Normally I eat one good peach a year.
The man whose name appears first at the law firm where I work by day, usually buys a case each summer and puts them out in the kitchen for everyone in the office to share. He is originally from South Carolina and he likes to treat us with some of his “local” fruit. The firm is in Boston. As soon as the “silent alarm” rings the office descends like seagulls for our peach. (Maybe 2 if no one else is looking!)
I like to admire my annual peach for a while before I eat it. Really study its perfection. There is not one blemish. These are picked and packed by hand, shipped and packaged with care in individual little foam nests. I shutter to think of the environmental impact and the carbon footprint.
BUT IT IS THE BEST PEACH I HAVE EVER EATEN.
I savor each slice, eating it slowly, so it’s juicy perfection will take me through till the next annual shipment.
I can hear you asking…If I love peaches so much why don’t I just buy them at the store? Good question. Here is the answer. After a peach like that you can’t fool around with those hard, mealy things from the grocery store. Nope, none can compare with the annual peach. So why bother. I will just enjoy my one perfect peach. Annually.
Until this weekend!
My mother discovered a wonderful PYO orchard close to her and picked like 25 lbs! I became the recipient of a huge bag – probably 25 of the most beautiful, ripe, tangy, juicy peaches.
I wouldn’t have to wait until next year for my annual peach.
I brought them home and admired them. I took their picture. I day dreamed about the possibilities.
(I mean possibilities other than eating them fresh all in one sitting.)
My thoughts turned to baking. Could I make a peach pie? It was risky since I am not much of a baker. You have to be able to follow directions/recipes exactly for baking and I am not so good at that. Gambling on a peach pie seemed scary.
I decided to be brave and consult a few experts – Martha and Marion.
Martha’s recipe called for a very fancy “Pate Brisee” pie crust – I decided to go with a reliable rolled dough from the refrigerator section of the store – it has never failed me yet. Martha called for simplicity like a little lemon juice, sugar, butter and flour to thicken the juices. Why not add a little cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg? I couldn’t resist – it always works with the apple pie.
And Marion..well honestly I really can’t follow that crazy recipe format that was so revolutionary back in 1931. But she did have a suggestion for a streusel topping which I prefer on pie. Hers called for melted butter, cinnamon and fine, dry cake crumbs. I didn’t have any cake crumbs but I had plenty of stale “scala” bread from the local bakery. Scala – called “scali” by the locals is a light airy Italian loaf with sesame seeds on the crust. Why not grind that up and use it? Maybe add some brown sugar? Now we’re talking streusel!
A pie made in the true cabinet stew style – use what you have!
Here it is assembled and ready for the oven.
Here it is baked and cooling. (Maybe I could have put the foil on top a little sooner.)
It was delicious! And no I didn’t write the recipe down - but I did remember to take a couple of pictures. But now that I have another source for delicious, juicy, perfect, farm-fresh AND local peaches; there could be more pie in my future. And more fresh peaches than once a year. Maybe some more next weekend. Mom?