There are several states which purport to produce and sell the very best peaches. Georgia, of course, is renowned for their famous peaches. I’m not sure I have ever tasted a Georgia peach but I’m sure they are delicious and deserve their fame. Even Arizona has a farm – Schnepff Farms in Queen Creek, Arizona – which proclaims they grow delicious peaches. Might be so. Can’t say because I haven’t tried them. Still, I’m having a bit of trouble equating the desert with juicy peaches. Scorpions, yes; peaches, no.
I will always argue, however, that the peaches grown on Colorado’s Western Slope – specifically, Palisade – can’t be beat for flavor and juiciness. The great unknown, of course, always is whether or not there will be a late spring freeze resulting in a depleted crop. This year, the crop was not just on time; it was a bit early. And the peaches are as good as I’ve ever tasted.
Every year, we buy a couple of boxes of the delicious peaches from our neighbor, who sells them as part of a fundraising effort by his Optimist Club. The peaches are literally picked the day before they are delivered. Provided it’s been a good year for peaches, they are delicious.
In the past, I have bought several boxes, eaten some and canned the rest. This year I decided I simply don’t have it in me to can peaches. So I only bought one box. Bill and I have been running around with peach juice on our chins for about a week-and-a-half now, but we still had a few left over. Heaven forbid they go to waste.
Instead of canning, I elected to make a peach pie and freeze it. That way, in November, when I’m feeling blue and dejected and so very cold, I can bring a little summer back into my life with a yummy peach pie.
There’s no trick to freezing a pie. I simply prepared the peach pie using the recipe below. It’s my mother’s recipe, and the best I’ve ever tasted. And I want you to notice that I cut a “P” into the top crust of the pie. The crust needs to be ventilated, and it’s a wink to my dad, who always indicated what kind of pie it was in the bakery by the letter he cut on top — “B” for blueberry, “A” for apple, and so forth. I, of course, only have one pie in my freezer (though there’s always the danger of my aging brain forgetting what kind of pie I froze; three months from now I will be asking my readers what the “P” stands for!).
At this point, if you have a freezer bag large enough to fit a pie, place the pie inside the freezer bag and place it in your freezer. I, however, didn’t. But some time ago for some long-forgotten project, I had purchased some freezer paper. So I wrapped the finished pie in plastic wrap nice and tight, and then wrapped the whole thing in freezer paper and placed in my newly defrosted freezer.
And as an aside, isn’t defrosting the freezer a dreadful job? But the ice had gotten so thick my freezer looked like the inside of an igloo. My embarrassment got the better of me and I defrosted. (Which, for me, includes throwing out about $100 worth of frozen food that is no longer edible. Sigh.)
By the way, instead of using those inexpensive throw-away pans you buy at the grocery store that make a pie so small it could fit in an Easy Bake Oven, I went to Dollar Tree and bought a regular sized aluminum pie pan. How much did it cost? One dollah! If you’re going to make two, buy two pans. How much? Two dollah!
Thaw the pie overnight in the refrigerator. (You can bake it frozen, but my experience is that by time your fruit gets cooked, the pie crust is too dark and dried-out.) Brush the top of the pie with milk, egg wash, or just water, and sprinkle the crust heavily with sugar. Then bake according to your recipe. As a caution, place it on a cookie sheet to bake, as it might be full of drippy goodness.
You’ve heard of Christmas in July? This is July at Christmas.
I have posted my mother’s recipe before, but it’s worth posting again.
5 c. sliced, peeled peaches (about 7 medium peaches)
1 t. lemon juice
1 c. sugar
¼ c. all-purpose flour OR 2-1/2 T tapioca
¼ t. cinnamon
2 T butter
Mix peaches and lemon juice. Stir together sugar, flour or tapioca, and cinnamon. Mix in with the peaches. Turn into your lined pastry pan, and dot with the butter. Put on your top crust, and crimp. Using a pastry brush, brush top with an egg wash or cold water. Sprinkle a generous amount of sugar over the top crust. Take a scissors or sharp knife and cut several holes in the pastry. Place pie on a baking pan and bake at 425 degrees for 35 to 45 mins. until top is golden brown.
Flaky Pie Crust
2 c. flour
1 t. salt
1 c. cold shortening
½ c. ice cold water
1 t. white vinegar
Mix the flour with the salt. Using a food processor, cut in one cup shortening.
Break the egg into a measuring cup and mix; add enough of the ice water to bring it to ½ c. Add the vinegar to the ice water. Pour into the flour mixture and pulse it until it’s mixed. It is a very sticky dough.
Divide in half and wrap each half in wax paper. Chill for at least an hour before using. This step is critical as I cannot emphasize enough, it is a very sticky dough.
Roll out into a 9-inch pie pan. Keep the other half in the fridge until it’s time to top your pie.
Nana’s Notes: To easily peel the peaches, drop them into boiling water for 45 to 60 seconds, remove them, and drop them in ice water. If the peaches are nice and ripe, the skins will come right off. If the peaches aren’t quite as ripe, it will take a bit more work, even perhaps peeling them by hand. And, by the way, pioneer women didn’t use a food processor for their crusts, so you don’t need to either; it just makes it a bit easier. If not using a food processor, just mix together using a wooden spoon.