Yesterday, I created a fresh peach pie. It was one of the most popular desserts I’ve ever prepared in my kitchen. Was it healthy? Of course not. But, talk about comfort food !
The truth is that I got my Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook off the shelf and read the recipe, just to be sure I got it right. Mine is the 1972 edition but, of course, older ones are even better. I selected a dozen big, beautiful peaches at the supermarket—more than needed but the extra ones will be used, maybe just spooned over vanilla ice cream.
Then, I waited several days for the peaches to get fully ripe. They must be soft to the touch, easily giving way to any pressure. You gotta be patient; wait ‘til they’re fully ripe. Check ‘em every day. When you see the first sign of spoilage, they’re ripe. Use them right away. So, I did. I think I used eight of them. Cutting them up was faster and easier than I figured. That’s because they were ripe. I cut the peaches in half and easily removed the pits. I then cut them into many small pieces; cutting them as canned slices are cut is pointless. That does nothing for the flavor. And, it makes the pie harder to eat because the peach pieces are too big.
Once all the cut pieces were in a big bowl, I added the requisite sugar, cinnamon and flour to absorb the peach juice. For a moment, I considered using my sugar substitute, Equal. But, only for a moment. I quickly discarded that idea in favor of the trusted, traditional approach. So, I combined the sugar called for in the recipe (a lot), much more cinnamon than called for and enough flour to soak up the liquid. By that point, it was clear that this was going to be a hit.
Then came the fun part: preparing the pastry, the pie crust. It really isn’t difficult once you get used to doing it. Like any skill, it just takes some practice. The recipe in my Betty Crocker book produces a good pie crust.
So, I got the flour, the shortening and the water ready and mixed them as directed. Then, came the flour sifter, the rolling pin and any kind of knife for cutting the ball of pastry in half. I don’t know just what it is but, there’s something satisfying about rolling the pastry into the flat, round shape needed. I think it’s a feeling of “Look at me. I’m good at this.”
The pie crust was placed in the pie pan and the peaches with all their sugar and cinnamon were poured in. As always, I put a high mound of peaches in the pan since they always cook down. Cover with the top crust. Cut slits for steam and juices to escape. Place it in the 425-degree oven. About forty minutes later, I had a masterpiece. The most frequent comment was, “Is there any more?”