Perfect Peach Crumble is the ultimate peach dessert. It is best made when peaches are in season to showcase the sweetness of peaches just picked from the tree!
Peaches for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Peach salsa, peach jam, peaches with cream, peaches with ice cream, peach muffins…. am I right? You have to work fast when someone gives you a box or two!
One year I thought I could make enough pies and crumble and salsa to share with friends instead of take the time to preserve the fruit. It didn’t exactly work out that way… I felt a little like Lucy in the ‘I Love Lucy’ episode where she and Ethel are working in the chocolate factory – you know what I’m talking about! Instead of chocolates, it’s peaches. They just kept ripening. I kept baking pans of peach crumble… non-stop peeling, cutting, baking and eating. I couldn’t keep up! You get the picture. It was good problem to have. ‘Cause peaches are the BEST.
I love the Cook’s Illustrated recipe for peach crumble! I’ve made peach crisp or peach crumble for years but never loved the result. Peaches are often so juicy, they ruin any topping or crust because of excess juice! This recipe solves the excess juice problem in peach desserts. No runny peach filling. No slimy topping from juicy peaches. Crisp and yummy. Not an overly sweet dessert, just enough sugar to highlight the flavor of the peaches. In my version, I simplified the directions and method, using Cook’s Illustrated basic instructions, but streamlining to make following along easy.
I recently made 6 pans of Perfect Peach Crumble in two days with amazing results every time! The key is to fold the peaches with sugar and then let them sit (macerate) to draw the juice out of the peaches. The other essential step is to bake the crumble topping before adding to the fruit (for an extra crispy topping), then top the raw fruit with baked crumble, and bake a second time. The process takes a little more time than a regular crisp or crumble, but is well worth the effort!
Perfect Peach Crumble
- 3 1/2 pounds ripe but firm peaches 6 to 7 medium, peeled and pitted; each peach halved and cut into 3/4-inch wedges (about 6-7 cups prepared peaches)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- juice from half of a lemon or about 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch ground nutmeg
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar plus 1 tablespoon for topping the crumble once assembled
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar light or dark
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 6 pieces, softened a bit
- 3/4 cup pecans or walnuts coarsely chopped
Adjust oven rack to lower their of oven; heat oven to 350 degrees.
Gently toss (don't stir) peaches and sugar together in large bowl; let stand for 30 minutes, tossing a few times.
Drain peaches in colander set over large bowl.
Whisk 1/4 cup drained peach juice, cornstarch, lemon juice, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in small bowl; discard excess peach juice*
Toss 1/4 cup juice/cornstarch mixture with peaches and transfer to 8 or 9-inch-square or 9-10 inch greased pie plate.
While peaches are draining, combine flour, sugars, salt and vanilla in work bowl of food processor. Pulse to combine mixture. Add butter and 1/2 cup of the nuts; pulse again until mixture clumps together, about 30 seconds.
Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup nuts over mixture and fold together. The mixture may be crumbly at this point.
Transfer mixture to parchment-lined baking sheet and spread into even layer. Press the mixture together on the baking sheet.
Bake on middle rack until lightly browned and firm, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and break into chunks. Set aside. You can do this early in the day or the day before and store in a sealed bag or plastic container after completely cooled until ready to use. If you live in a dry climate (such as UT or AZ, ok to leave out on cookie sheet until ready to use).
TO ASSEMBLE AND BAKE:
Pour baked topping over peaches or scoop up by handfuls and distribute over peaches, breaking up any large pieces.
Sprinkle remaining tablespoon sugar over top and place in oven. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake until browned and fruit is bubbling around edges, 25 to 35 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream.
- *Instead of discarding extra peach juice- pour into large glass filled with ice and about 2-3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. Fill glass to top with cold water and stir for fresh peach lemonade. Drink while contemplating what to do with all of the peaches sitting on back porch.