14 July 2008
ANCILLARIES: Peach Pie
The best peaches I've ever eaten can be found this time of year at assorted fruit stands just off of I-65 in Chilton County, Alabama. Look for the giant peach watertower.
"This towering testament to the fruit that makes the region famous means two things: First, you're slap in the middle of Alabama's peach country; and second, you better take a nearby exit if you want the freshest and the sweetest."
- Tanner C. Latham, SouthernLiving.com
Start with your favorite pie crust recipe. Ours is a basic butter crust with a little sugar added and cream cheese used in place of the shortening. For a smaller pie/cobbler, you'll just need one crust; for a full-size pie, you'll need to make enough dough for two crusts. Press half of the dough into your baking dish reserving the other half for the top.
Wash, peel and thinly slice your soft, ripe peaches (about 6 to 8 for a small cobbler, 12 to 14 for a pie). Place the slices in a large saucepan over medium-low heat and add sugar and spices to taste. For a full-sized pie, start with about 1 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, a few light shakes of nutmeg and few heavy shakes of cinnamon. Cook the mixture just until the sugar is all melted and evenly mixed and the peaches are soft and squishy. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in about 1/4 cup of flour and a tablespoon of corn starch.
Pour the mixture into the pie crust, dotting with a little butter along the way. Use the remaining pie crust dough to cover the pie - making a top crust with slits, a lattice top, cut shapes, etc. - and bake the pie at 425-degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes. The pie is done when the crust is a light brown and the insides are bubbly. Then of course, serve it over vanilla ice cream.
Clanton, Chiton County, Alabama: Exit 212 on I-65 between Birmingham and Montgomery