I think about food a lot. Sometimes I even dream about food. I dream about cakes and tarts, all sorts of fresh fruit and lately, I’ve been dreaming about peaches. Which is excellent timing, since they are in season in my corner of the world, one of the perks of living in the south.
When I dream about peaches, they always taste like summer. Smell like it too. The kind of peaches you can’t find in the grocery store. The kind of peaches that are straight off the tree. I’m lucky enough to live close to a fantastic orchard, where they grow these kind of peaches, along with lots of other scrumptious fruit. You walk into the back room of the orchard store, past all the little knicknacks for the tourist, t-shirts with my towns name emblazoned on the front, to the fruit room. This room always smells seasonal - a foodies dream. In the fall its apples, and in the summer it’s peaches. It’s intoxicating, that smell of the season.
I carefully picked out my bag of fruit, sniffing and squeezing them, along with several other borderline inappropriate actions. I couldn’t help myself, I was picking the peaches of my dreams.
I got them home and could only think about one thing, peach pie. It’s risky anytime I decide to make pie - I’ve always considered myself a pretty lousy pie maker. I tried to talk myself out of it, considering peach muffins or maybe cupcakes. But by golly, all I wanted was delicious, gooey pie. I wanted the peaches to be center stage.
With that determination, I started the crust. The scary, terrifying crust. While peaches occupy my dreams, pie crust gives me nightmares. It just seems so fussy, so difficult. But you know what? It was as easy as pie, as they say. I used Martha Stewart’s Pate Brisee recipe, and simply added all the ingredients to the food processor. Done! As for the filling, I wanted those peaches to shine. I couldn’t find a recipe basic enough, so I made up my own.
When I pulled it out of the oven, I was a little disappointed. It was homely. Ugly, even. It certainly didn’t look like the pie of my dreams. When I tried to cut it for pictures, it only got worse. I couldn’t get a clean slice to save my life. I walked away for a few minutes, then I realized I hadn’t even tasted it yet.
When I did, my disappointment vanished. I had made a totally successful pie! The best one I had ever made. My crust was perfectly flakey and tender, and the peaches were sweet and lovely. So I shot a few pictures of the mess then took it to the kitchen, where my family stood around it, eating it straight from the pie plate, enjoying all the summer fruit had to offer.
Sweet as a Georgia Peach Pie
From Martha Stewart
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.
With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.
5 pounds fresh peaches, sliced
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll one disc of dough into a 12-inch round, 1/8-inch thick. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Set aside in the refrigerator.
In a large bowl, combine peaches, sugar, flour, and lemon juice, toss to combine. Pour into pie plate, mounding in the center. Roll second disc of dough into a 12-inch round, 1/8 inch thick. Wet edges of the crust in the plate, then lay dough on top, pressing at edges to seal. Cut vents into top crust. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Remove pie from refrigerator. Brush crust with egg wash, then sprinkle with sugar. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, until crust is browned at edges. Turn oven down to 350, bake for another 40-50 minutes.