The peach pincher next to me at the Farmers’ Market is oblivious to my raised eyebrow. The meticulously arranged pyramids of blush pink freestones can’t speak for themselves, so I speak for them. “You know,” I begin tentatively, the words falling out of my mouth headed towards the woman assaulting the peaches, “every time you squeeze a peach, it leaves a bruise.” I have chosen my target poorly; the woman is not merely sensitive but defensive. “I’m not squeezing them,” she replies, mildly outraged. “I just want the ripe ones.” Gravitating from corrugated carton to corrugated carton, pinching and sniffing and gruffly handling the fragile stone fruit, I swear I can see the peaches grimacing in anticipation. Scooping up a quart of freestones and balancing them on top of four ears of corn, I casually mention to the peach assailant, “If they’re not ripe right now, you can leave them on the counter for a day or two...” My suggestion is met with icy silence; I abandon my peach evangelist mission reminding myself that Farmers’ Market-ing can be a tough sport.
Despite the fact that my weather app is indicating unhealthy air quality, I return from my produce pilgrimage and immediately turn on the oven. The peaches are agreeably ripe and incredibly fragrant. Baking a peach pie doesn’t require any special skills, but it does require the baker to make choices. Peeling the peaches and par-baking the crust isn’t mandatory, but I think it’s well worth the effort. Pulverized Minute tapioca, or cornstarch, or tapioca starch are all fine thickeners, and just as I prefer to shy on the thickener rather than add too much, the same holds true for the sweetener. Waiting patiently for the peaches to ripen on their own timetable may not suit everyone, but the fragrance of peaches escaping through a criss-cross lattice is one of the true gifts of summer.
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Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm