The stifling hot days of Summer 2018 are slowly but surely coming to an end, and my immediate reaction to a fall-like breeze is a rushed panic to bake anything and everything with summer harvest before its gone. Peaches are one of my absolute favourite summer fruits and I’m always sad to see peach season end come September. Though peach season runs from late May in to September for Ontario, I find the most flavourful peaches arrive around late August. With such a long availability season, peaches often turn up in many of my staple summer dishes long before the best of the best in August. They really help out a simple green salad with a touch sweetness from their orangey-rose flesh, or make a fantastic ingredient in a fresh summer relish for grilled meats (like a red onion and peach relish to top barbecued pork chops!) But of course my heart lies with all things baked and sweet, and peaches are even more of a star in that department.
I like to keep my desserts slightly on the lighter side during the summer months, (dessert is still dessert after all) and pie, in my opinion, is one of the best ways to do this. Sun-ripened fruits in all of their glory get to be the main attraction, while delivered to dessert perfection via a rich and buttery crust. To keep it lighter though, and really let the peaches do the talking, I opt for a crunchy and nutty crisp style topping, forgoing the traditional heavy piecrust. Not to mention, it’s easier to pass off a pie as healthier when there’s less heavy crust involved – it’s basically like serving a fruit salad for dessert!
This time around I did add a traditional pie-crust on the bottom because there are never any complaints about too much crust in my house of hungry men (oh and me, lover of desserts). But if you are looking to go lighter, you can prepare this pie without the bottom crust by placing the peach filling directly in to a buttered pie plate or skillet and topping with the crisp as usual.
A phenomenal crisp recipe is a must have for any baker in my opinion. The one I’ve used for this summer pie is my go to for any crisp or pie throughout the year. It’s secret weapon is browned butter, which adds a depth and nutty aspect to what would otherwise be simply butter, oats, cinnamon and brown sugar. Don’t get me wrong, each of these ingredients are champions of deliciousness, but browned butter is the uncontested Queen of crisps and crumbles. If you’ve never heard of browned butter before, don’t panic because its crazy simple but adds a ton of flavour to your baking project.
In my panicked induced rush to bake as much as possible with in-season fruits, I love to throw in whatever summer berries I have on hand when I make a peach pie. Usually I’m partial to the smooth, deep flavours of fresh blueberries, but this time around I had some leftover raspberries that felt like a perfect match. And what a lucky coincidence that was. The blending of the raspberry reds and peachy yellows were gorgeous in the bowl. With just a dusting of sugar and few drops of lemon juice the natural fruit juices were drawn out and blended into a beautiful peach syrup. Like a rose-y summer sunset in a bowl, which would also make an excellent name for this pie (?!) Feel free to add a handful or two of whatever berries you desire, they do a lot in terms of both gorgeous colour combinations and rounding out the intense sweetness of the peaches. And of course no pie is complete without a healthy scoop of vanilla ice cream when served up.
My peach summer pie was gobbled up too quickly to get any pictures of the finished product, but I promise to take pictures first before diving in next time!!
End of Summer – Peach Pie
- About five peaches sliced
- 1 cup (or as much as you have) summer berries
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- Few drops fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup salted butter
- 3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup or less flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Browning the Butter: Melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Once melted and beginning to foam, continue stirring occasionally so as to not let it burn. After 5 to 6 minutes butter will begin browning, you will know it has reached this point when it has a nutty aroma and you can see brown specs in the butter. At this point remove from heat immediately and place in tupperware and cover. Place in the freezer for faster cooling (about 45 mins).
- Crumble topping: Whisk together the rest of the crumble ingredients and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350C: Prepare pie dish or skillet (if not using bottom crust) by buttering and lightly dusting with flour. If using bottom crust take out of freezer and place in dish and bake at 350 for 10-15 mins until flaky but not browning.
- Filling: Mix together gently all filling ingredients and place in to pie dish or cooled bottom crust.
- Topping: If browned butter has solidified scrape in to crumble topping. Using a large fork or hands if preferred, cut butter in to the mix until crumbly and butter is evenly distributed. Sprinkle over top of filling.
- Bake: 40 to 45 mins in middle of oven until top is golden and filling is bubbling at edges a little bit (if browning too quickly cover gently with tin foil). Remove from oven and let cool on cooling rack. Serve warm with ice cream, whipped cream or solo!