For when you can't decide whether you want a peach pie or cobbler - have both! With this Brown Sugar Peach Pie with Cobbler-like Streusel topping.
This cinnamon and nutmeg packed singe layer pie is thickened with tapioca starch instead of flour and will win you the admiration of all your friends and family.
I prefer cobbler.
I would rather have a cobbler over a pie any day. I like my dough mixed into my fruit.
My wife however would rather have a pie.
So what is one to do. Can we have our pie and eat it too?
I found a solution that pleased the two of us.
🍑 Pie vs. Cobbler
The difference between the two is quite simple.
Pie has a crust on the bottom and sometimes the top. Cobbler has a mixture of flour and butter that goes on top - you could say it's cobbled together! Cobblers do not have a bottom crust. You could use the word "crumble". as well. "Streusel" specifically describes the topping by itself.
To get the best of both worlds, I made a peach pie but instead of a top crust. I pulled out my recipe for cobbler. This brought a cobbler like feeling to the pie which made it much more pleasing to me and made my wife happy too as she gets her crust.
RELATED - Learn about all the different types of flour and fruit desserts from cobblers to buckles and grunts.
Here is what you will need to make this pie/cobbler combo.
- all purpose flour
- kosher salt
- ice water
- cane sugar
- brown sugar
- tapioca flour
- ground cinnamon
- freshly grated nutmeg
Other spices you may want to consider include ground ginger, cardamom, or cloves.
For the streusel topping
- all-purpose flour
- brown sugar
- cold butter
- demerara sugar (optional)
For the pie crust, I use Alton Brown's recipe from the Good Eats episode "I Pie". This crust uses both butter and lard, giving you the best of both fats.
The peach filing contains the best fresh peaches I could find along with a combo of white and brown sugar along with some cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg.
For the brown sugar I made my very own brown sugar combining pure cane sugar and Molasses - creating a dark brown sugar.
For the streusel topping you use an equal part brown sugar and flour along with some cold butter. I also add a sprinkling of demerara sugar. This type of sugar doesn't dissolve when baked, so it adds a bit of extra crunch to the topping.
I use tapioca starch instead of corn starch. I don't like the flavor that corn starch adds to the filing. Tapioca won't mess with the flavor. It also produces a clear filling that will give your pie a glossy sheen. Other choices could make your filling look cloudy.
🧊 Can You Use Frozen Peaches?
You can use frozen peaches if you like but I don't recommend canned peaches as they are already really soft and don't have as much flavor. You don't need to thaw the peaches before baking. However the moisture in the frozen peaches might throw off your filling and you may need more starch. I haven't experimented with frozen peaches for this recipe so I can't give you an exact amount but I might start with a couple tablespoons extra.
RELATED - 6 Tips for Buying the Best Peaches
Let me take you through the steps of assembling the filling and baking the pie.
Start by slicing the peaches into slices. If you have freestone peaches you can cut down the seam of the peach all the way around, split the peach in half, and remove the pit. If clingstone, you will need to start cutting the peach off center to get around the pit, and then into slices.
RELATED - How to Slice a Peach
Also note that you do NOT need to peel the peaches for the pie. The skin will add color to the pie and will be soft enough. The only reason I might peel it as if the fuzz really bothers you. In that case I might consider nectarines instead.
Next add in the cane sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir to combine. Allow the peaches to sit for 15-20 minutes for some of the liquid to be released before you add your starch.
To help thicken your filling more, you could also drain out all the liquid, put it into a pot, and then boil it to reduce it into a syrup. This is an optional step.
RELATED - How to Make Homemade Brown Sugar
Next add in the tapioca starch. Stir to combine. Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes and then stir again.
Now it's time to make the topping.
Combine the flour and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Cut the cold butter into cubes. Using your finger tips rub the butter into the flour/sugar until it's incorporated. It doesn't need to be in even, in fact I like the rustic look of it being uneven.
Add the peaches to the crust, then spread the topping evenly over the peaches.
Bake at 425 degrees for 10 mintues. Then reduce the heat to 350 and bake for about 45-60 minutes. Why start at a higher temperature? We want to start cooking the crust as fast to produce the flakiest crust possible. We don't want to give the fat in the crust too much time to melt. You need to lower the temperature or you will burn the pie before the filling is set.
You will know the pie is done when the crust is brown and the filling has thickened and is bubbling.
Now don't forget to add a scoop of vanilla ice cream when it's time to serve. I always look for vanilla bean ice cream. I love the one from Tillamook.
Here are my top troubleshooting tips
Crust is brown, but filling not done - Loosely place a piece of foil off the entire pie. Bake until the filling is done.
The pie is gummy - Unfortunately there is nothing you can do this time to fix that problem. If the crust is gummy that means you overworked it. You just want to bring the dough together, it's not like making bread.
Filing is runny - Bake the pie longer until the filling is bubbling. Make sure to tent the pie.
It's also important that under no circumstance do you slice into that pie before it is done cooling. I know it's hard but that filling needs to set and if you cut into it before it cools you make have a runny filling.
🥶 Do You Need to Refrigerate?
After baking your pie, does it need to go in the fridge right away after it cools? The general consensus seems to be that it's ok to sit out as long as it doesn't contain eggs (like a pumpkin pie) or dairy - not counting the butter you baked into the crust. I think it's best to put it in the fridge overnight.
Typically in the summer time when I am making a peach pie there is going to be fruit flies that I do not care to feed! But if you wrap it up good you can keep it out. I wouldn't do so though for more than a day or two. It's unlikely it will last that long anyway.
It's a pie, but it still has some character of a cobbler. I loved it way more than any other fruit pie I have made. For me having a top and bottom crust is just too much. This is just perfect. It's the way I am going to do fruit pies from now on. The debate between whether to make a pie or a cobbler is now RESOLVED!!!!!
Learn when peach season is in your state so that you can make the best pie with the best peaches!
🍰 More Desserts
Here are some of other desserts you will want to check out on the blog.
- Maple Blueberry Buckle
- Individual Upside Down Peach Cake
- Peach Ginger Muffins
- Biscuit Donuts
- Lemon Meringue Pie
- Meyer Lemon Anise cookies
- Oatiest Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Pink Peppercorn cookies
Streusel Topped Peach Pie
For the pie crust
- 3 ounces butter chilled
- 1 ounce lard chilled
- 1 cup flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup ice water
For the peach filling
Making the pie crust
- Combine the flour and salt in your favorite mixing bowl.
- Cut in the butter and lard. I just use my hands to rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles corn meal.
- Then add the ice cold water. Cold water will keep the butter from melting. You just want enough water to bring the dough together. Add more a little a time if you need to.
- Form the dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap.
- Place in the fridge for 1 hour. This gives the flour time to hydrate as well as making sure the fat is cold.
Making the filing
- While the crust is in the fridge, slice your peaches for your filling. Place the sliced peaches in a bowl and add both sugars, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Taste add to see if there is enough spices and sugar for you.
- Allow the fruit to sit for 15-20 minutes.
- Then add tapioca starch. Mix to combine. Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes.
- Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
Making the topping
- Make the topping using the same method you did to make the pie crust. First combine flour and sugar.
- Then work in the butter. Set aside.
Getting the dough in the pan
- Take the dough out of the fridge. Roll out the dough into a circle. I place my pie pan over top the dough to see if my circle is big enough if not, I keep going until it is.
- Lay the pie pan back on top of the dough. Flip over. Straighten the dough out if need to be to make it fit.
- Then using a fork, dock the dough. Place back in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Blind bake (with no fruit in it) in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven.
Add the filling and topping
- Now just dump your filling into the pie shell. Make sure the filling is distributed evenly.
- Now sprinkle on evenly your topping.
- Then add a few pinches of demerara sugar if you have it right on top.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 45-60 minutes or until the filling has thicken and is bubbling.
- Check the pie after 20 minutes to see how it's progressing. If the crust is starting to brown too fast before the filling is set, then loosely lay a piece of foil over top the pie.
- Never cut into a hot pie.
- The filing needs time to cool and set up or you will end up with a soupy mess. So just wait until the pie cool completely before enjoying. Resist the urge. Leave the house or lock the pie into a safe if you need to. If you having trouble waiting you can always read all of my 1000 plus posts!