Just Peachy!

Ten days ago I picked our first peaches, and today Kirk and I picked our last ones off of the Reliance tree. We did another round of canning tonight, which leaves us just one last fruit bowl of peaches for the year to eat fresh (well, until the handful of Fingerlakes peaches on our other tree ripen in September). Along the way, we also did some sweet cooking with the peaches. Here are the recipes:

Garden Peach Pie

You don't need to add much when the peaches are perfectly ripe and sweet:

I actually made two peach pies over the past week, and might make a third if we still have enough peaches left by the time the second one is gone!

For the crust, I use Martha Stewart's recipe, which is a great basic. The reason I could stand to make two pies in one week has a lot to do with using our new best kitchen tool to make the crust lickety-split.  While the crust is chilling in the fridge, make the filling. For this you will need:

16 small peaches
1/4 cup rose syrup
2-4 Tbs. sweet cicely, minced
1-2 Tbs. honey
2 Tbs. flour
2 Tbs. cornstarch

Blanch peaches in boiling water for 2 minutes, shock in ice water, and slip the skins from them. Break peaches in half (it's faster with your hands than with a knife), remove pits, and slice each half into thirds (unless it's super-tiny, then just cut in half). 

Once the peaches are sliced and in a large bowl, add rose syrup and toss lightly. Add remaining ingredients and stir gently until mixed. (If you thought farther ahead than I did, you could make your rose syrup with honey in the first place, and then skip the honey. That way your pie would be made of all unrefined sugars, and the filling could even be all from the garden once you get around to getting hives of your own.)

Roll out the bottom crust, put it in the pie plate, and fill. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the peach slices into to the shell, and discard remaining syrup. The peaches have so much juice left in them, so you just don't need all the liquid.

Put on the top crust, cover the crimped edges with tin foil, and bake it in a 400 degree oven for a half hour. Then remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes. 

You don't have to do a lattice top. I'm pretty sure they were invented by someone who messed up the top crust (that's the only reason I did mine!). 

Peach Leaf Ice Cream

Peaches and almonds are very closely related, and you can fake almond flavor by steeping peach leaves. Go easy and taste as you go, because it can get bitter if you let it go too long. I found 15 minutes to be about right.

1 cup milk
1 scant cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup half and half
2 cups heavy cream
30-40 young, unsprayed peach leaves (best from the tips of the branches with new growth)

To make a half gallon of ice cream, scald milk, then add sugar and salt. Stir until dissolved, then add half and half and  heavy cream. Bruise peach leaves and stir into cream mixture; let steep for 10-15 minutes (taste at 10 and then every couple minutes to be sure it's not getting bitter). 

Strain the leaves out of the mixture and discard, then chill the mixture in the fridge and freeze in the ice cream maker. When it's done, it should have a light, almond-y taste. It's way better than the overwhelming flavor you get from almond extract, and the leaves are around to use for months, instead of just the few weeks of the summer when peaches are at their peak.

Serve this ice cream with peach pie, of course:

My slice of pie here actually has a dollop of peach leaf whipped cream on the side, which is made the same way. I used the remaining cup of heavy cream we had in the house to steep about a dozen peach leaves (just barely warmed on the stove). After chilling the cream back down for a few hours, whip it up with 2 Tbs. of powdered sugar just before serving.

Yummy yum yum!


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