It seems like another summer has slipped through my fingertips — alas, it’s not quite over yet. I always just start itching for cool weather a bit early. The heat has never agreed with me, and I can practically smell all the fall baking wafting from around the corner… pumpkin spice, cinnamon apples, hearty cloves, nutmeg and sweet potatoes… dessert is the point of fall after all, right? Ok, I digress. Summer isn’t over yet! We still have about a month left of sunshine, lemonade, and mosquitoes. Those damn mosquitoes.
So, it’s quintessentially difficult for me to pick a favorite fruit, as I love them all and refuse to discriminate. But peaches are soooo close to being my #1. I’ve been (im)patiently awaiting peach season all summer so I can bake a pie or a cobbler or snack on these lovely things whenever and wherever — oh, there’s juice dribbling down my chin? Who cares. Did I offend you with my sticky peach fingers? No worries. I’m in heaven! Bless this mess!
You can imagine my excitement picking up a carton at the public market yesterday. This was only a few days after we picked up a bunch at a local farm stand, but hey — now there’s plenty. And I know just what to do with them all.
As I was waiting for my pie to bake, I was reminded of a passage from Bunny Crumpacker’s book The Sex Life of Food (a wonderfully tasty read) which involved a Chicago pastry chef correlating pie preferences with personality types:
Apple pie, of course, is exactly what you’d expect: safe and secure. It speaks of home, even if you buy it frozen at the supermarket. Middle of the road, says the chef. Sweet potato pie, he says, is family, but not specifically Mom, and it’s warm, welcoming, and hospitable. Blueberry: outdoorsy and determined. Cherry: so sweet — in fact, too sweet! Not entirely trustworthy. Chocolate: seductive, strong, suave. Lemon: bright, energetic, and with a sharp tongue. Peach: for sun worshippers. Pecan: simplicity, but looking for love. Coconut cream: needing an escape from reality. Pumpkin: sentimental but comfortable. Mincemeat: intelligent, perhaps a bit pretentious. Banana cream: so relaxing! Rhubarb: split between old-fashioned and hipsters. And if you add strawberries to the rhubarb? Life is full of adventure.
By all accounts above, count me a sun worshipper. This peach pie, made with fresh, juicy late August peaches, is my favorite way to celebrate summer’s end. It’s not a sad goodbye, more like a peachy little landmark of the remaining golden weeks ahead. Best served warm out of the oven with a dollop or two of your favorite vanilla ice cream!
*For an 8-inch pie
- Pastry for an 8-inch pie, store-bought or homemade (homemade always wins)
- 4 cups sliced fresh peaches (about 7 medium sized peaches)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ²/3 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons flour
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 pats butter or margarine
- cinnamon sugar, for dusting
- 1 egg
To make the pie crust, simply combine 1 ¼ cup flour and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cut in a ½ cup cold butter until the dough is crumbly and coarse. Stir in the water a spoonful at a time until you can form the dough into a ball or flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, if you’re planning ahead.
- Preheat your oven to 425°. Roll out your pie crust and press it into your pie pan.
- In a large bowl, toss together the sliced peaches and lemon juice. Stir in the flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Try not to eat the whole bowl as is, because it will already smell too good to resist.
- Spoon the peach mixture into the pie. Dot with 3 pats of butter.
- You can either cover the top of the pie with a streusel topping, a traditional pie crust, or a lattice crust. I opted for the lattice. Simply cut even strips of dough using a sharp knife or pizza cutter and weave the strips over the pie. If you’d rather do a good ol’ fashioned crust, fold your remaining dough over the peaches and cut some slits for the fruit to breathe. Do whatever floats your boat!
- Beat 1 egg and brush the eggwash all over the pie. This is what makes it so golden and inviting. Dust with cinnamon sugar.
- Place it into the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes or until crust is brown and the juice begins to bubble.
- Cool and enjoy with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!