When my sons were small, countless summer hours were spent at Little League baseball games, the local pool called “Sun and Splash” and day trips to places like Gettysburg, the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. But we also loved our adventures to local farm markets to take advantage of all the summer fruits and vegetables as they came into season.
We picked beautiful strawberries at Strites Orchard in Harrisburg until our baskets overflowed. We picked blueberries and black raspberries in the heat of July at Ashcombe Farms in Mechanicsburg (that was harder). But perhaps my most cherished memory involves our trips to Bentzel’s Peach Orchard in Bowmansdale.
Standing on small ladders, we picked peaches by the bushel basket while they were still warm from the sun. After sharing some with relatives, a lot of peaches remained—peaches for morning cereal, peach jam, peach chutney (which only I ate), peach cobbler and peach coffee cake. I learned to make peach Marsala pie covered with mounds of fresh whipped cream, a perfect company dessert. But to this day, my favorite peach dessert is a simple peaches-and-cream pie my mother taught me to make. She called it “peach macaroon pie.”
To write this column, I searched high and low for her little handwritten card with the recipe on it. Not finding it, I located a similar recipe in my original (and very old) Betty Crocker cookbook, which was also my mother’s “Bible” for baking. She must have found it there.
PEACHES AND CREAM PIE
- Pastry for one 9-inch, one-crust pie
- ¼ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 5 fresh peaches peeled and halved (make sure they are “freestone” peaches so that the pit slips away easily from the flesh)
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon (or more to taste)
- Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
- Prepare pastry or use a pre-packaged pie shell.
- Stir together the flour and sugar and spread half of the mixture in the pastry lined pan.
- Place the peach halves, cut side down, over the sugar mixture. Overlap the halves if needed.
- Sprinkle remaining sugar mixture over the peaches, and pour the cream over all. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Cover the edge of the piecrust with a 3-inch strip of aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning. Remove it during the last 15 minutes of baking. (This step is important.)
- Bake 10 minutes at 450 degrees. Then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake 30 to 35 minutes more until the cream is set. Cool and serve at room temperature.
- Chill the leftovers, if any.
Clafoutis is a fruit and batter pastry that is said to have originated in central France. It is traditionally made with black Bing cherries. I once told good friends of ours that I had made one. They laughed and said, “You’re making that up!” But I’m thinking now that perhaps that’s what Ms. Betty Crocker might have been thinking of when she wrote this recipe: peach clafoutis!
There is still a little time in early September to grab some wonderful peaches. This dessert is so easy. And you don’t need to pick a bushel of peaches to make it.