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Peaches need care in
their growing, their storage, their transportation, and in their
baking. Bakers may not be able to control some of these things, but they can control how they are cooked. One of my favorite ways to
use fresh peaches is in this Peach Pie that combines two buttery crisp layers of pastry with
lightly sweetened slices of fresh peaches. This is a perfect dessert on a warm summer's night
preferably with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The two components of fruit pies, are a crust with
good flavor and texture, and excellent tasting fruit. For me,
nothing beats Pate Brisee (a short crust pastry) that is
made from a mixture of flour, sugar, salt, butter, and ice
water. It has a high ratio of fat to flour which gives the pastry its
crisp and crumbly texture and buttery flavor. It is easily made in your
food processor and is quite easy to handle. Just be sure to flour both your
work surface and rolling pin to prevent the pastry from sticking, and keep turning the pastry as you roll it out so
it has uniform thickness.
As I said above, a fruit pie must also start with good quality fruit. The first thing you need to know is that there are two types of peaches,
'Clingstone' and 'Freestone', with many varieties within each
classification. The names (Clingstone and Freestone) refer to how easily
the flesh of the peach separates from its stone. The Clingstone (available
in late spring/early summer), is exactly that, the flesh clings stubbornly
to the central stone or pit. Freestones (available late summer) have a
flesh that is easily separated from the stone. When buying peaches, smell and feel
them. The peach should smell
like a peach and feel firm, yet have a slight give when you
press gently on its shoulders. Make sure there are no bruises, cuts, or
soft patches. The amount of red blush on a peach is a sign
of its variety, not its ripeness. Peaches will not ripen or become
sweeter after they are picked but they will soften and become juicier in a
day or two if left at room temperature. Ripe peaches can be stored in
the refrigerator for a couple of days.
Brownies are America's
favorite bar cookie and these are rich and dense with chocolate.
Although you may be able
to buy these gorgeous buns, nothing compares to the smiles you are
rewarded with when your family wakes up to the smell of these baking
in the oven. more
Everyone loves the
elegance of a fruit tart with its topping of beautiful fresh fruit.
Whether you use a single fruit (like strawberries) or a medley of
berries, sliced kiwi, plums, bananas, pineapple, and/or melon no one
can resist its beauty. more
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