Peach crisp made with fresh stone fruit and topped with a pecan-oat crumble. This recipe uses the blanching technique for easy peeling of the peach skins. Prior to baking, the fruit slices get mixed with sugar and spices for maximum flavor.
Peaches are in season between late spring to early fall depending on location. Their sweet and juicy flesh is ideal for adding into baked desserts like cobblers, crumbles, and crisps. To ensure that each serving has tender bites with a light syrupy sauce, the peaches need a few key preparation steps.
First, peel the fruit, slice, and then mix with sugar. The sugar helps with sweetness, but it also removes excess moisture and prevents a watery crisp filling. A robust combination of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg coat the peaches and infuse into the pecan-oat topping.
How to make a peach crisp
- Preheat oven to 375ºF (191ºC)
- Blanch, chill and then peel the peaches. Cut into ¾-inch thick slices.
- In a large bowl combine peaches with granulated sugar, sit for 30 minutes.
- Drain the juice and reserve ¼ cup.
- Combine peaches with the juice, cornstarch, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.
- Butter an 8×8-inch baking pan and add the peach filling.
- For the topping combine flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.
- Combine the topping with dime-sized pieces of butter.
- Cover the peaches with the crisp topping.
- Bake until juices are bubbling and topping is golden brown.
- Cool for 30 minutes then serve warm with vanilla ice cream if desired.
Do you have to peel peaches for a crisp?
Yes, peeling the peaches ensures that there isn’t a fibrous texture from the skin. There are two easy ways to peel peaches. The first is to “blanch and shock” the skin so that it easily lifts away from the flesh. I often do this technique when peeling tomatoes. It works great for riper peaches.
Alternatively, for firm peaches, you can use a Y-shaped hand peeler. It’s a little messier than blanching, but it works. If you like the texture of baked peach skin, feel free to leave it on.
Can I use frozen peaches?
Yes, frozen peaches are a great substitute when not available or at their peak season. What’s nice is that they’re typically pre-peeled, cutting down the prep time. Measure out 9 cups of frozen peaches and defrost them in a colander, draining any excess water before using.
How to prevent a soggy filling
Peaches are loaded with water and their ripeness can vary. Coating fresh peaches in sugar adds extra sweetness while drawing out some of the water inside the cell walls before baking.
As part of the recipe, a small amount of juice is added back to the fruit along with spices and cornstarch. The elevated oven temperatures thicken the cornstarch that results in a nice scoopable consistency.
The crisp topping is a combination of flour, rolled oats, chopped pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. The dry ingredients are then pressed together with small pieces of chilled butter to create crumbles.
The butter does not need to be softened beforehand because you want the crisp to hold its structure before baking. The result is spoonfuls of tender spiced peaches mixed with an irresistible nutty sweet oat layer.
What’s the difference between peach cobbler and peach crisp?
Both are baked fruit desserts but the toppings differ. Cobblers have dropped biscuit dough on top. Crisps use flour, oats, sugar, butter and occasionally nuts to create small bite-sized pieces of crunchy topping. Crumbles, on the other hand, are more of a simple streusel topping with just flour, sugar, and butter.
Extra topping ideas
- Fresh whipped cream
- Vanilla ice cream
- Caramel sauce
How to ripen a peach
The best way to ripen peaches is to store it at room temperature to ensure it stays juicy, tender, and sweet. Storing in the refrigerator below 40ºF (4ºC) when the fruit is not ripe creates a mealy, unappealing texture because the coldness deactivates an enzyme that breaks down the pectin and prevents proper ripening.
- 3 ½ pounds (1.6 kg) peaches, sliced
- ⅓ cup (60 g) granulated sugar
- 1 ¼ teaspoons (3 g) cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) lemon juice , only use if peaches are very sweet
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup (80 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (50 g) old-fashioned rolled oats
- ½ cup (50 g) pecans , roughly chopped
- ¼ cup (50 g) dark brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- 6 tablespoons (90 g) unsalted butter
- vanilla ice cream, optional
- Set oven rack to the center position. Preheat to 375ºF (191ºC).
- Cut a shallow “X” into the bottom of the peaches, and then blanch in boiling water for 15 seconds. Transfer peaches to a large bowl of ice water. Once cooled, peel the peaches with your fingertips. Cut peaches into ¾-inch thick slices. Alternatively, using a peeler, gently peel the peaches then cut into slices.
- In a large bowl combine sliced peaches and ⅓ cup granulated sugar. Allow peaches to sit and macerate for 30 minutes.
- Drain the liquid from the peaches into a bowl, and reserve ¼ cup of the juices.
- In a small bowl whisk together the ¼ cup of peach juice, cornstarch, lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg, ⅛ teaspoon ginger, and ⅛ teaspoon salt. Combine with peaches.
- Lightly butter an 8 by 8-inch baking dish. Add peach filling, spreading evenly in the pan.
- In a small bowl mix together the flour, rolled oats, pecans, brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon ginger, and ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg.
- Cut butter into small ¼-inch pieces and add to the flour mixture. Use your fingers to cut the butter into the dry ingredients, pressing together to create large pebble-shaped pieces of crisp topping, about the size of a dime.
- Evenly sprinkle the crisp topping over the peaches.
- Bake until the topping is golden brown and crisp, 30 to 35 minutes.
- Wait for 30 to 60 minutes before serving.
- Add warm peach crisp to serving bowls and top with vanilla ice cream.
- Blanching peaches make for more attractive surfaces and more yield. The goal is just to separate the skin from the flesh and not to cook the peaches.
- Frozen peaches can be substituted for fresh peaches. Defrost over a colander to remove excess moisture before combining with sugar.
- MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE: Use gluten-free flour (Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Baking flour recommended) and use gluten-free oats.