Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Last Joys of the Summer


Friends, I went peach picking on Labor Day. Yes, I know it was over a week ago, but it took me a while to bake, freeze, and preserve my way through 22 pounds of peaches.


I had planned to go earlier in the season, but the hurricane (which was a tropical storm here) changed my plans. I was sad it didn't work out and thought I had missed my chance for peaches. Then, out of the blue, friends invited me to go on Labor Day. I was a bit tired from having been away all weekend, but I just couldn't say no to peaches.

We went to a farm west of Baltimore on an overcast day. The skies had already opened up that morning, but we stayed dry in the orchards. Then it poured all week -- perfect for staying in the kitchen and baking. The farm had pick-your-own flowers, too, and it made me so happy to stuff as many cheery flowers into my little container as I could. Then, I felt equally happy picking them apart into smaller arrangements once I got home. The house was bright with flowers.



Do you want to know what I made with my peaches? Probably, but by the sixth recipe, you might get cross-eyed. Here goes:

Whole Wheat Peach Kuchen (Simply in Season)
Fruit Platz (Simply in Season)
Peach Shortbread
Peach and Blackberry Cobbler with Crystallized Ginger
Raw Peaches and Cream Tart
Peach Muffins (don't be fooled when the website says "scones." It's totally a muffin batter)
Peach Frangipane Galette

Whew! And I even veered off course and made a fig almond tart and a chocolate cake. Plus, I still want to make Peach Gelato. I know, how does anyone have time to do all that? Well, for starters, it took me four days. And, I don't have a job. (I quit, because I'm planning to start a bakery that hires homeless people. Read more about it here.)


I froze a lot of the baked goods before even baking them. For example, for the Top Crust Peach and Cardamom Pie, I cut and mixed up the peaches for the filling, and then I made the pie dough, and I froze both separately last week. On Monday I pulled both out of the freezer and let them thaw before assembling and baking it. Other things I baked and then froze, like the Whole Wheat Peach Kuchen. So far, it's working well. Everything tastes fresh, as if it hadn't been frozen.



I'll share with you today the recipe for Top Crust Peach Cardamom Pie. It was an easy recipe to make. The addition of cardamom makes it unique, and the pie crust cut out with cookie cutters makes it special. It was fun. I might like it better, though, with a bottom crust too, to make it a normal pie. After all, there can never be too much pie crust!




Top Crust Peach Cardamom Pie
Adapted from Bon Appetit 2009
Serves 8

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flax meal
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Mix ingredients in food processor or by hand in large bowl.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
Add to food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Or, cut in by hand with two knives.

3 tablespoons (or more) ice water
Add to flour mixture and pulse until dough just comes together. Or, mix in by hand with a fork. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead a few times. Shape into flat disc, wrap in plastic, and chill at least an hour. When chilled, roll out dough on parchment paper or lightly floured surface. Cut into shapes with cookie cutter.

2 1/2 pounds firm but ripe peaches
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Combine in large bowl and toss to coat. Pour into 9-inch diameter glass pie dish. and arrange pie dough cutouts on top of peach filling, overlapping to completely cover peaches.

1 egg or egg white, beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons raw sugar
Brush egg on pie crust cutouts. Sprinkle with sugar, and bake at 400 degrees until crust is golden and peach filling is bubbling thickly. Let cool at least 30 minutes. Serve with ice cream or thick honey yogurt.

Printable Recipe

Other posts you may enjoy:

Peach Picking 2010

Lavendar and Peaches


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