Remember when? A likely question when comparing memories from the past to today.
Remember when there would be a crate, a whole wooden crate of peaches in every kitchen during the summer. There was no need to purchase a small quantity to see if they were juicy, dry, sour, flavorless or rubbery. They would be perfect, as my jubilant memories have it. Standard practice; nibbling every bit of the sweet juicy flesh around the pit and start on another, juice running down your face.
That was in Minnesota, not exactly the likes of Georgia. Peaches have been seriously down-grading in quality, in my experience. I haven’t seen a crate of peaches in decades. Each year I purchase more and more tester peaches to find a quantity that is acceptable, or even better than acceptable–great peaches. Varieties from the highly regarded –and dutifully more expensive– premium grocery store have not faired any better that the discount grocery chain. I make do with four different supplies. The dud peaches become sauce. Even bad peaches make acceptable sauce.
Thoughts of my peach-lore bring me to a trip, a summer in Europe–Europe on $5 a Day. Noting this ubiquitous dog eared tom, the ironic guide for the “young kids” or even “hippies” making a given allotment of coins last well beyond the expected date, circa 1970’s.
Within my tribe–my boyfriend and me–had settled on a small island in Greece, chosen for its short ferry ride from Athens. Packing up the tent in preparation to leave the island, we were faced with the staggering dilemma as to what to do with the large sun-ripened tomato and a similarly huge peach. The solution became the marriage of those items, nothing else, into a “salad” that I can still recollect nearly 50 years later. Beyond delicious.
In the last few summers it has become a new tradition of mine to make at least one peach pie. Never being a big pie lover, it was a particular recipe that caught my attention.
Hello: PEACH AND CREME FRAICHE PIE *
Creme Fraiche caught my interest. Heavy cream soured by buttermilk into a rich heavenly sauce, the texture of softened vanilla ice cream. With the heat of the summer, it easily clots in a warm room over 70 degrees and is then refrigerated until its use.
The crust, a PATE SUCREE, a slightly sweet cookie like crust. Leave it to the French. Also to be added, a STREUSEL, a loose dough-like addition which is globbed (not a culinary term) on top of the peach filling. The Pate Sucree, the crust, is pre-baked until golden. This is possibly the reason that it is indescribably delicious, the crust doesn’t get soggy but remains like a cookie filled with ambrosia. When the fruits of this labor have cooled some, the taste tests commence– to determine warm with vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche, or chilled unadorned. Both leave the question; what is the appropriate interval for another slice.
*Martha Stewart Living August 2006 Peach and Creme Fraiche Pie