Tuesday, July 09, 2024

A different kind of "making"

Anyone who's paying attention knows there's a heatwave out west. I'm smack in the middle of it, and a few friends (who don't live here) have asked how we survive. I mean - when you get into your car and you see this, you know it's going to be a tough ride. 


So we broke the record... not just broke it, but pretty much shattered it. By three degrees. It's a little sobering and scary. So how do we survive the summer temps? 


WE STAY INSIDE! 

This little peach tree is sagging with fruit, and the birds have let me know that it's time to either pick them, or the peaches are fair game for their dinner. 


 I picked a handful and pulled out my trusty cookbook for baking. 

Now hear me out... first, I come from a long line of bakers. My Aunt Teresa was known for her award winning peach pie, and my mom is no slouch in the kitchen, either. In fact, we call her Virgie Baker (long story!) and her chocolate chip cookies are legendary. So is her cheesecake - which I'm craving right now.

For some reason, The baking gene skipped me. As much as I try, my breads are dense, my sourdough starter turned moldy, my pie crusts are hard... you get the idea. But this cookbook has served me well. 

Do you remember as a kid - buying books from a book service who would drop off a list of what was available - we'd put a few checkmarks by the ones we wanted, and a few days later, the books would arrive. I chose this one when I was around 9 or 10 years old, and I can't tell you how many times I've used it. 



It may sound silly, but I can make this recipe for Apple Crisp in my sleep. It's ridiculously easy... even a kid can pull it off. 


But this was the recipe I was looking for - mostly for guidance, than actual ingredients. 


I remembered that it makes a pretty small batch, and my other recipes seemed like they were going to make too much pastry dough. 

(Maybe my binging of The Bear led me down this path, who knows?)  

So I chose some peaches and followed Aunt Teresa's recipe for the filling. And I decided to make two smaller pies, rather than one big one. 


Dammit, I needed more peaches! I chose a few more and added to what I'd diced. 


Here's where it gets tricky - I have no idea how to finish the edge of a pie, so I did my best.  I can crimp a pizza crust with the best of them, but pastry dough seems like a different beast.  


I had a small bit of dough left over, and made a few tarts with some blueberry jam. These were OK, a little tough, crust wise. I Googled it and realize I over worked that dough like crazy, which developed the gluten and made them tough. Like I said - I'm not a very good baker! 


But in the end - here's my humble pie - no pun intended. 


The egg wash on top gave it that lovely golden color, but I may have applied it at the wrong time - maybe ten minutes before it was supposed to come out of the over. I wondered if it was going to turn into scrambled eggs on top, but it worked. 


I probably have enough peaches for another pie - just not sure my hips can handle that!