On the eve of Summer Solstice, I found myself curled on a wooden garden bench, looking up at delicate paper lanterns strung like glowing peaches hanging from a young tree. The terraced garden sparkled with glass-held candles expertly placed between geraniums, hostas, hydrangeas and others. A few cicada cries competed with the swaying summer music and fireflies burned green-yellow blurs near the grass’ edge.
Nights like these are well met with a juicy glass of wine and a thick slice of fresh peach pie cradled by the flakiest of crusts. You’ll want a crust so flaky that the fork competes with it, as if the crust wants you to work for that perfect bite of buttery pastry, sweet peach and creamy creme fraiche … but of course, you’ll be eating a peach and creme fraiche pie. And once you have this pie, you won’t go back to normal peach pies, which are often too sweet and with “soggy bottoms,” as Julia Child would say.
In all honesty, a lifetime of bad peach pies had turned me against the beauty of a really perfect peach pie. A pie unlike the others. A pie for non-pie-makers. A pie from Martha Stewart.
So came Smitten Kitchen, whose food pictures flirt with me daily. Smitten is very sensitive to people plagiarizing her recipes, so I’ll let you print it off yourself by clicking here for the crust recipe. All-butter pie crust? Lord! I’ve never had a crust like this before. Maybe I toasted it a bit too much, but it was so nice to have a crust with some integrity.
Once you make that, preferably the day ahead, prepare the pie filling with streusel topping. You will think that the creme fraiche has made it too watery, that it won’t set up. Have faith – it works like a dream, and the creme is such a perfect, slightly sour friend to the peaches. Like peaches and cream, but better.
Before you do anything, you must get really great peaches that are nice and ripe.
We traveled down to peach country, on the way to the Carolina beaches, through small towns with names like Wind Blow. While you’re at it, stop at one of those road-side stands for peach ice cream. The treat is worth standing in line behind 12 children in various stages of temper tantrums.
Peaches you get off a farm are covered with a much thicker fuzz. But don’t worry, you’ll remove it before you make this…
And slice it into this…
Eat it, and feel all peachy, friends! xoxo