I don't think it'd be a stretch to say I love peaches. Even after the whole peach growing, peach harvesting and peach jam making I did a few weeks back, I'm still bringing home peaches from the store. Just. In. Case. In case of what exactly, I couldn't say. This pie is a bit of a multi-stepper, but in a painless way. You make your pie dough (or godforbid, use store bought if you must), mix up the streusel (storing the extra you'll have for muffins or better yet, another pie!), peel and slice up the peaches, assemble pie, bake, cool and eat. So easy. If you want to skip ahead and not read my story about my falling, that's fine.
So the other day, I headed out to run. A good four-miler. We live in a VERY hilly area. Some might say on a mountain, but that's not quite right. Colorado has mountains, Missouri has really big hills. Anyway, I came upon a fellow runner. And I have NEVER come across another runner in my 'hood in my entire almost ten years of running here. Ever. Well, Other Runner and I began talking because I was coming up behind her and didn't want to cause an accident, so I gave a warning shout, "Hey. . . Um, I'm running up behind you, just saying . . ." And the O.R. turned around and saw me, and now we're both running together. She began to talk, I began to talk, and we ran. Turns out, we'd just been running at different times of the day and thus, had missed running into each other. (Pun intended.) So, pleasantries and life stories were exchanged (yes you can tell your life story during a run, isn't that what most women do when they run?). A date was set for another run. At a park, with steep walls and dirt. Well, I'm thinking, Okay, I haven't "trail run" in like. . . ever, but whatever, I'm cool with this--I run, therefore I "trail run". And I did. Trail. Run. Until my foot slipped and I went face down along the side of a precipice--which you would normally affiliate with a mountain, but seriously, it's not--just a really, really steep hill. I was hurt. (But only a little bit hurt. No flesh wounds.) And, embarrassed. I mean, come ON, Kelly! What happened here? And because I'm nervous and all scraped up, I jump up and am like, "I'm okay, I'm okay. . ." dusting the dirt off my leg and hands, while OR is really shocked and asking, Are you okay, are you okay, ohmygosh! Well, she was super nice, worried of course, and I would be too if I had someone fall on me during a run. I kept reassuring I was okay. Should we go back? I'm like, Heck No--we're finishing this. (*NOTE: when you fall while running, your adrenaline seems to take care of the "immediate" pain, it's only that night your body lets you know it's NOT happy with you). And mine did. Big time. I really enjoyed the challenge. I need new experiences like this. The Almost Fifty is going to be no more Almost Fifty very soon. Personally, I'll be thrilled when this decade leaves.
I've fallen before. I've hurt myself before. In fact I used to fall a lot as a kid. Broken arm. Head wounds. I'd say clumsy would fit here nicely. I. AM. Clumsy. All arms and legs. If I didn't have a bandaid on me as a kid, then I was having a good week. So this fall was like a sort of re-set button for me. Aging does that to you. You'll have days where, HEY-you-need-to-pay-attention-here moments happen! I'm not thirty anymore. That decade came and went and another one is getting ready to do the same. Did this fall make me feel old. No. You know what would make me feel old? Not Running. Not Biking. Not Walking. Not Finishing. I will run, bike, walk, skip and jump, and yes, I'll probably fall again, but I will always, always get back up.
Dr. Thyme was not happy to see my skidded up leg (and the next day, the nice bruise) but he knows how much I love to run. He knows it's imperative to my overall wellness. . . this running. He said he was glad I was able to finish the run, then handed me two ibuprofen and gave me a big hug. Awww. Then we had some pie and I felt a TON better.
This is about the last or nearly the last weekend for really good peaches. The peaches I used for this pie had been purchased a week or so earlier, stored in my fridge. They were their ripest the moment I decided I had to have peach pie. Just a slight give to their flesh, but still firm. I peeled them by hand, not by blanching them in hot water first. I find that such a waste of time. And when you want pie, time is really of the essence because you have the unbearable "wait time" for the pie to cool properly before you dig in. Served up with a scoop of almond ice cream, it's the perfect dessert for one million degree days like we're having NOW. Ugh. Have I mentioned I hate summer? (Well except for my veggie growing, peach harvesting. . . I hate summer.) Okay. I'll move on.
Here's how to make this pie. First, make your pie dough. I made a single crust pie dough. Here's an easy recipe:
1 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons vegan butter
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1/4 cup ice cold water
Put the flour, sugar, salt in a bowl--sift together. Toss in cubed pieces of the butter first, use a pastry blender to work the dough up with the butter so you have pea-sized pieces, then add in the shortening cut up into cubes, and do the same thing. Add the water in tablespoon amounts and mix after each addition until you've used the entire 1/4 cup amount. Keep working the dough with the pastry blender for a bit. Then after the dough begins to stick to everything, STOP mixing. Toss out onto your counter and shape into a small disc, wrap and place in the fridge for thirty minutes and work on the rest of the pie. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375 and get a 9" pie pan ready.
Peel the peaches and place in a large bowl. I had seven large peaches. Add 1/4 cup cornstarch, 3/4 cup coconut sugar or raw sugar, 3/4 teaspoon almond extract, juice of half a lemon to the peaches. Toss this all together and set it aside.
Next, make your praline pecans (or as I liked to call it, God's Gift for Non-Chocolate Days). I used about 1/2 cup of chopped pecans, 3 tablespoons Earth Balance Butter and 3 tablespoons brown sugar. Put this in a saute pan over medium heat and stir until the butter melts and the sugar sort of disappears and the most delicious aroma you've ever smelled begins filling your kitchen. About five minutes worth of cooking time here. Remove from heat and just set these aside. Try not to eat all of them, you'll want to save some for the pie.
Next, make your streusel. To me, the best part of this pie. This makes a lot, but you can freeze the rest and have it on hand in the coming weeks for adding to muffins. Or more pie. It's sort of my cheater's way of making pie because I'm not rolling out two pie discs and can just spread over a thick layer of streusel. To me, this is sometimes better than a double pie crust pie. Just a personal choice. For my streusel:
4 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup of coconut sugar or raw sugar
1/4 cup of vegan white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Toss all of this in a bowl and work together with a fork. You'll need about two cups to sprinkle over the pie if you're making a 9" pie. Freeze the rest in a storage bag. Keeps for a couple of weeks.
After your pie dough has chilled, roll it out to about 10" across and about 1/4" thick--give or take. Then carefully place in pie pan. Crimp the edges. Add the peaches.
Sprinkle the streusel over the peaches. Top the streusel with the praline pecans. Bake the pie for about 45 minutes at 375. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least an hour before slicing. Store at room temp for two days or in the fridge for four days.
Finally, some scenes from outside.
Our Mississippi Kites are back, only this year, they brought Junior with them. We have Three! I love these birds of prey so much.
Here's the deer babies and Daddy in the back yard. Awww. I love deer.
Here's mama deer checking me check her out.
And the butterflies are aplenty right now.