Wednesday, September 17, 2008
fruit flies and peach pies
peach watercolor painting, circa 1895, courtesy of wikipedia
I've been craving peach pie now that peaches are in season. Several years ago--more like 5 or 6, when I was still living in Alabama and visits with family in Michigan were sparse-- my Mom and I made a scrumptious peach pie. Something about that pie, that time spent together, and the sweet card that Mom sent me afterwards, when I was back in the sweltering South, lingers in every bite of peach pie I've eaten since.
Last Saturday I bought 25 peaches at the farmers' market. Our peach person sets up big boxes of peaches, arranged by variety, and a big stack of paper bags, and people line up to fill the bag with however many peaches fit their fancy. I like this system--some weeks are a 7 peach week and others, like this week, are 25 peach weeks.
My intention was to make a pie and to freeze some peaches for a chilly winter day.
Then the first rhino virus of the season descended (incidentally, just in time for the first round of one-on-one meetings with my freshmen composition students. coincidence? i think not, when considering this has happened with a fair degree of regularity the past 4 fall semesters...). The peaches sat on the counter, happy in brown paper bags. I used one each morning, sliced and cooked with my oatmeal.
Pie seemed a little too touchy-feely for a girl with cold germs--I'm firmly in the blend-the-crust-with-your-fingers camp of crust making.
But today, I unrolled the bag: fruit flies! One overripe peach had sprouted mold, so I removed all the peaches from the bag and decided to make a quick peach crisp. I followed Mark Bittman's recipe for the crisp topping, using the oat variation with maple syrup and a lot less butter. Since he suggests blending the topping with a mixer or food processor, I could rest easy knowing my crisp was prepared under the best hygienic conditions for someone with a stuffy head and scratchy throat. I added cinnamon, vanilla, whole wheat flour, and a touch of nutmeg.
**I also want to rave about the butter I found at the Woodlake Market: Organic Valley Pasture Butter, limited edition, available in a half pound. A brighter yellow than most butters, it is also fragrant and extra creamy.**
Back to the crisp...it was delicious and peachy and rather virtuous for a dessert, but I'm still dreaming of pie. Peach pie.
I'm heading to Michigan for a short visit with my family this weekend, and just maybe Mom and I can take to the kitchen and make another baking memory together.