I love the LA Times Thursday Food Section. Something about it hearkens back to a more innocent time, when a neighbor might show up on your doorstep with a basket of sun-ripened tomatoes or even a freshly baked pie. (A girl can dream.) Chefs share recipes, foodies share recent obsessions and local farmers’ markets report on what’s in season. Last week, PEACHES!
Sexy, sweet, and suggestively shaped, when it comes to food porn, peaches are a natural. I had to put some in a pie. According to the fruit guy at the Santa Monica Farmers Market, yellow freestone peaches are a pie-baker’s best bet. So I picked up 2.8 lbs (about 7 peaches). And since I can’t make my mother’s tried-and-true, easy-as-pie crust recipe work for me, I turned to a chubby little friend for help.
My oven won’t bake the bottom crust, no matter what I do. So now I just pre-bake it, lining it with foil and filling it with pie weights or beans or whatever will weigh it down and prevent ugly crust bubbles. As for the peaches themselves, lots of recipes tell you to boil those babies, or ‘blanche’ them, cooling them off in an ice-water bath and then slipping the skins off.
I just used a potato peeler and it worked FINE. As I peeled and sliced, I kept squeezing lemon juice over the cut peaches to keep them from turning brown. (Also known as oxidizing. Thanks Jared!) 1/2 cup of brown sugar (to taste), 2 big tablespoons of quick-cooking tapioca, sprinkle of cinnamon, mix, dump into pre-baked crust.
Break up two tablespoons of butter into about six pieces, dot filling with them, then top with remaining crust. Cut holes in crust to vent steam, then brush with one egg beaten with a splash of water, sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400• until brown and bubbly.
This recipe is loosely based on an easy one from the Food Network. We ate our slices warm from the oven with generous, melting scoops of Haagen Dazs vanilla and it tasted heavenly — like sunshine and sweetness and summertime. Still not as good as my mom’s. But that won’t stop me from trying!