I don’t think I love something much more than Colorado peaches…except maybe this Fresh Peach Pie with a Brown Sugar and Walnut Crumble. It’s simply the best!
When I shared a Bing Cherry pie I made for a gathering of neighbors at a pie party last week I have to admit I saved the best for last. While that cherry pie was really good, for me it was this fresh peach pie that was the star. This is an All Colorado pie; made with fresh peaches from the Western Slope (the west side of the Rocky Mountains) and a crust with leaf lard from pigs born and raised in Colorado.
This pie should be entered in a Colorado pie contest. I know it’s a winner but then everyone would know. Flaky tender crust that I’ve already waxed poetic over combined with the sweetest, BEST peaches ever and then topped with a walnut and brown sugar crumble? Oh my. Oh shoot…I did include Hudson Baby Bourbon from New York but hey…I can buy it in Colorado; that counts right? 🙂
As much as I love to make cocktails I think I use more bourbon for cooking than cocktail making. Bourbon has an inherent sweetness to it and this one, made with 100% corn is especially so. With notes of vanilla and caramel it seemed the perfect addition to a peach pie. The Hudson Baby Bourbon is only aged for 3 years compared to older bourbons that might be kept in barrels three times longer (hence the ‘baby’ reference).
For this pie, I used the same crust on the bottom that I used for the cherry pie but for the topping I combined toasted walnuts and brown sugar with butter and flour for a crispy crumbled topping. Fabulous crust. Totally delicious filling. Topping you could eat with a spoon. Altogether? Pie Nirvana.
Now about those peaches. I doubt that Colorado is known for it’s peaches in the same vein that Georgia is but maybe that’s because we don’t share them well? They are the largest fruit crop grown in Colorado and every summer residents start to anticipate when they will start coming to market.
They show up at farmers markets, roadside stands and in our large grocery chains. Friends I know who have moved out of state have made them the stuff of legend; I finally found a producer for one friend who ships orders out of state. They may be pricey that way but once you’ve had one you would understand.
Peaches from Palisade, Colorado are simply the best; they’re ripe, sweet and loaded with chin-dripping juice. The Grand Valley’s hot days and cool nights are perfect for bringing out the natural sugars in the peaches and growing big fruit. In comparison, peaches coming in from other areas, such as California, seem invariably dry, mealy and tart because they must be picked green to survive traveling and won’t develop any more sugar once they are picked.
It’s no wonder that the larger chains started carrying them in stores; at this time of year I don’t know of anyone who would bother with anything but our own amazing peaches. I know you might not have Palisade peaches in your neck of the woods so just try to find local summer fruit and you’ll have a terrific pie!
Know what else I love? Pie cookies. I mash together the scraps of dough, roll it out and cut some cookie shapes from it. This time I topped them with some leftover brown sugar and walnut crumble but usually I just sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar on top of them and bake for about 12-15 minutes. They disappeared as fast as the pies!
Fresh Peach Pie featuring Palisades Peaches
1 hr 10 mins
For the Pie Crust
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 Tbsp cold butter (1/2 cup), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 8 Tbsp cold lard, (1/2 cup) separated into several chunks
- 6-8 Tbsp ice water
For the Crumble Topping
- 3/4 C granulated sugar
- 1/4 C light brown sugar
- 3/4 C sifted flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 C butter
- 3/4 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
For the Pie Filling
- 6 cups peaches (adjust for size of pan)
- 1/4-1/2 cups sugar (depending on sweetness of fruit)
- small pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1/3 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp bourbon
To Make the Pie Crust (Makes two; refrigerate or freeze the 2nd one for another use):
- Mix flour and salt in food processor fitted with metal blade.
- Cut in butter cubes with five 1-second pulses. Add cold lard and continue cutting in until flour resembles coarse cornmeal with butter bits no bigger than small peas, about 4 additional 1-second pulses. Turn mixture out into a medium-sized bowl.
- Use your fingers to quickly sift through the mixture and if you find any really large chunks, just massage with some flour with your fingers to break it up.
- Sprinkle 3 Tbsp of ice water over mixture. With a fork, fluff to mix thoroughly. Squeeze a handful of dough — if it doesn’t stick together, add two more tablespoons of water and repeat. Continue adding 1 tablespoon at a time until a quick squeeze of the dough shows it is sticking together.
- Divide dough into two and then flatten into 6-inch discs. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling. I had better success using a pastry cloth than trying to roll it on my granite top but in either case, make sure you sprinkle counter/cloth with flour and flour your rolling pin.
To Make the Crumble Topping:
- Put everything into a bowl and mix with a pastry blender or use a food processor. Do not over-process; it should have some pea sized pieces.
To Make the Filling:
- Preheat oven to 425F
- Put first seven ingredients in a big bowl and mix until the fruit looks like it is coated with coarse wet sand.
- Place pastry in pie plate.
- Sprinkle crumble topping over pie filling; you will have some extra. Use it to sprinkle over piecrust scraps and bake for 12 minutes.
- Put pie in oven on a cookie sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 425F.
- Reduce heat to 350F and bake for 35 minutes more.
Recipe adapted from Kate McDermott's 'Frog Hollow Peach Pie'