Following an extended stay in double-thick brown paper bags, the first of the June peaches are finally fragrant, but stubborn. Opting to remove the skins requires a brief spa treatment; a dunk in simmering water followed by an icy cool down. The stone fruit slips out of its pinky-yellow fuzzies and blushes.
It’s a little too early for my favorite freestones, the Red Havens, but a roadside stand tempted with wicker baskets of peaches and half a bushel later, I’m reaching for my paring knife. There is little fanfare in the 2020 kick-off to peach pie season. Traditionally my dad’s pie of choice for Father’s Day, this year the holiday quietly slipped away. Thick wedges tumble one after the other into a deep Pyrex bowl. Mostly ripe, the fruit leaves a stream of juice running down my fingers, heading south from palm to wrist to elbow. Even before the sugar hits the bowl, the peaches are swimming against a tide of rosy syrup. Hoping to maintain a crisp blind-baked crust, the fruit takes a ‘time out’ in a colander. Reducing the splash party of juices down to a thick syrup, the fragrance is unmistakable; summer vacation.
The first peach pies of June always aligned with homework free afternoons and Red Light-Green Light after dinner. Mostly, they conjure images of a crowded dining room table and curls of charcoal briquette smoke snaking through the window screens. Peach pie played a recurring role throughout the summer, but particularly on Father’s Day. Sliced into generous wedges, the still-hot fruit could not contain itself, colliding with scoops of vanilla ice cream and blistered pie crust.
I was able to eke out three peach pies from my farm stand haul. Two were lattice- topped. One was crowned with cornmeal-flecked biscuits, a tribute to my father who devoutly believed in peach pie but also revered old-fashioned biscuit shortcake. Assuring me that both pie and shortcake make equally agreeable breakfasts, my father's legacy lives on whenever leftover dessert allows. Any pie that wakes up early and stays up late is my kind of pie. Ditto for biscuits.
Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm