bourbon and brown sugar peach pie

Good news, people! I finally found the peach pie I was looking for, hip-hip, yay, whoo-hoo, etc, etc.

Here’s how it happened…

The more peach pies I made, the more I realized that it was the chunks of fruit I didn’t like. Because see, it is my firm belief that in a pie, the fruit should cook down, losing its shape and intensifying in flavor until it’s a burbling, joyful mass of juicy, fruity goodness. But peaches don’t do that! No matter how long I baked the pies, the peaches remained distinct, each piece slippery-solid and slightly acidic. Blech, meh, yuck, etc, etc.

So I got creative.

I roughly mashed a couple peaches, and the rest I sliced thin, almost like stocky matchsticks. I put all the fruit in a bowl and tossed it with tapioca, brown sugar, bourbon, and vanilla. The mixture was soupy and smelled (and tasted) absolutely heavenly. Like a cocktail from the deep South.

To top the pie, a pastry lid would be nice, or a lattice, but I used crumbs. Not the oatmeal-(and sometimes nut)-based crumbs I’d been using—against the soft peaches, the oats seemed abrasively sturdy, and the nuts were a crunchy distraction—but a barely-spiced, sandy-soft rubble of flour, sugar, and butter that turned craggy and caramely in the oven’s heat.

Foreshadowing: this is over-filled.
Told you.

The pie was still slightly warm when we cut into it, so the filling ran all over the place. But even totally cool, I’m pretty sure the filling would still be soft. This is good, though! Saucy pies are meant to be paired with vanilla ice cream.

Which I did not have, canyoubelieveit.


And now, in an abrupt turn of events (though not really—you’ll see): in light of the domestic terrorism that happened just over the mountain in Charlottesville, a quote from* this past Sunday’s sermon:

People who believe that what they have is limited and can be ripped away from them are not joyful people.  

We’re seeing a surge of white supremacists because they are scared. The more terrified they get, the more they try to spread terror. They are defending the boundaries of their power because they believe it is scarce. They think that if brown, black, gay, Muslim, disabled, or female people get a share of the pie, there will be less pie for those who’ve always had a big slice. 

But we are kingdom people. We are Mennonites. We believe in unlimited pie!

So eat up, people! There’s more than enough love, and pie, to go around.

Bourbon and Brown Sugar Peach Pie

If you prefer a more solid filling, feel free to add another half tablespoon of tapioca.

½ recipe butter pastry
2 ½ pounds fresh peaches, peeled and pitted
2 tablespoons granulated tapioca
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 recipe crumb topping (see below)

Roll out pastry and line a 9-inch pie pan. Crimp the edges. Set in the refrigerator.

Roughly mash two of the peaches. The rest, slice thinly and then chop fine so that they resemble matchsticks. (You should have four to five cups of fruit, total.) Combine the peaches, brown sugar, tapioca, bourbon, and vanilla.

Pour the fruit into the pie pan and sprinkle with crumbs.

Bake the pie at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, on the lowest oven rack. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake another 20-30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling madly. If the fruit starts to spill over, place the pie pan on a foil-lined, sided baking sheet. If the crumbs darken too quickly, place a round of foil on top.

Cool completely before slicing. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Crumb Topping
Adapted from Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond.

About ¾ of the crumbs is enough for one 9-inch pie. Any leftover crumbs can be frozen.

1 cup flour
½ cup each brown sugar and white sugar
1 stick butter
¼ teaspoon salt
2 (small) dashes each cinnamon and nutmeg

Measure all ingredients into a bowl and, using your fingers (or a food processor), combine until the mixture resembles chunky sand.

*Guest speaker (and friend): Alisha Huber.

This same time, years previous: a new room, easy French bread, summer visitor, lately, our life, peach cornmeal cobbler, thoughts on nursing.


  • Lindsay

    Made this. Increased the filling slightly for a deep-dish 9.5" pie plate. Still overflowed. Loved it anyway (and pie is never my first dessert choice).

  • Margo

    Peaches are my favorite summer fruit, and I love peach chunks anywhere – perhaps you don't love peaches enough? I digress: your pie looks great and I will probably make it. Ree Drummond has a heavenly peach crisp that has nutmeg, maple syrup, and a hit of lemon juice in it – soooooo good.

    Mennonites are unlimited pie people!!!! Of course we are and some of us have the girths to prove it.

    • Jennifer Jo

      I made Ree's crisp! (That's where I got the recipe for the pie crumbs.) I liked the crisp okay, but it didn't rock my world, probably because I didn't have real maple syrup on hand…

  • beckster

    Thank you for sharing the excerpt from the sermon. Of course love is unlimited, and it is so sad that so many people don't realize that and are unable to open their hearts. Thanks for sharing this, Jennifer. It was a great way to start the day!

  • katherine

    How do you peel & put your peaches? I've always blanched peaches, but it's such a pain & never even seems to work that well. I'm considering buying a serrated peeler, but I don't know if it works that well either.

  • Becky

    Thank you for the quote. It's been a rough couple of days over here.

    That pie looks good. I still need to make a good peach pie for my dear husband.

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