Thursday, July 17, 2014

PEACHY-KEEN: A Summer Recipe Post by Pamela Sherwood

Visiting the local farmers' markets is one of summer's most enduring pleasures. Right now, the stalls are overflowing with beautiful fresh produce, the kind of which you only see during this season: asparagus, corn on the cob, tomatoes, and just about every variety of berry or stone fruit imaginable

Strawberries are unquestionably the star of early summer--plain, with a dollop of cream, sliced on top of shortcake biscuits, folded in a crepe, made into preserves (although a chapter from Elizabeth Enright's classic Then There Were Five nipped any temptation I might have had to try home canning in the bud). Just looking at them, brilliant and scarlet in their little baskets, makes my culinary fingers twitch, and I suspect I'm not the only one! Although the one thing I almost never do with strawberries is bake them--why mess with perfection?

Cooking in our kitchen is reserved for stone fruit, which succeeds strawberries in the spotlight around the midsummer mark. Not that peaches, nectarines, and apricots aren't delicious in their natural state--the hungry swarm of people who descend upon the free samples offers proof of that--but there is something especially luscious about a tart or pie bursting with ripe golden slices, sugared and spiced to perfection.

This peach pie recipe is a family favorite that I've been making (and refining) since I was practically old enough to bake. It tends to vanish very quickly once served, so I must be doing something right. My sister dubbed it "To Die For Peach Pie," which might be an exaggeration but is certainly flattering!


(An old family friend passed on this recipe to us. Don't be intimidated by the vinegar--it works like a dream in this pie crust, which tastes especially good with very sweet fruit fillings.)

2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup of Crisco vegetable shortening
1 1/2 tsp. of sugar
1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 cup of milk
2 tbsp. of white vinegar

Using a pastry blender or two blunt knives, cut the shortening into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Shake in sugar and salt, mix some more to combine. Moisten with milk and vinegar last, then knead about 10 minutes until you have a moist ball of dough. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate until needed. You can make the dough in advance.


6-7 ripe medium to large yellow peaches
3/4 cup of sugar (you can reduce amount to 2/3 cup if your fruit is very sweet)
1/3 cup flour
3 tbsp. butter or margarine
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. almond extract (optional)
2 tbsp. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Peel, pit, and slice peaches into thin wedges. Add flour, sugar, butter, lemon juice, and stir until peach slices are coated. Add spices, stir until combined.

Cut the dough for the crust into two roughly equal halves. Roll out separately on floured surface to avoid sticking. Line a 9-inch pie dish with one crust, pricking the bottom with tines of a fork for ventilation. Pour in filling, spread evenly in dish.

You can place the top crust over the pie, pinching the edges of the two crusts together and cutting slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape. Or you can make a lattice top, cutting strips of dough--whether thick or thin--and laying them crosswise over the filling. (I tend to make mine with a lattice top because it's prettier.)

Cover a baking sheet with foil, place pie on baking sheet, and bake for 35-45 minutes or until crust is golden-brown and the fruit bubbling. Remove from oven and let cool for at least half an hour before serving.

Preferences vary, but this pie is delicious either warm or cold, a la mode or plain. Enjoy!


  1. Looks and sounds yummy! I need to figure out how to make a diet version!

    1. Ash, most of the calories probably come from the crust, so you could try halving that and making a cobbler or streusel top version. Best of luck! :-)

  2. We live in the middle of peach country. I must try this recipe, especially the pie crust part. I've never made one that called for a touch of vinegar. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Carolyn, I was surprised too at how well the vinegar worked in the crust. Good luck with the pie!