Peach Pie and Pecan Crumble

This recipe might just become your favorite fruit dessert

By Chef Howard Karp

For the short time while peaches are in season, this recipe might just become your favorite fruit dessert, especially with this ultimate crumble-top. In order to ensure a properly cooked bottom crust, the shell is first blind-baked, and then the filed pie is baked on the bottom shelf of the oven.

Yield: One 9-inch pie

Flakey Pie Crust Dough

• 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

• 1 tsp. salt

• 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes

• 1/2 cup and 2 tsp. vegetable shortening, chilled

• 1 cup ice water

In a large bowl, stir together flour and salt. Add the butter and, with your fingertips, flatten the butter into the flour. Add shortening to flour and butter, toss and again flatten into pieces a little larger than the butter (this procedure will help make a flakey crust). Sprinkle 3/4 cup of ice water over the flour mixture and gently toss to incorporate. Use a spatula to push the dry flour into the liquid, but do not stir the mixture. This procedure, called “hydrating,” is the key for successful flakey dough. If the mixture is dry, add a tablespoon of water at a time and push with spatula until the dough just holds together, (do not over handle).

Divide the dough into 2 balls, flatten in disks and wrap well in plastic. Refrigerate until ready to use. You’ll only need one ball for the bottom crust, so freeze and save the other half of the dough for your next pie if you’re not using it right away.

Chef’s note: Freezing the flour overnight is the secret to a more delicate crust.

Pecan Crumble

• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

• 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 3/4 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

• 1/2 cup pecan pieces

Pie Filling

• 1/4 cup cornstarch

• 1/3 cup sugar

• 1/4 tsp. salt

• 7 medium sized ripened yellow peaches, halved, pitted and sliced thin

• Zest of one lemon

• 2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Crust: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with racks on the bottom and center of oven. On a floured surface, roll out dough and fill it into a 9-inch pie dish. Trim the excess dough and crimp the edges. Line the pie shell with parchment paper and hold down with weights. Put into oven center rack for 30 minutes. Remove weight and parchment and finish baking until golden brown (about 10 minutes more).

Pecan crumble: In a food processor, pulse the flour, brown sugar and salt until combined. Add butter cubes and pulse until a crumbly mixture forms. Transfer to a bowl and fold in pecans.

Filling: In a large bowl, stir together cornstarch, sugar, half the peaches, zest and lemon juice. Thoroughly mix, lightly mashing the peaches with a whisk to release some juice into the mixture. Add remaining peaches, and mix until well combined.

Pour peach mixture into pie crust and top evenly with crumble. Put onto sheet pan in case liquid boils over. Bake on bottom rack until dark brown and bubbly with juices (about 60 minutes).

Chef Howard Karp is an instructor at The Culinary Institute of Montana at Flathead Valley Community College.  For more information about the program, visit www.culinaryinstituteofmt.com

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