German Peach Pie with Brown Butter & Walnuts
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A few weeks ago, in the daily cooking newsletter from the NY Times, Kim Severson discussed the joys of cooking with friends, the benefits of learning from others, the potential discoveries that might be made, such as peach and blackberry crisp, “whose luscious secret, borrowed from the pastry chef Nancy Silverton, [is] four tablespoons of butter browned in a saucepan with a vanilla bean poured over the fruit before the sugar and nut topping [goes] on.”
No recipe was provided, and I couldn’t find an exact match with my googling, but I think the point is that you don’t need a recipe here. Every bubbling-fruit, crumb-topped concoction you make can be adapted to have vanilla bean-flecked brown butter.
The letter almost inspired me to sacrifice the half dozen peaches on my counter, but it sort of felt like a crime — the peaches have been so good this summer, and to eat them any other way but leaning over the sink, juices dripping down chin and arm, felt wrong.
But it also felt wrong to let summer pass without making a single pie, cobbler, or crisp. How has this happened?! Where does life go?! Over the Labor Day weekend, I took action and made this German peach pie, an old recipe my mother has had scribbled on scratch paper for years. I adapted the recipe to include brown butter, vanilla bean paste, and walnuts in place of pecans.
German peach pie, which may or may not be German at all, is like an open-faced pie made with four halved, peeled peaches topped with a butter-sugar-egg mixture and a small sprinkling of nuts. When it bakes, this vanilla custard bubbles around the peach halves, which, after the hour in the oven, become spoon tender and are utterly delicious. Vanilla ice cream is a must as is a crew to help polish off the spoils, though pie for breakfast isn’t the worst thought either.
All I can say is that I’ve been sleeping easy with “make pie” crossed off my summer bucket list. Hope you all have been, too.
This is a really boring video demonstrating the magic of the Catamount Flameware measuring cup. You can place the measuring cup directly over a flame. I love it.Print
German Peach Pie with Brown Butter & Walnuts
This is the pie dough I use for every recipe requiring a crust. For more guidance on pastry and pie making, see this Basic Apple Pie post. King Arthur Flour has a great peach-peeling tutorial. In sum, boil water, prepare an ice bath, blanch peaches for 30 seconds total, transfer to ice bath, peel skin, which should come off easily if peaches are ripe. This recipe source is unknown. My mother has had it scribbled on scratch paper for years. I made a few changes to the recipe: brown butter vs melted, the addition of vanilla and salt, walnuts in place of pecans, omitted cinnamon.
- 1 nine-inch unbaked pie shell (see recipe below)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 4 peaches, peeled, pitted and halved
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans or almonds>for the pie crust (this yields 2 9-inch rounds, freeze one for later or cut recipe in half):
- 2½ cups (11.25 oz | 320g) all-purpose flour
- 2 T. sugar
- ½ tsp. table salt
- 16 T. (8 oz | 227g) unsalted butter
- ½ C. + 2 T. (4 oz | 114 g + 1 oz | 28g) ice water
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Roll dough into a circle about an inch larger in diameter than your pie dish. Transfer dough to dish. Press gently to make sure dough fills pie plate. Trim excess dough. Save for cinnamon snails. Crimp edges if you wish. Place shell in fridge while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
- Brown the butter: Place butter in a small saucepan or skillet or catamount flameware measuring cup and bring to a bubble over medium heat. Let the butter gently bubble, swirling the pan occasionally, until the mixture smells nutty and starts turning brown. Before the mixture starts turning brown, the bubbles at the surface of the butter will get really small and will be moving rapidly — be careful at this point as the mixture can quickly turn from brown butter to burnt butter. Remove pan from heat and let cool slightly before using.
- Whisk butter with sugar. Add eggs, vanilla and salt and whisk until smooth.Arrange halved peaches flat side up in shell. If all of the peaches don’t fit, cut up the one that doesn’t and nestle the pieces in between the spaces.
- Pour the custard over the peaches. Sprinkle with the nuts. Place pie on sheet pan. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce to 325ºF and bake for 35 to 45 minutes more or until crust is brown and peaches are bubbling. To make the the pie crust:In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar and salt together (or pulse in food processor). Cut butter into flour and using the back of a fork or a pastry cutter, incorporate butter into flour mixture until butter is in small pieces. (If using food processor, pulse at 1-second intervals until butter is the size of peas.) Add ice water and continue to stir with fork until mixture comes together to form a mass. Add more ice water if necessary, one tablespoon at a time. Gently form mass into a ball, divide in half, flatten each half into a disk and wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Chill until ready to use.
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61 Comments on “German Peach Pie with Brown Butter & Walnuts”
Stunning Alex, can’t wait to make and share!
Thanks so much, Andris!
I have no words for how incredible this looks…I’m having trouble focusing right now…gulp…
Haha, I love it, thanks, Laurie! xoxo
Would love to share in my FB recipe group but a photo of a salad shows up. Any way to correct this?
Louise, I have no idea why this happens. I would suggest pulling one of the images from my site to your desktop, then uploading it to FB and cutting and pasting the link — sorry for all the steps, but I have no idea why that salad image always gets pulled.
I love the idea of the browned butter!
Thank, Alicia! Your tart looks absolutely divine as well.
This looks divine! I have a bowl of Italian prune plums that need a home. Do you think they would be good in this recipe in lieu of peaches?
Oh wow, I’m jealous! Yes, absolutely. I’m wondering if you would have to peel them? Seems like that would be a pain. I say go for it without peeling. Thoughts?
Hi! I made this pie with the prune plums, and it was delicious! I did not peel them and honestly it didn’t seem to matter. Thanks so much for another beautiful and delicious recipe!
Wonderful to hear this, Kirsten!I am so trying that next summer or maybe even in the next few weeks — about a week ago we got prune plums in our CSA, and I saw a few at the green market in NYC last week, so maybe the season isn’t quite over?
I don’t think this is German, but who cares?! This looks incredible. I’ve had the same issue with all the gorgeous stone fruits this summer… I can’t bring myself to bake them. This might snap me out of it, though!
I know, it’s so hard, and good stone fruit isn’t cheap either. I love baking with fruit but sometimes it is so hard to get myself to do it. If only I still had a peach tree in my backyard!
This is beautiful! I love the presentation. And browned butter definitely makes everything better!
Thank you, Liz!
This is such a pretty pie! I feel like summer just got away from us but I can see this with different stone fruit. Yummy!
Wow! What a gorgeous presentation this makes of the peaches. I would agree that brown butter can make anything better 🙂 And that Flameware measuring cup? I think I need one of those babies
Sophie, yes you do! Especially since you’re such a big Breaking Bad fan, too 🙂
I love the idea of brown butter and vanilla paste! Your pictures are just beautiful.
Thank you, Julie!
This is not really about this recipe, but I have been reading your blogs and recipes all afternoon. I love the way you write, cook and use photography! It is as if I spent the afternoon with a long-time friend. I will be making the peach pie this week.
Oh Beth, thank you for your kind comment. That means so much to me. Really. I hope you like the pie. We gobbled most of it up as a family, and I polished off the remainder for breakfast…yum.
When searching for German kuchen recipes I found your website and this recipe. I made it today, twas delicious!! I did change a couple of things though, not much though, used half whole wheat flour instead of all white for the crust; switched out the walnuts for toasted almond slivers (mainly because my husband dislikes walnuts, and for me to save a bit of fat grams so I can eat more! LOL!), and I did sprinkle a 1/4 tsp of cinnamon on the peaches, at my husband’s request – he is a cinnamon nut! Love the custard, so yummy! Peach season is coming to an end here in southeastern NC, I am going to buy a bushel of peaches tomorrow to freeze for the winter, peaches are our absolute favorite fruit! I posted a pix of my pie to FB: [link no longer works] along with your URL & FB page. LOVE your recipes!
Ann, your pie looks beautiful! I just saw/liked the photo on FB. I love the idea of almonds, and actually, I think I might prefer them to walnuts, too, but I didn’t have any so used walnuts. So glad you liked this one! Our peach season is coming to an end up here in upstate NY, too, and as much as I am looking forward to apples, I will miss this peach season. It was a good one!
Ali, this pie looks absolutely stunning. I have zero time to bake a pie today, but now I’m seriously considering clearing my schedule so I can attempt to make this one. Well done! 😉
Thanks so much, Michelle!
This looks spectacular! And the flavor combination sounds wonderful. I don’t think I’ve made any pies this summer either (eep!) but I did make some cobblers and crisps. Lazy girl pie. I highly recommend a cherry tomato cobbler before summer is out!
Ileana, that sounds amazing! I need to get on that asap. Do you recommend a specific recipe? I would love to try. Thanks!
I just got a pie dish from our registry and CANNOT wait to try this out! Looks amazing, as always Ali!
Thanks, Tara! And so exciting re registry gifts…they are the best 🙂
Maybe you have neglected to make something like this all summer—-and no, I don’t have an answer to how can it be past Labor Day already—-but when you did Do It, OMG. What a perfectly splendid pie!!!
Thank you, Carol!
Maybe this is an altitude thing (Denver). I followed the recipe faithfully but after the 15 minute session I baked it for an hour and never got “bubbly.” I bumped it to 350 and it sort of bubbled around the edges after about 10 minutes. It did get nice and brown at that point. My local cooking gurus all bake pies at 350 for an hour so I will try that next time. Nevertheless, it tasted great.
So sorry for the trouble! I am glad that it tasted great in the end, but it’s always frustrating when the process doesn’t go smoothly. Glad you have some baking gurus to give you some guidance re high-altitude baking, because I never know how to advise. Hope the next one comes out better, and I hope all is well!
What would you think about making this pie a day in advance? It looks sooo amazing.
ps- nice name 😉
Hi Alexandra! Sorry for the delay here. Unfortunately, I think this is one of those pies that is best eaten the day it is made. Even though I ate a significant slice for breakfast, its texture suffers on day 2.
I hate to ask this question but do you think I could substitute peanuts for the walnuts. My son is allergic to all tree nuts. I fear your answer will be no..and yes I can makes other pies but this one is singing to me. Thank you
Oh Eleanor, I mean, I am a firm believer that there are no rules, so any nut that your son can eat would probably be fine here. Or just omit them altogether. Good luck!
I have had this on my “to do” list for a long time. I shouldn’t have waited so long. Wonderful and very easy. Thanks!
Just made the pie with white nectarines from my sister’s tree. I threw in a handful of blueberries to fill in the gaps between the nectarine pieces. Excellent. Thank you for the recipe.
ooooh, lovely! I love white nectarines. And how pretty with the blueberries. yum!
Planning on making this for thanksgiving, but realized I will have to use canned peaches. Unfortunate, because I really like the design with the whole peaches. Do you think it will be too runny if I use canned? Or just try and add some cornstarch to thicken it up a bit? Any suggestions would help. 🙂
Unfortunately, I don’t think canned peaches will work — I think you will be disappointed if you use them. What other kind of desserts do you like? I love this butternut squash pie: https://alexandracooks.com/2014/11/20/ronnie-hollingsworths-excellent-squash-pie/
There’s no flour in the custard?
There isn’t! But a few tablespoons probably wouldn’t hurt to help set the custard.
There’s no flour in the custard?
I added 2 teaspoons flour and a few drops of lemon juice. It was great!
Fantastic to hear this, Denise! And thanks so much for writing back with your results. So appreciated!
Thank you for omitting cinnamon… almost all fruit pies should skip cinnamon, it makes the pie taste so much less sugary. We are obsessed with sugar in US, especially in deserts.. why not let the fruit shine on its own with very little sugar added.
I love cinnamon, but not in fruit desserts — I don’t even love it in apple desserts. I know I’m in the minority. Glad you approve!
Can you freeze this pie after it is cooked?
I imagine you could though I can’t say how well it will freeze because I’ve never tried. I worry a little bit about the texture of the peaches.
This was an amazing pie. …Delicious…
Wonderful to hear this, Janet!
Hi Ali …
I’ve shifted from your sourdough to baking your galettes! I’m still making sourdough although less often. Now that summer’s here, I’ve make your 3-berry galette and your peach galette. All so amazing and yummy. I shared both varieties and they were a hit.
I love the look of this unique German Peach Pie. Can I use the crust from your galette to make this pie? That crust is so perfect & easy & I’ve incorporated your *rounding* method using a tea towel to gather & form the dough into a ball without overworking it. I also made 3 batches of dough ahead, froze them, took them to a friend’s where we assembled and baked galettes together for a group of friends. I love sharing your simple yet imaginative recipes, plus your website and Instagram with anyone who raves about what I make from your recipes.
Looking forward to making this soon and hope I can find free-stone peaches to get the perfect halves for the visual you present in this glorious photo!
PS — Do you have a type of cherry to recommend if I want to try making a cherry galette?
Hi Anthea! Apologies for the delay here. I hope all is well 🙂
To answer your question: yes! Whenever I make a recipe calling for a pastry crust, I use the one in the galette recipes. I will update this recipe soon.
Thank you for all of your kind words. It’s so nice to read all of this. I’m so glad you’ve been finding and sharing recipes you love. I hope you love this one… I haven’t made it in ages.
Regarding cherries, I have to say, I do love those Rainier cherries when they become available. Such a treat!
This was delicious. Only change I made was cut peaches in 4ths.
It was different and exceptionally good. Next time I will probably try is draining peaches in a colander. After it cooled it did firm up a bit.
I will make this a few more times before peach season is over. If anyone froze this let us know. Would love to have all year.
So nice to hear this, Linda 🙂 I think I would actually prefer the peaches cut into fourths as well … seems like a better eating experience. I have not tried freezing this one, but I have successfully frozen all of the fruit galettes I make.