When Life Gives You Peaches
Far be it for me to wax nostalgic. Nostalgia is, in my opinion, a waste of time and deterrent to change. Which, let's face it my friends, change is inevitable.
Maybe it's just me but, when I was just a lad, fresh summer fruit was always sweeter and juicier than it is these days. Two possible scenarios are, that my father had impeccable abilities to pick out the very best fruit OR, more likely, in the 1960's summer fruit was exactly that. Corporations and corporate farming had yet to perfect and institute the, first day order, pick and ship technique. So the cantaloupe, watermelon, cherries or in this case peaches, was grown not too far away and picked just before peak as opposed to picked green to ship.
Anyway, Last week I stopped in at a local produce operation to pick up some canning tomatoes and as I entered I noticed some peaches With a hand made sigh reading”Local Grown Peaches.” As I picked one up to smell test it, a young lady behind the counter calls out that “the peaches are excellent. Would you like to try one?” “Sure,” I said. So, she grabbed a 10 inch chefs knife (which was impressive in and of itself) and a peach and cut a slice off of it. Let me tell you, that was a great tasting peach. I don't usually purchase peaches. I'm so frequently disappointed in them. They're all too frequently under ripe or, dry, and or, tough skinned. I prefer to have to stand over the sink slurping bites off a peach with juice dripping down my chin and down my hand toward my elbow. I purchased a 4 qt. basket of those sweet, succulent sonsabitches. Between my wife and I that 4 quart basket was gone in 3 days.
So just the other day the missus goes to the same place and picks up another 4 qt. Basket. Ooooh! Not the same variety of peach. I could tell right away that they weren't the same. Different size(much smaller) different color (much more red). But I gave them a try. Blagh! Definitely! Not the same peaches! Dry, not as sweet and very tough skinned. So I went back to the same place today and see what looks like the peaches we currently have in a basket at home, labeled “Red Prince” or something like that, and tell the woman behind the counter my story about the young woman and her recommendation along with my comparison of the two different peaches in question, and asked her, “was the former variety different than this particular variety? And if so are you all out of the former?” No, she assured me, they're the same variety. She said this however while preparing a crate of peaches that looked suspiciously like those sweet, succulent sonsabitches I was inquiring about. However, she offered to put together a 4 quart basket of the peaches she was currently working on, and ya know what? They are the sweet, succulent sonsabitches I was looking for!
So anyway, I was torn between canning the “Red Prince” peaches or making a pie. Pie won out.
I made a ten inch pie using a 321 or 123 depending how you look at it, pie pastry ratio. 3 parts flour to 2 parts shortening to 1 part water.
24 oz. flour
16 oz. pure leaf lard
8 oz. water
pinch of salt
I blend the flour and salt into the shortening using my fingers like I'm making the “show me the money” sign till some of the pastry is the size of halved nuts, some liked medium chopped nuts and still some that looks like fine chopped nuts. Add all the water at once and mix just to moisten. (About 20 seconds)
Portion pastry into 12 oz. semi flattened balls, You'll get 3, 12 oz pastries and 1 (one) 10 to 11 ounce ball of pastry. Wrap in plastic and chill.
After peeling and slicing the peaches they yielded a little over 7 cups. To this I added
1 cup white sugar
½ cup flour
¾ tsp. Cinnamon
some fresh ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
Added this to the already prepared bottom pastry
Dotted the top of the fruit with 1 Tblsp. butter
Sealed the pot pastry to the bottom by brushing the edges with milk. Than brushed the top and edges with milk before sprinkling the top with cinnamon and sugar and cutting vent holes.
Baked 10 minutes at 450° reduced the oven temperature to 350° and baked an additional 1 hour.
I cut the pie while still warm 'cause that's just the kind of cowboy I am. So the filling oozed a little but after it cooled a little more it was set up real nice. I also whipped up 2 cups worth of heavy cream 'cause,.. well,.. you can never have too much whipped cream.
That's right! You see what you see. I had 2 pieces. Don't judge me!
Eat well my friends,