beach-house baking: peach streusel pie

It all begins on Monday.

Middle school.

I don’t feel ready for this next part of my daughter’s life. Or rather, I do feel ready in part. I feel ready for the part where I stick to my parenting skills, where I love her unconditionally, and where I try my very best to support her no matter what. But I don’t feel prepared for all the outside pressures that I know will be piled on her shoulders as she enters middle school.

I worry that we have not prepared her well enough for the mean girls she will certainly encounter or for the subtle bullying that I know she’s already experienced (and didn’t recognize).

I hope we’ve prepared her to trust her instincts and intuition about what is right and what is wrong. I think we have, but these next years will be telling.

All of this is on my mind this weekend, the last weekend before school starts. If you have any advice or guidance for me, please share.

A little over a week ago, the beginning of the school year was far out of my mind. As is our family tradition, we spent a week at our favorite beach with some of our closest friends and their children.

There were hours of conversations held in our circle of beach chairs. The Gulf of Mexico was as beautiful as ever – clear, cool turquoise water for miles – and the kids had a great time building sand castles and digging holes in the sugary sand. Most of the group (not me) tried paddle boarding, and we all took turns kayaking on a day when the Gulf waters were as flat and calm as I’ve ever seen.

We dined out many times, but we cooked together, too. These meals cooked in our rented beach house have become my most special memories of our annual week at the beach.

I like to bake dessert during our week at the beach. This year, I baked a peach streusel pie – two of them, to feed our crowd of 13.

I came prepared, having made and packed two piecrusts before leaving for the beach. They traveled the 5 hours in our cooler and then rested in the fridge until one night mid-week. I wasn’t sure what type of pie I would make, but the in-season peaches at the market were large, ripe, and sweet. The peaches declared themselves as the only sensible choice.

I’m thinking about that peach pie this morning, and about how great it feels to make beautiful and delicious food from scratch, and then to share that food with friends and family.

And, although it may sound silly, it’s true. In feeding others, I find nourishment for myself.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8.

Peach Streusel Pie

The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book is a wonderful pie book, and it's my go-to for pie inspiration. This recipe is tweaked from the authors' recipe for Skillet Stone Fruit Streusel Pie.

This pie is amazing on its own, but to really wow your guests, serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Ingredients for Pie Crust:
3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons (36 grams) granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2-1/4 sticks (257 grams) unsalted butter, very cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup water
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 cup ice

Ingredients for Streusel:
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons (42 grams) packed light brown sugar
4 teaspoons (12 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, room temperature

Ingredients for Pie:
4 cups sliced peaches (from about 4 or 5 peaches)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup (160 grams) packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


Make Pie Crust Dough:

Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl, then add the flour mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Add cold cubed butter and pulse just until a coarse meal is formed. Combine the water, cider vinegar, and ice into a small bowl or measuring cup. Add 8 tablespoons of the cold water mixture to the dough and pulse a couple of times. Add more liquid by the tablespoon, pulsing after each addition, until the dough begins to clump together in moist clumps.

Scrape the dough out onto a work surface and divide dough in half. Flatten each dough ball gently into a thick disk and wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for at least an hour before rolling.

NOTE: For this pie recipe, you will only need one of the discs; the other can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

Make Streusel:

Stir together the flour, sugars, and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle the butter pieces over and toss to coat. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until the butter is incorporated and the mixture is chunky. Chill for at least 15 minutes before using.

Make Pie:

Butter a 9-inch pie plate. On a lightly floured surface, roll one disk of the pie dough into a 12-inch round. Gently fit the dough into your pie plate, taking care not to stretch the dough, and trim overhang to 1-1/2-inches. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

Heat oven to 425 degrees F, with the oven racks in the bottom and center positions. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack.

Combine the peaches, lemon juice, light brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Pour peach mixture into the pie crust. Fold the overhanging crust over the top of the fruit, and sprinkle streusel over the rest of the pie.

Place the pie plate on the preheated baking sheet and bake on the lowest rack of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry is set and beginning to brown. Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees F, move the pie to the center oven rack, and continue to bake until the pastry is golden brown and the juices are bubbling throughout, about 30 to 35 minutes longer.

Allow to cool completely on a wire rack for 2 to 3 hours.