From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I was probably 7 years old before I first tasted a fresh peach. I wasn't deprived, but there were no orchards on the South side of Chicago and gasoline rationing kept city folk from orchards on the outskirts of the city. Peaches were not carried by the small merchants who supplied food for the neighborhood, so, those who didn't have a tree growing in the backyard, had to wait for a Kroger or an A&P to open before such exotic fruit could be sampled from anything other than a can or jar. Those grocery chains didn't appear in our neighborhood until long after the war had ended and I suspect my lifelong love affair with peaches is based, at least in part, on that first bite and how hard it was to come by. I was reminded of that today. Local peaches, along with corn and tomatoes are ready for picking, so, Bob and I set aside some time this morning to visit our favorite farms and orchards. I love to pick peaches directly from the tree and that's how we happened on an Mennonite family intent on gathering fruit to preserve for the winter. The mother had her hands full. In addition to the baby on her hip, she was trying to keep track of her other seven and make sure only good fruit made it to their buckets. Usually in a family that large, the older children watch the younger and make sure they don't get into trouble or fall into harms way. Sometimes wires get crossed or youthful exuberance takes over and things don't go as planned. This gang was having a really good time and someone forgot to keep an eye on the two year old who, all on her own, had discovered fallen fruit, peaches to be exact. She gathered a pile and then plunked herself down and proceeded to take a bite out of each of the treasures she had collected. Eve could not have enjoyed the apple more than this little one enjoyed her peaches. I stayed with her while Bob went on to let her family know where she was. She was retrieved and gently admonished, but there was a moment went she had to be coaxed into leaving her stash of peaches. It was love at first bite and I understood completely. Most of us enjoy peaches, but they all seem to ripen at the same time and we never quite know what to do with them. I suspect all my Southern friends are familiar with this delicious recipe that was developed by Nathalie Dupree. If not, I'd like to offer it to you and all those "Damned Yankees" to try. It is a wonderful way to use peaches and the tart is not only simple, it is memorable. I know that all of you who try this will love it. Here's the recipe.
Peaches and Cream Pie...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Nathalie Dupree's New Southern Cooking
Pastry for one 9-inch pie or tart shell
4 peaches, skinned and sliced
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll pastry dough to fit a 9-inch pie or tart pan. Fit crust into pan, crimp or trim edges and place pan on a baking sheet. Set aside.
2) Whisk flour and sugar together in a medium bowl. Sprinkle 1/3 of mixture over bottom of pastry shell. Add peaches and sprinkle with remaining flour-sugar mixture.
Pour heavy cream over filling. Gently stir peaches to cover them with cream.
3) Bake for 50-70 minutes, or until the middle is just set. You'll know it's not ready if you jiggle it, and the middle shakes. If the crust gets too brown, cover it with a ring of foil. Serve warm or allow to cool on a rack. Yield: 8 servings.
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