about bliss

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.

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