Winona Peach Festival, Peach Crumble Pie & Peach Jam

by byn on September 12, 2010

in Pies, Tarts & Pudding

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Peaches bring us to the end of another summer of amazing Ontario fruit. This summer I baked with rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries (some muffins that I didn’t blog about), which brings us to peaches. A couple weeks ago Alexis, Nick and I headed over to the Winona Peach Festival, which is in the tiny town of Winona, right in the heart of the Niagara fruit belt, and close to where Alexis’ in-laws live.

I had thoughts of peach cobbler or peach pie in my mind, but after we walked around the festival, it was obvious the most popular treat was a Peach Sundae. Alexis asked some random dude how they were, and his reply was: “Outstanding”. Not really what I expected to hear, so of course we lined up right away. What we got was a big cup filled with vanilla ice cream, topped with thick slices of peaches, and a final dollop of whipped cream.  We think the peaches were tossed in some lemon juice or a simple syrup type of thing, because they were slightly tart; but against the rich, creaminess of the ice cream, this was perfect.

I picked up a basket of peaches on the way out and the girl who sold them to me confirmed they would be perfect for baking. Since I somehow made it through the whole summer without making a pie, I already knew what these peaches were destined for. 

In terms of the crust, I tried Smitten Kitchen’s ‘all butter, really flaky pie dough’ for the first time. Shortening kind of freaks me out, and I know it would take me forever to use a whole package, so I was looking forward to seeing how this version worked.  It was easy, rolled out smoothly, and tasted great. For whatever reason, I don’t really like pie with crust on the top, so I used my go-to crumble recipe instead. Finally, for the filling, a bit of googling led me to a recipe for a peach pie filling with a vanilla bean scraped and added to the mixture.

The only annoying part of baking with peaches is peeling them. Last summer I tried (and failed) to blanch peaches in order to peel them, which is the process of dunking the peaches into boiling water for a minute, then dunking them into ice cold water. Theoretically, the peach skins just slip off after that. Well, it didn’t work for me. I tried again for this pie and had about a 50% success rate. Half the peaches peeled easily, the other half just didn’t work, and I ended peeling them with a knife. I guess I’m doing something wrong, but I didn’t have the patience to figure it out when I just wanted to get on with my life.

So the pie was absolutely ah-may-zing. It was like summer in a pie plate. I just loved it. I brought it over to my Mom & Dad’s and we all ate a slice, and they had the rest when their friends came over for dinner the next night. Since I was going on vacation a few days after the Peach Festival, I had to use up the rest of my peaches right away. Following the same method I used for the Strawberry Jam and Raspberry Jam earlier this summer, I tried to make Peach Jam. It turned out okay, but the weird thing is that it tastes exactly, and I mean exactly, like canned peaches, which is kind of upsetting. I mean, you spend some time making your jam out of fresh peaches, you kind of expect it to taste better than freaking canned fruit. This wasn’t the case with the strawberry or raspberry versions, so I’m not sure what the deal is with peaches. Nevertheless, I have been eating it on toast and on top of vanilla yogurt and granola and it’s still delicious.

Peach Crumble Pie

Source: A mash-up of these three recipes

Ingredients

Crust:

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into small cubes and VERY cold

1/2 cup – 3/4 cup ice water

Filling:

5 cups peeled, pitted and thickly sliced peaches (I think I used 6 peaches)

1/2 cup sugar

3 tbsp corn starch

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

Crumble Topping:

1 1/3 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

3 tbsp sugar

3 tbsp demerara sugar (a.k.a. turbinado sugar or sugar-in-the-raw)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

Directions

  1. For pie crust, whisk together flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender, but the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is the size of small peas. Add ice water, and mix together bringing ingredients together. Slowly add more ice water, a tablespoonful at a time, until mixture comes together into one big mass, kneading gently. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in fridge for 1 hour, or longer if you have time. Roll out dough on a floured surface, and fit it into your pie plate. (For pictures of this process, refer to the original post as liked above), and chill in freezer for 30 mins. Cover crust with foil, fill with pie weights and bake at 400 for 10 minutes, then remove foil and weights and bake for an additional 5-8 minutes until lightly golden brown.
  2. For filling, combine peaches, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and vanilla bean seeds (if using) in a large bowl. Let sit while you make the crumble topping, then pour into the pie crust.
  3. For crumble topping, mix flour, baking powder, and sugars together. Add melted butter, and stir until large and small clumps form. Sprinkle over peach filling.
  4. Bake at 375 for about 45-50 minutes. If crust and crumble get too brown, cover pie with foil, and then remove when there are about 5 minutes left to bake.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tatiana September 16, 2010 at 3:49 pm

OH, that pie… Mmmm… I love pies soooo very-very much and I bet this one was so super good… And speaking of jams, we actually made jam last week at home from all those pears on ‘our side’ of our neighbor’s tree! Don’t know how it tastes yet but I’ll be sure to gift you a jar – maybe you can blog about it? (but you’ll have to lie if it doesn’t actually taste good, ok?)

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planetbyn September 16, 2010 at 9:19 pm

mmmm pear jam – i bet it’s great! i’m so excited for fall baking…apples…pears…pumpkin…cinnamon…

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