This Peach Pie with Cornmeal Crumble Topping is a perfect summertime dessert of fresh peaches, and sweet, crunchy cornmeal crumble. You’re going to fall in love with this dessert, especially if you are a fan of sweet cornbread and peaches (separately, not together, though I’m sure they would taste great together). The cornmeal crumble topping is the perfect amount of sweet corn flavor. When you pair it with the bright, sweet-and-sour flavor of the ginger peach filling, you have a dessert that’s not only unique, it’s heavenly.
What is Peach Pie?
Peach pie is a dessert consisting of fresh or frozen peach slices tossed in a cornstarch or tapioca mixture and baked in raw pie dough. This type of dessert is known as a fruit pie. Fruit pies often have two crusts, but they don’t have to be two pie dough crusts. You can top a peach (or any fruit) pie with pie dough, a streusel, or a crumble.
The placement of the crust is the biggest difference between a peach pie and a peach cobbler. Pies usually have their crusts on the bottom or on the bottom and top. Cobblers often have a dough or batter on top only.
What is a Cornmeal Crumble?
This peach pie’s top “crust” is a cornmeal crumble. A crumble is a topping or filling for many pastries. Crumbles are sweet mixtures of flour, butter, and sugar (usually brown) sprinkled over or on pies or danish doughs. As the crumble bakes on pies, the butter melts, caramelizing the sugar and creating a crunchy texture.
Masa harina replaces all-purpose flour in this recipe to give the crumble a more sweet, buttery flavor.
The rest of the cornmeal crumble consists of yellow cornmeal (medium or fine ground), brown sugar, unsalted butter, ground cinnamon, and kosher salt.
What is Masa Harina?
Masa harina (corn flour) is a flour of nixtamalized corn most commonly used in making masa for corn arepas, tortillas, or tamales. Nixtamalization is the process of soaking corn in a mixture of limestone or lye to process the corn. The corn is then boiled down to remove the grains’ outer coats and give the corn an earthy, slightly tart flavor.
If you’ve eaten tacos with corn tortillas, you’ve tasted masa harina.
If you don’t want to use masa harina for the cornmeal crumble, you can replace it with all-purpose flour. It won’t have the stronger corn flavor but will still taste amazing.
How Far Ahead Can I Make the Cornmeal Crumble Topping?
Use your fingers to combine the masa harina, cornmeal, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and kosher salt in a 1-quart mixing bowl. Add the cold butter to the bowl after combining the dry ingredients.
Use your fingers, once again, to pinch the butter into the dry ingredients until a crumbly mixture forms. You want the crumble to have pieces the size of peas with smaller crumbles. You need to pinch down anything larger than a pea because it won’t bake up crunchy.
Cover the crumble and store it in the fridge while you roll out the pie dough. You can make this cornmeal crumble up to 2 days ahead and keep it in a covered container in the fridge. I don’t like storing it longer than that because the moisture in the fridge causes the masa to get soggy and taste funny. You can also freeze the prepared crumble for up to 2 months in a freezer-safe container. No need to thaw it before using it either.
What Ingredients Do I Need to Make Peach Pie with Cornmeal Crumble?
You need the cornmeal crumble, 7 large yellow peaches, 1 portion of mealy pie dough, brown sugar, cornstarch, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and lemon juice to make the pie.
I baked this pie in a 9-inch ceramic pie plate, but I highly recommend baking it in a metal pie tin. Metal pie tins conduct the heat more evenly, producing a crisp bottom crust on your pie.
What’s the Best Dough to Use for This Recipe?
The best pie dough to make fruit pies with is mealy pie dough, or pâte brisée. Fruit pies usually produce a lot of liquid from the fruit’s juices as they bake. The flour and fat are cut together so that the flour is encapsulated by the fat, making it less likely to absorb a bunch of liquid as it bakes. In other words, it resists sogginess. You can use store-bought pie dough for this recipe, but you might end up with a soggy bottom.
Roll out one 10-ounce portion of pie dough into a 1/4-inch thick, 12-inch circle. I roll my pie dough out larger than most so I can tuck it under and create a real pie crust. I love pie crust almost as much as I love the filling.
Line the inside of a 9-inch pie plate with the dough, making sure you don’t pull at the dough. Pulling at the dough now will cause it to shrink as it bakes later. Flute the rim of the pie dough or use fork tines to crimp it. Next, use a fork to poke a few holes in the bottom and sides of the pie dough. This will allow steam to vent as you bake the pie dough. Chill the dough for 20 minutes, allowing the butter to firm up again. This prevents the dough from falling as it bakes.
Can I Make This a Gluten-Free Peach Pie with Cornmeal Crumble Topping?
Yes, you can make a gluten-free peach pie; just replace the flour in the mealy pie dough with gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour. You can also purchase a gluten-free pie dough that’s already prepared. No other changes need to be made since the masa harina and cornmeal are already gluten-free.
Remove the pie plate from the fridge for 10 minutes if you’re using a ceramic or glass pie plate. It needs time to warm up, or it may shatter in the hot oven. Bake the pie shell for 10 minutes in a 425°F (220°C) oven. You can bake it straight from the fridge if it’s in a metal pie tin.
Remove the pie shell from the oven and use a measuring cup to press and deflate any bubbles that may have formed in the shell. Set the pie shell aside to cool completely. Adding the fruit filling to a hot pie shell will cause it to become soggy.
Can I Use Frozen Peaches in This Recipe?
Purchase freestone peaches that give slightly to the pressure of your thumb when pressed. It should feel like squeezing an orange. Not super-firm, but not squishy, either. Your pie filling will be crunchy if you use peaches that are too firm. Plus, removing the pit will be a PITA. Using too ripe or soft peaches will leave you with a mushy pie filling. I like my peach pie to look like it has sliced peaches in it. A freestone peach is one with a pit that is loose, or can easily be loosened, from the flesh. Clingstone peaches will give you a run for your money but can still be used if that’s your only option.
You can remove the peel from the peaches using a vegetable peeler if you select the peaches I’ve described. Cut the peaches in half around their hemispheres once you remove the peels. Separate the halves by pushing them apart with your thumbs all the way around. They should come away easily, then all you need to do is shimmy out the pit. Cut the peach halves into slices between 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick and add them to a large mixing bowl.
You don’t have to peel the peaches for pies, but unpeeled peaches create a stringy texture when the filling bakes down. You can also use frozen peaches. The slices are thicker than I recommend, but you can cut them down to size. Just use the same amount in weight as fresh peaches. You have to thaw frozen peaches before making your peach pie filling. There’s no way to gauge how much liquid frozen peaches contain, so thawing them in the fridge and draining the liquid is the best way to prevent a runny pie filling.
Toss the peaches in the fresh lemon juice.
How Do You Thicken a Peach Pie?
Combine the cornstarch, brown sugar, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and kosher salt in a separate, smaller mixing bowl. Reserve 1 tablespoon of this mixture for sprinkling in the baked pie shell.
This cornstarch mixture is the old-fashioned way of thickening pies. It relies on the heat from the oven and the juice produced from the peaches as they bake to thicken the filling. If you use peaches that are too firm (or unripe), you’ll end up with a hard, dry filling. Peaches that are too soft (or overripe) will result in a runny filling.
Sprinkle the reserved cornstarch mixture into the now cool baked pie shell. This creates a layer to further prevent the bottom crust from becoming soggy.
How Far Ahead Can I Mix the Filling?
Toss the rest of the cornstarch mixture into the peaches until the peaches are completely coated.
Now, scrape the peach filling and all of its goo into the par-baked pie shell. Press it down into the pie shell to eliminate any air bubbles.
How Much of the Cornmeal Crumble Do I Use On the Peach Pie?
Next, sprinkle the cornmeal crumble over the peach pie filling in an even layer. The crumble is just enough to generously top a 9-inch pie.
You can use as much or as little of the cornmeal crumble as you want to top this pie. Just be sure to sprinkle the crumble over the filling in an even layer. Too thick of a layer will result in the crumble not baking all the way through, and too little crumble is just boring.
How Long Do I Bake the Pie?
Bake the peach pie in a 375°F (190°C) oven for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 180°F (80°C).
Lightly cover the pie with a piece of aluminum foil if the pie crust is becoming too brown for your liking. Don’t press the foil onto the pie. Just lay it on top.
Slide a sheetpan under the pie plate, too. Often, the pie filling will bubble over slightly, and this will prevent messes in the oven.
How Do I Know When my Peach Pie with Cornmeal Crumble is Done?
When the peach pie filling begins to bubble up thickly, like lava, through the cornmeal crumble topping, that’s an indication that it is done.
Filling that flows freely, or “leaks” needs more time in the oven.
Why Does My Cornmeal Crumble Look “Wet”?
Remove the pie after the filling bubbles like lava. The cornmeal crumble might look wet when fresh out of the oven, but that’s because the butter and sugar are still liquified. It will harden as it cools. You can return the pie to the oven, uncovered, if it looks really gummy.
Allow peach pie to cool for at least one hour before slicing it. Cutting fruit pies right after they come out of the oven results in a runny filling. The filling needs time to firm up and become gel-like.
How Do I Serve This Peach Pie with Cornmeal Crumble?
You can slice and serve it on its own or topped with this Vanilla Frozen Custard once the pie is cool. Because I prefer a warm slice of peach pie, I warm it for 30 seconds in the microwave. It’s not long enough to make it runny but just warms it slightly.
Can I Freeze Peach Pie?
You can totally freeze the pie after you bake it. Wrap it in a double layer of plastic film and one layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil, and freeze it for up to 2 months. To serve, just thaw it in the fridge. If you plan to freeze the pie after you bake it, use a disposable pie tin or one you won’t need.
Try this Peach Pie with Cornmeal Crumble Topping out ASAP. Let me know what you think of the flavor combo in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to pin this post and share the recipe with your friends and family.
Peach Pie with Cornmeal Crumble Toppingat Sense & Edibility
- 1 9-inch pie plate metal or ceramic recommended
- 1 rolling pin
- 10 ounce (285 grams) Mealy Pie Dough or store-bought pie dough
For the Cornmeal Crumble Topping (can be made 2 days ahead and stored in the fridge)
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 57 grams) unsalted butter slightly chilled
- 1/2 cup, packed (115 grams) brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (90 grams) yellow cornmeal medium or fine-ground
- 1/2 cup (50 grams) masa harina (or corn flour)
- 1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) kosher salt optional
For the Peach Filling
- 7 large (3 pounds or 1.3 kilograms) yellow peaches peeled and sliced 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick
- 1 medium lemon juiced (about 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons or 45 milliliters)
- 3/4 cup, packed (180 grams) brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons (45 grams) cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon (3 grams) ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt optional
Roll Out and Par-Bake the Pie Dough
- Roll out the mealy pie dough into a 1/4-inch thick, 12-inch circle and line the inside of a 9-inch pie plate with the dough, making sure you don't pull at the dough which causes it to shrink as it bakes.
- Fold the hanging dough under the main body of dough and flute the rim of the pie dough or use fork tines to crimp it. Next, use a fork to poke a few holes in the bottom and sides of the pie dough to allow steam to vent as you bake the pie dough.
- Chill the dough for 20 minutes, allowing the butter to firm up again. This prevents the dough from falling as it bakes. Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C) 15 minutes before the chilling time is up.
- Remove the pie plate from the fridge to the countertop for 10 minutes if you're using a ceramic or glass pie plate, or it may shatter in the hot oven. You can skip this step if you're baking the pie dough in a metal pie plate.Bake the pie shell for 10 minutes in the preheated oven.
- Remove the pie shell from the oven and use a measuring cup to press and deflate any bubbles that may have formed in the shell. Set the pie shell aside to cool completely. Decrease the oven temperature to 375°F (190°C). Slide a sheetpan onto a lower rack to catch any possible spills.
Make the Cornmeal Crumble Topping (up to 2 days ahead)
- In a 1-quart mixing bowl, use your fingers to combine the masa harina, cornmeal, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and kosher salt. Add the chilled butter to the bowl after combining the dry ingredients and use your fingers to pinch the butter into the dry ingredients until a crumbly mixture forms.
- Make sure the crumble pieces are pea-size or smaller. Cover the bowl and place the cornmeal crumble in the refrigerator until you're ready to top the pie filling.
Mix, then Bake the Peach Pie
- Add the sliced peaches to a large mixing bowl and toss them in the fresh lemon juice.
- Combine the brown sugar, cornstarch, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and kosher salt in a separate, smaller mixing bowl. Remove 1 tablespoon of this mixture for sprinkling in the baked pie shell.
- Sprinkle the 1 tablespoon of cornstarch mixture into the cooled, par-baked pie shell. This creates a layer to further prevent the bottom crust from becoming soggy.Toss the rest of the cornstarch mixture into the peaches until the peaches are completely coated.
- Scrape the peach filling and all of its liquid into the par-baked pie shell, pressing it down into the pie shell to eliminate any air bubbles.Next, break up and sprinkle the cornmeal crumble over the peach pie filling in an even layer.
- Bake the peach pie for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 180°F (80°C) and the filling bubbles thickly, like lava. You can place a piece of aluminum foil gently over the top of the pie if the crust is becoming too brown for your liking.
- Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to cool for at least one hour before slicing it. Slice and serve the peach pie on its own or topped with Vanilla Frozen Custard once the pie is cooled.
Swaps and Substitutions:
- If you don't want to use masa harina for the cornmeal crumble, you can replace it with all-purpose flour.
- You can use store-bought pie dough for this recipe, but you might end up with a soggy bottom.
- For a gluten-free peach pie, replace the all-purpose flour used in the pie dough with gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour or use prepare gluten-free pie dough.
- Replace the fresh peaches with frozen peaches, and cut them down to the correct thickness.
- The crumble is just enough to generously top a 9-inch pie. You can use less if you prefer.
Tips and Techniques:
- Adding the fruit filling to a hot pie shell will cause it to become soggy.
- Metal pie tins conduct the heat more evenly, producing a crisp bottom crust on your pie.
- You can make the cornmeal crumble up to 2 days ahead and keep it in a covered container in the fridge.
- Thaw frozen peaches and drain (and discard) any liquids.
- Slide a sheetpan under the pie plate in the oven to catch any spills if the filling bubbles over.
- When the peach pie filling begins to bubble up thickly, like lava, through the cornmeal crumble topping, that's an indication that it is done. Filling that flows freely, or "leaks" needs more time in the oven.
- The cornmeal crumble might look wet when fresh out of the oven, but it will harden as it cools. You can return the pie to the oven for 5-10 minutes, uncovered, if it looks really gummy.
- Cutting fruit pies right after they come out of the oven results in a runny filling. Allow the pie to cool for at least one hour before cutting it.
- For a just baked flavor, warm your pie slices for 30 seconds in the microwave.
- Store the pie, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days or at room temperature for 24 hours.
- You can freeze the prepared cornmeal crumble for up to 2 months in a freezer-safe container. No need to thaw it before using.
- To freeze the pie after baking:
- Wrap the completely cooled pie in a double layer of plastic film and one layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
- Freeze the pie for up to 2 months.
- To serve, just thaw the pie completely in the fridge. If you plan to freeze the pie after you bake it, use a disposable pie tin or one you won't need.
I had never had peach pie with cornmeal in the crumble, but this is my new favorite way to make it! Highly recommend!
The combination of flavors and textures equaled a winner with my family and friends. Thank you!
We love wins, right Robin?
The Peach pie is amazing. Wasn’t sure about the cornmeal but followed the recipe exactly and I’m so happy I did. Just so good!! I appreciate you sharing this recipe with us. xx
You’re welcome, Camille!
This pie was divine! I just loved the texture that the cornmeal added to the topping, and the cinnamon and ginger gave it the perfect spice kick. Such a great summer pie!
Thank you, Amanda.
I have never used cornmeal in my crumble topping and it went so well with the peaches! So tasty!
It was a great pairing, right Sean?
This was such an easy and delicious dessert to make for everyone. I am sure they will love this again and again!
Thank you, Amy!