Monday, August 31, 2009

Peach Pie

August is peach season here in the Great Lakes region, and with it comes a long-standing family tradition of peach pie. My parents would frequently make a trip west to Huron, Ohio to purchase fresh peaches from stands near the orchards where the fruit is grown. This year, we settled for getting our Ohio peaches from the grocery- great whopping specimens too.

This weekend was cool and rainy which kept me off my bicycle and in the kitchen. In addition to whipping up my first-ever batch of mayonnaise from scratch (thank you Julia Child), I bit the bullet and did a pie crust from scratch. Following Ruhlman's ratio (3 parts flour, 2 parts fat, one part water- for which I used 300 grams flour, 200 grams Crisco, 100 grams ice water), directions from Julia, and memories of my sisters' exhortations on the topic, I whipped up a batch without a hitch and pressed it into a pie plate. I kept waiting for it to fall apart, to crumble, to fail, but it did not.

While I was doing this, Kim peeled and sliced the wonderful, juicy peaches for the filling. Following my maternal grandmother's recipe (below), I whipped up the custard addition for the filling and into the crust it went.

It baked to perfection, although we were glad we had put a cookie sheet underneath the pie, as it did bubble over. After it was done, we let it sit for several hours. Since it was such a "food" weekend, we took ourselves to see the fantastic "Julie and Julia" (I heartily recommend Julia's memoir "My Life in France" if you have not ready it), after which we cut into the pie. It was exceptionally soupy, but sliced well and tasted even better, like a plate-sized portion of family history. Here is the second slice (the first inevitably looks miserable!), fittingly served on Grandma's dishes.

Fresh Peach Cream Pie
  • 5-6 fresh ripe peaches
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 2 T. flour
  • 3 T. cream (or 3 T. milk and 1 T. melted butter)
Slice peaches into crust. Beat yolks slightly and add sugar, flour and cream. Pour egg yolk mixture over peaches.

Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes, at 375 degrees for 25 minutes (about 1 hr altogether.)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

But I will have more

Samuel Pepys' diary is well known among those who are interested in seventeenth century English history. It offers a candid and lively view of London during the middle of the century. I find Pepys' descriptions of his daily flirtations with women friends (and occasional flirtations with his wife), his obsession with his fortune, and his fascination with music particularly fun to read.

An enterprising person has created a website for his famous diary, on which Pepys' daily entries can be read on a daily basis, and upon which equally enterprising and knowledgeable people comment. I've found myself reading the RSS feed each morning and following Samuel's London comings and goings.

Yesterday's entry was particularly interesting to me. He begins the entry by saying

Up, and comes Mr. Foley and his man, with a box of a great variety of carpenter’s and joyner’s tooles, which I had bespoke, to me, which please me mightily; but I will have more.

I was not aware that Pepys had a predilection for tools, but how I feel his pain!

I was also not familiar with the name Foley as tool manufacturer, but one of the beauties of the Pepys' Diary site is that there are many notes and annotations to the entries, including one for Foley, which explains that he is a member of the Foley family which built a manufacturing dynasty in Worcestershire.