and thanks for posting this.recipe ans sharing your thoughts. Fifteen to 50 years ago, a new 'peach/berry' idea in late September would have been silly. Today? Not so, as proven by the fresh peaches @ T.J.'s. Sometimes the goods cost a bit more, but in 2015, many excellent fresh goods are available and for 11+ of 12 months. Five or six hundred miles north of you, a much cooler climate near the Oregon Coast, we still have some 'Fresh, Local,' fruits and veggies about 11.5 months each year. Magic just happens.
This is obviously a wonderful recipe. The generic 'type' is one of the few dessert-types that hold any real interest for me. One of the genuine joys of the 'streusel pie' type is that can easily be adapted to almost any fruit or other filling. My tiny book of official rules suggests that fresh=fresh; with minimal change, frozen=frozen. (It also says that if the only available choice is commercially canned fruit, one ought to make something else . The real take-home here is not the peach/berry combination, but the idea that almost any combination of fresh fruits will work. Thanks for the great reminder and yes, it is a brilliant idea. Best wishes, -Craig, (the other one)\

Joanne said...

I wonder if this can be made with frozen peaches because now I have peach pie on the brain thanks to you!

Barbara Bakes said...

This is a pie I could fall in love with.