This Peach Crumb Pie is the dessert that started it all.
Growing up, I really didn’t have any interest in cooking or baking. My mom was a whiz in the kitchen and I enjoyed plenty of homemade meals, but I never had much of a desire to do it myself. My culinary prowess was limited to Kraft macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, and putting frozen Schwan’s individual pizzas in the oven.
But one day, something came over me. I must have been 15 or 16 at the time and I was home alone. It was the day before Mother’s Day. I don’t know why the thought popped into my head, but suddenly I decided to make a pie for my mom as a suprise for Mother’s Day. I went to the kitchen and started thumbing through all of her old cookbooks. I eventually happened on a recipe for peach crumb pie. It looked easy enough and was made with canned peaches, which we just so happened to have in the pantry.
The only problem? No pie crust.
So I went back to the cookbooks until I found another recipe for pie crust. It also looked pretty easy so I decided to go for it.
Somehow, amazingly, my first attempt at pie crust was a success. I had seen mom roll it out between wax paper, so I did the same, carefully flipping the pie crust into the pan and pressing it against the sides.
I mixed up the filling, popped it in the oven and crossed my fingers. 45 minutes later, there it was. A golden, bubbling, perfectly respectable looking pie.
I remember how I felt as I gingerly lifted the pie from the oven and placed it on the counter. I was so amazed it actually worked, and so proud that I did it all by myself.
The look on my parents’ faces when I told them I’d made a pie…from scratch…was priceless. Of course they were extra shocked and extra gracious considering my previous lack of culinary experimentation. I soaked up their compliments, their oooohs and ahhhhhs, their satisfied ‘mmmmmmmms’. I loved seeing their delight, their enjoyment at each new bite.
I won’t say that everything changed after that. It was still several years before I really began to get into cooking and baking. But when I look back, I think that was the moment that started it all. It was the moment I discovered the joy of serving others really good food, of sharing something you’ve made with your own hands. I still love that feeling.
Recently, I realized the pie that started it all wasn’t even here on the food blog, so I decided it was high time to resurrect this old recipe.
Interestingly enough, it took me three tries to get it right, even 10 years and thousands of hours in the kitchen later. I must have had beginners luck back then.
At any rate, this recipe is now just right. I made a few tweaks, added some cinnamon and ginger, and used fresh peaches. I like to keep things simple, so I don’t usually peel the peaches. I like the extra texture the unpeeled peaches add, but feel free to peel away if your prefer.
This pie has a thick, perfectly sweet, juicy peach filling with a towering crumb topping. The crumbs get golden brown and crunchy and provide the perfect contrast in texture to the gooey filling. It’s kind of like getting cobbler and pie in one dish. Which is basically the same as saying it’s pretty darn awesome.
It tastes exactly what an August day should taste like. The cinnamon spiked peaches have the fiery, mellow taste of a late summer sunset, and the cinnamon and ginger hint at the fall to come. It’s the kind of taste you want to hold onto, savor, linger over.
You can use store bought crust for this, or one of the three delicious pie crust recipes I shared last week. If you want to make the super easy, no-fail recipe I made back in high school, choose the tender, vegetable oil based one.
Peach Crumb Pie is best served slightly warm, and of course, it’s fabulous with a giant scoop of ice cream.
If you want to feel the thrill of sharing homemade food with the ones you love, make pie. I can’t imagine a better place to start.