Peach Crumble

August 18th, 2007  | Category: Cobblers and Crisps

Vanilla Bean Star Anise

Vanilla and star anise can transform any dessert into a spectacular experience. The sweet, spicy, licorice-like notes of star anise goes extremely well with peaches.

And then the vanilla pod… This dessert will not be the same without it.

Peaches, Vanilla and Star Anise 1

So, you came home from work and have no energy to cook, let alone bake a dessert on top…

Peaches, Vanilla and Star Anise 2

Well, it is not that hard if you have this recipe at hand. In fact, if you happen to have a stash of streusel topping in your freezer, preparation takes only 5 minutes. And if you’re going to bake individual servings, baking time is 30 minutes.

Vanilla Bean Caviar

Pop them in the oven when you sit down for dinner and by the time you’re done, you will have peaches bubbling underneath the crispy topping.

Peach Crumble 1

Sure, the poaching takes extra time, but you can sacrifice the more sophisticated taste once in a while. Just slice any fruit you like, toss it with flour, lemon juice and sugar and fill the bottom of your serving dish.

Peach Crumble

Hope you enjoy!



Streusel Topping

(recipe from Kate Zuckerman’s “The Sweet Life: Desserts From Chanterelle”)

  • 1 +1/4 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed, moist dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 ounces chilled butter

Fruit Filling

  • 4 large peaches
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 1 vanilla pod, cut in half lengthwise and seeds scraped


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a food processor, pulse flour, salt and sugars. Cut butter into 1/4-inch cubes and add to the flour mixture. Pulse until the butter is pea-sized and coated with flour. Do not let the dough come together in a ball. Set aside at room temperature.
  3. In a small pot combine boiling water, lemon juice, sugar, star anise and vanilla seeds together with the vanilla pod and stir until all the sugar dissolves.
  4. Cut a small cross in the bottom of each peach with a knife. Place them inside the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a large bowl filled with cold water and ice to stop the cooking process.
  6. Take peaches out of the pot. Peel off the skin, remove the stones and slice into medium-sized pieces. Put them back into the pot and let steep for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Remove peach chunks with a slotted spoon and transfer to a clean bowl. Add 2 tbsp of poaching juice and toss. Pack the fruit evenly on the bottom of each baking dish and top with the streusel. Do not pack the topping down.
  8. Bake until the crumb topping has browned and the fruit is bubbling beneath, 30-40 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes.
  9. The crisp is best eaten the day it is made but will keep, refrigerated, for 4 days.
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  1. 1 - Rose on August 18th, 2007

    Cenk, that is one of the greatest recipe I have ever seen. Quick and so beatiful. Must be delicious too. Another good reason to buy Kate’s book. A big applause for the first picture. I couldn’t stop looking at it.

  2. 2 - Patricia Scarpin on August 18th, 2007

    I love star anise, Cenk! Sometimes I boil some in water to perfume my kitchen.

    This dessert is beautiful and delicious!

  3. 3 - Zeynep Seda on August 18th, 2007

    Very nice photos, again! I love peach crumble and apple crumble. I eat the crumble first, then the fruit 🙂

  4. 4 - Anh on August 18th, 2007

    Beautiful and elegant…. A perfect way to end a meal, too!

  5. 5 - kate on August 18th, 2007

    Ah the vanilla bean just has me going weak in the knees . Splendid pictures , gr8 colours and last but not the least ….what a beautiful dessert !

  6. 6 - clumsy on August 20th, 2007

    I love that picture of the star anise!! It kind of looks like it’s levitating–maybe an alien anise? And, oh my, this crumble sounds tasty!

  7. 7 - sarah on August 20th, 2007

    hi! sarah here from the delicious life and tastespotting. thanks for your submission! love the addition of star anise to the crumble! i’ve never used star anise in baking before…might have to try it with some late summer peaches from the farmers’ market…

  8. 8 - Cenk on August 20th, 2007

    Rose – Thank you. Kate’s book is amazing and this is my favorite recipe so far.

    Patricia – Great idea. I might try that sometime.

    Zeynep Seda – Thank you. I actually put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top and get a piece of each layer with every bite.

    Anh, kate, clumsy – Thank you for your kind comments!

    Sarah – Thanks for stopping by. Great to hear that you liked it.

  9. 9 - Tom on August 22nd, 2007

    Mmmmmm! I made this recipe tonight for dessert and it went over great! Simple with a soupçon sophistication. I did make one alteration, though, and added a 1/2 tsp of fresh ground cardamom, just to give it a little something.

  10. 10 - Tartelette on August 24th, 2007

    Looks aboslutely luscious! You have a talent for making things shiny while remaining elegant. That is the kind of dessert I love to make during the fall.

  11. 11 - Cenk on August 24th, 2007

    Hi Tom – Glad you liked it!

    Tartelette – Thank you for your nice comments!

  12. 12 - Shaun on August 28th, 2007

    Cenk – I, too, love star anise and vanilla pods. Though they both impart sweetness to any food, I love their warmth and rounded flavourings. Having said that, I’m a sucker for anything anise-flavoured. Have you tried this recipe using poached quince? I think it would be incredible, for its scent is more tropical and complex than that of peach.

  13. 13 - joan tobin on October 11th, 2007

    I am going to make this crumble tonight it sounds fantastic!

  14. 14 - Cenk on October 17th, 2007

    Shaun – Wait for a couple more weeks. A poached quince dessert (which is also a traditional Turkish dessert) is coming soon.

    Joan – Hope you like it!

  15. 15 - K on March 1st, 2008

    Clearly showing the star anise on a peach.
    And vanilla.


  16. 16 - Jennifer on August 4th, 2008

    I tried your recipe and it was absolutely delicious. I only ran into one problem: my streusel sank a bit into my peaches instead of getting brown on top. I think that I might have had too much liquid in my crisp, but the verdict is still out on that problem.

    Any advice?

  17. 17 - Cenk on August 4th, 2008

    Hi Jennifer – Glad you liked the recipe! My advice would be to use a deeper and narrower bowl so that the crumb topping layer is a bit thicker. Some of it will sank into the filling but the outer layer will be very crisp. Also, as Kate points out in the recipe, do not pack the topping down. Hope these help.

  18. 18 - Kenya on August 27th, 2008

    Hi there! I just came upon your blog today, which by the way is lovely. I was searching for a peach crisp/cobbler recipe and was reading over your instructions. I just have a quick question. You called for the peaches to simmer for 10 minutes, steep for 15-20 minutes then bake for about 30-40 minutes. I was just wondering if this produced a “mushy” result as far as the peaches. If I reduced the simmer and steeping times; would that be okay?

  19. 19 - Cenk on August 28th, 2008

    Hi Kenya – The steeping process is done while the peaches are cool so no need to worry. You can reduce the boiling time if you like. Just boil as long as it takes for the skin to peel off easily. Hope you like it.

  20. 20 - william wheeler on November 29th, 2008

    yes star anise is from the Illiciaceae. This family is closely related to the magnolia family (Magnoliaceae).

    But Vanilla come from the Orchidaceae (orchid family)



  21. 21 - Cenk on November 30th, 2008

    Thanks a lot for the info William. I made the necessary correction.

  22. 22 - world chef on September 5th, 2009

    I love that you use star anise——-it boosts and compliments so many flavors as well as adds some subtley to so much——–
    I am going to make this just as you directed then…
    when makng the poaching liquid I am going to reduce the anise to 1 and cut the sugar a tiny bit but am going to add a bit of French lavender–another underated ingredient (and not often mastered…..probably will have to reduce the vanilla a bit to avoid any ‘soapiness” perception from the lavender.
    and thanks you-beautiful photos–made my palate ready.

  23. 23 - Tamara on September 17th, 2012

    Will this freeze well? I have more peaches than I know what to do with right now. It looks amazing. 🙂

  24. 24 - Cenk on September 23rd, 2012

    Tamara – I’ve never frozen a crumble before and don’t think it’s a good idea. You may freeze the fruit and dough separately.

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