Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Peach Crumble Custard Pie!

For my money, few desserts are as impressive as homemade pie!  There are so many different acts in this particular circus that need to be perfectly balanced in order for the show to meet its potential for "spectacular!"  The crust should be tender, yet flaky... The filling should be sweet, but not overly so.  Fruit filling should be moist and naturally sweet without a gummy texture, or an artificial "pectin-like" flavor.  This, "Peach Crumble Custard Pie" brings all of that to the table!  Soft, yet crunchy.. Fruity, and slightly sweet.  The perfect "Crème brûlée marries Peach Cobbler and has a baby" sort of thing!

You Will Need:

  • The Pie:
    • About a dozen small fresh peaches 
    • 1 9" Deep-Dish
  • The Custard
    • An Egg
    • 1 Cup of Heavy Cream
    • 1.5 Tbsp Flour
    • 1 Tsp Vanilla
    • 2/3 Cup Sugar
  • The Crumble
    • 1/2 Cup of all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 Cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 Cup butter, melted but not "hot"

Now; this recipe is easy, but it takes time and love.  If you're short on time, pick another pie; do NOT take shortcuts with this one!  If you're short on "love," well, you should eat a slice of someone else's pie and then see a therapist... If you're ready, preheat your oven to 425, grab your cutting board, set out your frozen pie crust to thaw, and let's do this thing!

There is probably not another fruit in the world as complicated as a peach.  If you were to pick 3 different peaches from the same tree on the same day, they'd all have a different flavor and texture.  Canned peaches are consistent, but they don't really taste like fresh peaches, do they?  Not even close!  They taste like "peach syrup" or pectin or... I don't know, but they don't taste like fresh peaches, that's for sure. 

This recipe calls for a dozen small peaches, but you won't need all of them.  You'll only need the good ones, so be prepared to taste them!  Peal the skin off of each peach, then slice the flesh in half and peel it off of the pit.  Now, slice each half into the crescent peach slices we're all familiar with and taste one!  Is it sweet, delectable and peachy?  If so, push all of the slices into a bowl!  If it's a little "bitter" or "blah" or just not "peachy" enough, then scrape all of the slices into a compost bin, or into some breakfast oats and move along to the next peach!

Eventually, you'll have enough slices of the perfect peaches to fill your pie crust!  Stop for a moment to take stock; what you have in front of you is an amazing thing!  Fresh fruit, none of the overly sweet syrupy "ick" to clutter nature's perfection, and you have it in a PIE!  Granted, it's a rapidly thawing frozen pie shell, but... you're still MILES ahead of your competition at this point!  Wash your hands, pour some wine, and gird your loins for the custard,  The messy, sticky, peachy, juice-ridden, counter-top messing moments are behind you!

Toss an egg into a large bowl and beat it to death with a good whisk.  Beat it some more.  You want a nice bright yellow uniform egg to start your custard with.  Add the Vanilla and the sugar and beat, beat, beat until you have a nice, smooth consistency.  I probably could have used my KitchenAid mixer, but I wasn't in the mood to wash it, so... I grabbed the whisk.  Lightly sprinkle the flour on top and beat it some more.  The flour is here to help thicken the custard so the pie will stand up to slicing so, don't forget it!  Add the heavy cream, a dollop at a time, and mix it slowly with the egg batter.  Your goal is to dissolve all of the sugar and to come up with a smooth custard.  You'll know its ready when you scrape your whisk across the bottom of the bowl and you don't get any sugar residue sticking to the wires of your whisk.  Set the custard aside....

Now, "Let's get crumbly!"  Mix the 1/2 Cup flour with the brown sugar, using a whisk, until you have a homogeneous mixture that looks like beach sand.  Slowly drizzle in the warm melted butter and keep whisking away until you have a nice brown crumbly mixture of heavenly goodness.

Warm heavenly goodness looks like this.  It should feel like wet sand, and it should crumble, easily, when you use your fingers to break it up.

Ready for assembly?  Slowly pour the custard over your peaches.  Do this in batches, allowing time for the custard to work its way down among the peaches... You may not need all of the custard, just keep pouring and settling until the mix comes up just blow the edge of the pie-crust.  Now, grab a handful of the crumble and "season" the pie with it!  Like a little crumble?  Add what you want... Like a lot of crumble?  Add it all!

Now put the pie onto a cookie sheet (I line my sheets with a silicon sheet or with foil, to catch any spill-over), and send it into the middle of your 425 degree oven.  Shut the door, and IMMEDIATELY drop the temperature to 350.  This initial heat blast will help brown the top of the pie and the edges of the crust, without burning the custard later.  Set your timer for 45 minutes and give the pie a "peek-a-loo!"  It should be golden brown all over, and the middle should show a little bit of jiggle (but not too much) when you gently shake the corner of the cookie sheet.

Cool the pie for slicin' and you're ready to go.  Some like whipping cream on this pie, but the custard is "cream heavy" so I think it stands alone!  Either way, it's an awesome way to do a peach pie.  When people ask you the secret?  Just say, "I found some good peaches!"

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