Summertime is definitely the best time of year, everywhere you go you see fresh fruit and vegetables, and summertime food is simply the best. Being a southern boy at heart, I do love my pies, and nothing beats an old fashioned Peach Pie. I just love walking into the room and smelling ripe peaches, what a great sensation. Then biting into one of those peaches as the juices run down my chin……sigh……now that’s summertime to me. Peaches, Nectarines, and Plums, the holy trinity of stone fruits, but my favorite summertime pie fruit, has to be peaches! Just a plain peach pie with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream is a wonderful thing, but make a sweet custard, blend in your fresh peaches and throw an nice handful of blueberries, add in a struesel topping and your tasting down home goodness. I do have a go to recipe for this pie, it was standard fair in my restaurant days, and its also something I have not made in quite a few years. I did make a couple adjustments to my pie, one is the addition of Greek Yogurt (my new love!), and replacing good old Crisco, with my new healthier Spectrum Organic Shortening ( I am trying to be more responsible). I do have to say my pie crust was not quite up to standards so I have to work on it just a bit, but the pie was wonderful! The fresh peaches so very sweet and tasty, and those tart little blueberries adding just another element to that combination of flavors…..sigh……it was a wonderful thing!
If you do have a favorite pie crust recipe, please feel free to use your own.
Peach-Blueberry Custard Pie
Pastry for one crust pie
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup chilled butter
1/4 cup chilled Organic Shortening
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Sugar
5-6 Tablespoons of Ice Water
I do use a food processor to make my pie dough, it works for me, but feel free to do it the old fashioned way
Cube cold butter and shortening into 1/4 inch pieces.
Sift flour, sugar, and salt together and place into bowl of food processor. Pulse 2 times.
Add Butter and shortening pieces to flour and pulse 2-3 seconds until it forms a fine crumb.
Add Ice 5 Tablespoons of Ice Water to the mix and Pulse 2-3 seconds until dough forms on blade. Add one more Tablespoon of Ice water if dough seems too dry.
Remove dough from bowl, shape dough into a ball ( do not work dough more than you need to, that will make it tough)
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 2 days.
When dough is ready place it on a lightly floured surface and roll it out with a lightly floured rolling pin.
Roll dough from the center to the edge to keep the dough round. Dough should be about 1 1/2 inches bigger than your pie dish.
Roll dough onto rolling pin and transfer to pie plate. Form to pie pan and from your decorative edge.
Keep dough cold until you are ready to fill it.
Peach Custard filling
5-6 Peaches (about 1 1/2 lbs) peeled and sliced
3/4 cup Blueberries
8 oz Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream
4 Large Egg Yolks
1 Cup Sugar
1/4 cup all Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Peel and slice peaches, and place in the bottom of your already made Pie Dough that you already made and fitted into your pie plate.
In a bowl with a wire whisk lightly beat your egg yolks, and add Greek yogurt, sugar, flour, and vanilla extract, just until blended and pour over peaches.
Sprinkle blueberries evenly over your pie.
Bake pie for 25 minutes , while pie is baking make your struessel topping.
4 Tablespoons Butter (softened)
1/2 cup all Purpose Flour
1/2 cup sugar
with your hands combine the flour, sugar and butter until it resembles coarse crumbs, set aside to top pie.
After 25 minutes remove your pie and sprinkle your struesel topping evenly over the top of your pie.
Return Pie to oven and continue baking for 15-20 minutes or until topping is a nice golden brown.
If your crust seems to be browning too quickly when you remove to top with struesel, cover the crust loosely with aluminum foil for the remainder of the time in the oven.
Remove pie from oven when done, and place on cooling rack for one hour.
You may serve this pie warm or let it cool completely.
Summer is also the time we find a glorious bounty of wonderful vegetables, living in New Jersey we do have such a great selection of local produce. When I think of New Jersey Produce four items come to mind, Peaches, Blueberries, Tomatoes and Corn. If you have never tasted a Jersey Tomato, you just don’t know what good is, and our sweet corn is a thing of beauty. My next recipe uses some of that amazing corn.
I started by Grilling my corn first to give it some added flavor, I’ve seen many different recipes for grilling corn, rubs, butters, leaving it in the husk or wrapping it in foil. Each one produces a wonderful tasty ear of corn. But I have found for my tastes, just removing the husk and grilling it just till it starts to get a little color is all I need to produce a perfect ear of corn. Since I have been cooking our corn this way, my wife doesn’t even need butter!
The corn was so cheap at our farmers market this week, that I bought a little too much, so putting on my thinking cap I decided to try some corn fritters. Now making fritters certainly isn’t rocket science, your basically making a corn pancake. So with that thought in mind I grilled my corn and whipped up a small batch of fritters. They came out so well that my wife suggested that I make a big batch and freeze them…..
I also made a nice Tomato Salad. I had purchased a pint of yellow grape tomatoes at the farmers market, wow, were they sweet! I just cut them in half, threw in some of my home grown tomatoes (my reds were the only ones ready) a couple large sprigs of fresh basil from my garden, a little extra virgin olive oil, a splash of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and voila!
Now get out there and find yourself a local farmers market or a grocer selling local produce and get some of summer’s best while it’s still available, and to all my friends down under, you guys will be loving life while we are eating plastic tomatoes…… so hang in there!