Peach Crumble Pie

Peach Crumble Pie (90)
One thing Chris and I miss the most when we travel around the United States for work is the food.  I’m not even just talking about Tex-Mex, Fried Chicken, Whataburger and BlueBell ice cream; I’m talking about the produce.
Fresh Peaches
Sure places like Ohio and Pennsylvania have some of the freshest homegrown produce you could ask for; in fact we could barely eat all of the free cucumbers and squash the locals would bring to our office to share, but when it came to grocery-bought produce the small towns we find ourselves in are sorely lacking in terms of some of the staples of home cooking: fresh peppers, both spicy and bell, watermelon, pitted and seedless, nice juicy oranges and, most importantly, freestone peaches.
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I’m telling you, nowhere in our trek across America could we find peaches that weren’t a complete nightmare to cut open and ‘de-pit.’  Many a fingernail was lost (and found, just to be clear, we never ate fingernails) to a stubborn clingstone peach pit.  So, being back in Texas during a wonderfully hot summer for a while, I’m taking advantage and baking all the peach pies, cobblers and crumbles I (and everyone in my family) can possibly stomach.

Spreading the Struesel
This crumble I found online at MarthaStewart.com, but the crust I used is my favorite recipe; check out my tutorial on crust-creating here. You can also use a store-bought pie dough, but I just know you have a beautiful ready-to-bake homemade pie dough sitting right in your freezer.  Oh wait, that’s just me who always has pie dough in her freezer?  I kind of have a thing for pie dough.  And free-stone peaches.  I’m trying to get help.
Peach Crumble Pie (53)
Peach Crumble Pie
Adapted from MarthaStewart.com

One Frozen Pie Crust, Thawed (either store-bought or homemade
Filling:
 – 3 Pounds Peaches, halved, pitted and cut into thin slices (about 8 cups once sliced)
 – 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
 – 2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
Crumble Topping:
 – 1/3 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
 – 1/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
 – 1/3 Cup Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
 – 6 Tablespoons (3/4 Stick) Cold Unsalted Butter, cut into small pieces

Start by rolling your pie dough out on a lightly floured surface.  To make sure you roll it out to the correct size simply take your pie pan, turn it upside-down and hover it over your pie dough.  Once you’ve rolled it out to the point where you can see crust peeking out from under all the way around the pan you’re good to go.  Fold your dough in half then in quarters then move the dough to the pan and unfold, making sure you tuck the dough into the various edges of the bottom of the pan.  Fold the excess dough under at the ledges and pinch the dough to create a decorated edge.  Stab the bottom of the dough with a fork to make sure there’s no awkward puffing, then put the pan back in the refrigerator until you’re ready to fill it with pie.
To make the filling begin by preheating your oven to 375°F then simply toss carefully, with either your hands or a spatula, the peach slices, flour and brown sugar. To make the crumble topping mix the brown sugar, flour and oats together with your hands then work the cold butter pieces into the mixture until the pieces resemble small peas at the largest.  If you feel yourself getting frustrated with the mixture clumping too much or just not getting any smaller stick the whole bowl in the freezer and relax for fifteen minutes or so.  When you come back to the kitchen the butter will have chilled once more and the mixture will be much easier to crumble.  Now take the dough back out of the fridge, scoop your peaches into the pan (or you can carefully arrange them in a neat circular pattern) then sprinkle the crumble over the peaches evenly.  Place the pie in the oven and bake until the crumbles are golden brown and the peaches are bubbling, about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes.  Remove pie from oven and let cool for a couple of hours before diving in.
Quintessential Pie on the Window Sill

Flaky Pie Dough

 

 

Pie Dough (38)

First steps first, the number one rule when you make a good pie dough is to keep it cold, keep it cold, keep it cold.  The longer you can have your dough in a cool place (up to a point, of course) the better.  This is a big reason I constantly have pie dough in my freezer, that and the fact that I just really love pie.  So, keeping that in mind, cut your butter into little squares then put the squares in the freezer while you mix your dry ingredients. I, personally, like to put the squares into a mug.

Pie Dough
 Since the mug is tall it more evenly distributes the butter and lets it cool more quickly.  This particular mug was a Christmas present from my mom to my fiancé Chris.  I tell you this so you don’t think I just have initial mugs hanging around our apartment; I’m just not that kind of girl.  While your butter freezes for a while, mix the dry ingredients in a large, preferably metal, bowl.  The metal keeps everything a mite cooler than, say, a plastic or wooden bowl.  Again with the freezing, I know, but really guys, it makes for good pie dough.  Check your butter when the dry stuff is mixed; if it’s still not hard enough stick your dry bowl in there with it and let it all sit for a few minutes.  Once the butter is just about rock hard pull it and the bowl out of the freezer, put the butter in with the dry ingredients, then using either your hands or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dough until it resembles coarse meal with the largest butter chunks resembling small peas.
Pie Dough (10) Pie Dough (16) Pie Dough (26)
Once you have something that resembles the above, add a 1/2 cup of the ice water and using a rubber spatula blend it all together.  Try to make sure you get every part wet so it sticks together more easily.
Pie Dough (32)
 If it still seems too dry add more water in tablespoon increments until it all seems just wet enough to hold together.  At this point dump the whole mess out on a floured counter to softly clump the dough together with your hands in two equally-sized sections.  This is the hardest part for me, it never seems to stick totally together, but try your hardest to not overwork the dough or it will be tough and no longer flaky when cooked.  If at any point in the mixing, dumping process you feel the butter start to melt or the dough getting too hot stick it back in the freezer for a few minutes.  Once you have two coherent balls of dough wrap them individually in plastic wrap and try to flatten them into even squares.
Pie Dough (35)
The flattening makes it easier to thaw if you have them in the freezer for a while.  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes to an hour before using; you can refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to a month.

 

Flaky Pie Dough 
Adapted from  Deb’s All Butter, Really Flaky Pie Dough

227 Grams (2 Sticks or 1 Cup) Unsalted Butter
325 Grams (2 1/2 Cups) Flour
13 Grams (1 Tbsp) Granulated Sugar
7 Grams (1 tsp) Table Salt
1 1/2 Cup of Water with Ice

Mix the dry ingredients together then add your butter and cut it into the dry mixture using either your hands or a pastry blender until it resembles coarse meal, with the largest chunks about the size of small peas.  Add 1/2 cup of the ice water and mix together using a rubber spatula, adding more water a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together.  Dump it all onto a floured counter and gently smush into two flat, evenly-sized clumps.  Cover completely with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes to an hour before using, or refrigerate up to 3 days, freeze up to 30 days.