My girlfriend, new mother of two, invited me to come and behold their bounty. They moved into a new house unaware of what fruit trees graced their backyard. Not knowing how the trees had been cared for in the past year, they new it would be a bit of a gamble. But with a new born and a toddler, she gladly took me up on bringing her lunch in exchange for a bucket of fruit!
They were small, but ripe and ready. I was determined to make the best of these beauties.
I began picking, with a little help from my assistant.
Classic boy... thinks everything is an occasion for sport. Heads up!
My food critic was a bit of a mess by the end. Despite the sampling, I still made it out with a ton of fruit.
I came home and made peach salsa, peach and goat cheese salad, belinis, and peach compote. I decided to take what was left to Chris' Grandma's house. The boys did a work day on the house. Us girls held down the kitchen.
Grandma Alyce is so dear to me. I mentioned her in my apple pie recipe as well. I always aim to learn something new about her life or her past. I especially love any kitchen stories. This particular time I asked her what Chris' late Grandpa's favorite pie was.
"Grandpa would answer that question with 'just pie,' because he honestly loved EVERY pie I made." I don't blame him, I've never had a bad pie from Grandma Alyce.
I brought my peaches and asked if she wanted to whip up one of her famous crusts? She looked at me embarrassed and confessed she has been using Pillsbury for about 10 years now. Haha... she's had us fooled. But like a good sport, she reached for a book that looked as loved as her bible.
She thought it was silly that I wanted pictures, but look at those pages! Just lovely.
As if she was doing it all her life, she humored me and whipped a good ol' fashioned pie crust.
In the meantime, I paged through the book. Some of the pages were marked as favorites or days of the week were written on book marks dispersed throughout.
Grandma pulled out her cutting board that had her pie crust sheet flattened out on top! Brilliant! What a perfect place to keep it! How many times are you having to unroll the ends like disobedient wrapping paper! Score one from Grandma!
We continued to chat as I set up my blanching station to get the skins off the peaches. They were small little suckers, so it took a little longer and a few more than if the peaches were normal size.
How to blanch: Drop a few peaches at a time into boiling water for 60-90 seconds. This will soften the skin. I later learned that scoring the skin with an X will also help with the process.
Ladle them out into a bucket of ice-water.
Once they are cool enough to handle, peel the skin off. You may still need a little help from a pairing knife. Slice them into desired pieces for the pie.
A bit of a mess. But totally worth it.
Grandma's part. Perfectly rustic.
She pressed the bottom half of the crust into the dish. Had to get some of her garden pickings from that morning in the shot. I've got to pick her brain on that too!
OK... now for the recipe.
Grandma Alyce's Classic Peach Pie
(modified from The American Woman's Cookbook)
1 full (top and bottom) pie crust (Pillsbury or your own Grandma's recipe)
7-8 large peaches, peeled and sliced (or the equivalent of 7-8 cups)
1 cup sugar
3 tbls flour (originally called for 2, but we had a lot of juices so we decided to thicken it up)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (Grandma's suggestion)
1/4 tsp nutmeg (Grandma's suggestion)
Heat oven to 425.
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.
Fill your pie glass or tin once your bottom crust in positioned.
Cover with second pie crust. Pinch sides together. Trim if necessary.
Make a few slits in the pie and allow for the steam.
Grandma then went on to splash the pie with water and then sprinkled with something white and granular.
"I've never seen the splashing, what's that for, Grandma?"
"It helps hold the salt on top." ..."SALT?!"
"Just kidding, Noelle, of course it's more sugar." She got quite the chuckle at my reaction. I mean, whatever Grandma says "goes" when it comes to pie, so the salt caught me off guard. I was glad to be corrected.
Place pie on a baking sheet incase of bubbling. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Then turn down to 350 for another 35 minutes. A total of 45 minutes.
Mouth-watering. It was just as tasty as I had dreamed, when picking them with Riley. Plus it had that little touch of Grandma Alyce. Family and friends make for the best of desserts.