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.
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.
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).
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.
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.)
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!
metalic pie weight for the first time, and I have to say that it easy to use and worked very well.
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.
Lean in closely. See that? The filling is perfectly set!
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: