Sunday, August 25, 2013

sunday sweets: peach pie or how to capture summer in your freezer

Every summer growing up my grandmother would take peaches, remove the fuzzy skin, slice them and freeze them in water to be taken out for breakfasts throughout the fall and winter.  My sister and I were always so happy when grandma would pull out that plastic container of peaches and spoon us each a bowlful.  Every time I put a peach slice in my mouth I was not only greeted by the sweetness of summer's most iconic fruit but also by the crunch of delicate ice crystals. When I think of grandma -oh how much I miss her- I fondly remember those frozen peaches and mornings at her round kitchen table.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to snatch up some freshly picked peaches from Sauvie Island. If you've read much of my blog then you are probably aware of how much I love Sauvie Island and the amazing variety of fruit and vegetables grown there (you can read more about Sauvie Island here, here, and here).  A friend and her family had picked the fruit the day before I got my hands on them and relayed to me tales of the perfectly round and ripe fruit literally falling into their outstretched hands.  It was so perfect, in fact, that they ended up picking something close to 88 pounds of fruit.

What does one do with all that perfectly ripe fruit, you ask?  Well, if you are my generous friend you give a lot of it away.  You also freeze it like my grandma did.  But the best way to use all that fruit?  Well, you make pies of course.  Then you make more and more pies so that you can stash them in the freezer for days when the fall and winter gloom has settled in and you need a punch of summer to lift your spirits again.  This brilliant idea belonged to my friend and so the day after those peaches came home with her I went over and we spent over four hours making peach pies to sock away in our freezers.

We made two versions of the peach pie.  One with my great-grandmother's crust recipe and the other with a butter-shortening hybrid from Ladies Home Journal.  I have not yet tasted the butter-shortening crust yet and so cannot comment on it but I have been noshing on the one made with my great-grandmother's crust recipe.  I'm a sucker for hydrogenated vegetable shortening but I do try to avoid eating too much of it for obvious reasons.

As you may have gathered from this here blog, I love pie.  I love pie so, so, so much.  I love making it just as much as I love eating it.  My philosophy about making pie is that the end result does not need to be something worthy of a spread in Bon Appetit or Martha Stewart for a pie to be successful.  Whether or not you made a lattice crust or if you make a plane jane crust what is really important is how it tastes.  There is no need to be precious about the whole thing.  If it looks homemade, well, that is because it is and there is no reason to feel badly about that.  

It really is ok if your filling doesn't look like this.

But looks more like this.

It will all taste the same in the end.

This peach pie is not the prettiest pie I've ever made but I can safely say that come November when I am craving a bit of sunshine in my life this will feel like the best pie I've ever made.

pie filling recipe from here

2 pounds fresh peaches, sliced (we removed the skin but I'm sure it would be tasty without going that extra step)
1/3 cup AP flour
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter, cubed

1.  Mix together the butter, sugar, and flour (I used a food processor) to make a crumb mixture
2.  Line bottom of pie dish with pie crust
3.  Line sliced peaches on bottom of pie crust.
4.  Sprinkle with crumb mixture.
5.  Repeat steps 3 and 4 until all peaches have been used.
6.  Cover pie with the top crust.
7.  Bake at 375 degrees F until crust is golden brown

To freeze pies

Reviews are mixed as to whether or not you should freeze pies before or after they are baked.  I am no expert on the subject but it makes since to me if you want the crust to be, well, crusty then you should freeze it unbaked. After the pies were all assembled I wrapped them (all three of the ones that went into the freezer) with tin foil and then I bagged them in a 2 gallon freezer bag. 

When ready for baking, no need to thaw, just place them still frozen in an oven at 425 degrees F for 15-20 mins. Then turn down the heat to 375 degrees F and bake until golden brown.  

1 comment:

  1. Aside from this looking fantastic, I wanted to thank you for the sweet comment you left on my blog post. There are a lot of emotions involved with weaning and, more than anything, it's nice to know that I'm not alone. I really value your words and thank you for sharing. xo