We're a little beyond "late summer" now, but I still wanted to show you my favorite late summer treat. (Also, I am considering whether to make another batch of these for the folks at my new job. Part of my secret plan to Win-Friends-And-Influence-People involves plying them with baked goods. Its a good plan, no?)
The week before we left town, I bought too many peaches at the Farmers' Market and had to google around for a recipe to use them all up.
(Yes, of COURSE I considered just sitting down and eating two pounds of peaches for dinner one night, but Steven objected to that plan. I still think it would have been a viable option...)
After a little Google-Fu, hoo boy, did I ever find a good recipe for these peaches. I decided to make Peach Hand Pies, from Smitten Kitchen.
The recipe is a bit time-intensive, especially if you attempt to make the dough, the filling, and complete the pie-assembly and baking all in one day.
But let me just tell you right now, they are OH. SO. WORTH. IT. (In fact, I may or may not have eaten the leftover filling right out of the bowl with a big spoon while the pies were baking. It is THAT good.)
The pastry is the real secret ingredient here -- it puffs up just as perfectly as commercial dough would. And, strangely enough, it has sour cream in the pastry dough. Odd, but delicious.
The folding process got a little messy, and I ended up greedily trying to overfill each pie, with the result that most of them leaked in the oven. But aren't the little fork-marks just adorable?
You have to brush the tops with egg wash to make them brown nicely. (That's probably why they look a bit gooey here.) You can see my glass of ice water on the countertop. You're supposed to keep your fingers ice cold when working with the dough, and being a southern girl at heart, my house is never really cold enough to be the prime temperature for pie dough. So I end up just sticking my fingers in ice water every so often (and then drying them off before handling the dough) to keep the dough from melting in my hands. I forget where I learned that, but its a neat trick.
The fork marks were also useful to make sure that the seams of each pie were good and closed.
Sadly enough, all of my toil with my cute little fork patterns was for naught, because the pies puffed up so much in the oven that the marks weren't even visible after baking.
But once I tried the first pie, fresh from the oven, I forgot all about fork marks. I forgot about messy filling and time-intensive dough preparations. With that first bite, I think I might have forgotten my name.
And so, I implore you, if there are still fresh peaches anywhere in your area, you must make these pies. Make them soon. They are worth every ounce of effort put into them, and you will be inventing reasons why you need to take them with you for lunch every day at work and have one at dinner and They're Just Fruit And Bread So Can't I Eat Them For Breakfast Too? You will rationalize your way into having three or four of them in one sitting.
Don't underestimate the power of an individually-sized fruit-filled pie.
(In fact, I bet these would be excellent with some brown-sugar-laden apple pie filling too.... I am sensing a strange need to make another enormous batch of tiny little pies RIGHT THIS INSTANT. Now, where did I put my apple peeler?)