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Make the best of the rest of summer with a delectable, crumbly pie

Sarah Nasello says shares her summery recipe for Peach Crumble Pie, a dessert with billowy clouds of sugary crumble atop layers of fresh peaches encased in a rich and flaky all-butter crust.

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Filled with the colors of a late summer sunset, Sarah's Peach Crumble Pie is the perfect dessert for Labor Day weekend.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum
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FARGO — Ah, sweet summer, must you leave us already? Well, then, let us send you off with this delectable Peach Crumble Pie.

What could be more summery than billowy clouds of sugary crumble atop layers of fresh peaches encased in a rich and flaky all-butter crust? It is hard to imagine, until you slice into the pie and find the vibrant colors of a late-summer sunset spilling forth. My son Giovanni was dazzled by this surprise, and marveled that it seemed to make the pie even more delicious.

I use one disk of my All-Butter Pie Crust for the base of this pie, and instead of topping it with a second crust, I have chosen to cover the peach filling with a generous sprinkling of sugary-crisp crumb topping. My two men at home were dubious about this switch (they love my flaky pie crust), but after one bite they were quickly converted.

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Once peeled and pitted, fresh peaches are then sliced into large chunks to create the filling for the pie.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

This recipe calls for 2 1/2 pounds of fresh peaches, which I peel, pit and slice into 1-inch chunks. The easiest way to remove the skin is to blanch the peaches in boiling water for a minute or two, just until the skin starts to soften, and then plunge them into a bowl of ice water to cool down and stop cooking. Once they are cool enough to handle, you should be able to use your fingers to easily remove the skin from the flesh of the fruit.

Once the peaches are chopped, I place them in a large bowl and toss them with lemon juice to keep them from browning. Next, I add sugar, salt and instant tapioca, which helps to thicken the juices so that they do not spill out of the pie once it is baked.

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The peach filling needs to rest for about 30 minutes before assembling the pie, and this gives the tapioca pearls time to hydrate and soften. You could also use an equal measure of cornstarch to thicken the filling, or double the amount of flour, but I prefer tapioca as it keeps the juices glossy, bright and clear.

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Sarah uses a rolling pin to gently place her All-Butter Pie Crust in the pie plate.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

I roll the pie dough out until it is about 12 inches in diameter, and then transfer it to a 9-inch pie plate, tucking any overhanging crust under the edges, and then I refrigerate it until the peaches are ready. To assemble the pie, I pour the peach filling into the shell and then cover that with the crumb topping.

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To create a decorative crimp around the edge of the pie, place 2 knuckles against the crust and press your thumb between them.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

I bake the pie in the lower third of the oven at 400 degrees for about an hour. The crumb topping will brown quicker than the pie crust, so I check it after 20 to 30 minutes and cover it loosely with aluminum foil once it becomes golden brown.

The pie is ready when the juices are bubbling and the crust is a rich, golden brown. The pie will need to cool for at least two hours before serving so the juices can firm up, and the pie can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator for several days (if it lasts that long).

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Fresh peaches are combined with sugar, salt and instant tapioca, which acts as a thickening agent and keeps the juices bright and clear. A sugar crumb topping will be added to the pie just before baking.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

I serve this pie in large, warm slices topped with a dollop of vanilla ice cream, but even plain is pretty good, too. No matter how you serve it, you can say farewell to summer in stylish flavor this Labor Day Weekend with a colorful and delicious Peach Crumble Pie.

Peach Crumble Pie

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Sarah's Peach Crumble Pie features billowy clouds of sugary crumble atop layers of fresh peaches encased in a rich and flaky all-butter crust.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

PRINT: Click here for a printer-friendly version of this recipe

Makes: One 9-inch pie

Ingredients for peach pie and filling:
1 pie crust (for homemade, see my All-Butter Pie Crust recipe from Aug. 10, 2022 )
2 ½ pounds firm, ripe peaches (about 6 cups)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons instant tapioca
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

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Ingredients for crumble topping:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Directions:
Place a disk of pie dough (or premade pie crust) on a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough out until it is approximately 12 inches in diameter, rotating often to prevent it from sticking to the surface. Add more flour to the work surface as needed, 1 teaspoon at a time.

Gently roll the pastry around the rolling pin and transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Fold the overhanging pastry under the edge of the pie crust and use your fingers or a fork to crimp decoratively. Cover the plate with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator.

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat; fill a large bowl with ice and water and set aside.

Place the peaches in the boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes until the skin softens — you can pinch a bit of the skin to see if it will loosen easily. Immediately transfer the peaches to the ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Once cool enough to handle, use your fingers or a sharp paring knife to remove the skin from each peach.

Cut the peaches in half and discard the stones. Use a sharp knife to slice the peaches into 1-inch chunks and place them in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and toss until evenly coated (to prevent browning).

Add the sugar, tapioca and salt and gently stir to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and position the rack in the lower third of the oven.

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To prepare the crumble topping, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl until combined. Add the melted butter and use a fork to stir until crumbs form. Set aside until it is time to assemble the pie.

When the peaches are ready, remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and pour the filling into the shell. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the filling, using all of it, until evenly distributed.

Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the crumble top is a lovely, golden brown, then place a piece of tinfoil loosely over just the topping to prevent it from overbrowning.

Continue to bake for 30 to 40 more minutes, until the pie crust is a deep golden brown and the filling begins to bubble. Watch the pie crust and if the edges start to brown too much, cover with a ring of foil or a pie shield.

Remove the pie from the baking sheet and place on a wire rack to cool for 2 hours before serving, so that the juices have time to settle. Serve with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or a dusting of powdered sugar.

To store: Cover the pie with aluminum foil and store at room temperature for 2 to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

To freeze: Assemble the pie but do not add the topping until ready to bake. Place the unbaked pie in the freezer until firm, at least an hour, then cover it with 2 layers of plastic wrap, followed by aluminum foil, then place it in the freezer for up to 2 months. When ready to bake, remove the pie from the freezer and let it thaw just as the oven preheats. Add the crumble topping and bake according to the recipe, adding 10 to 15 additional minutes as needed.

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“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at sarahnasello@gmail.com.
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