From the Poem, ‘Blossoms’ by Li-Young Lee

“From blossoms comes this brown paper bag of peaches”

As you might have guessed I am in love with peaches. I love the smell and texture and taste.

I make a peach Galette that I love, but since I live alone, now, it is way too much food and the crust gets soggy before I can eat the whole thing. I suppose I could make tarts and freeze them but I will wait until there is an occasion where I can share one with others. Making people ooh and ahh is the best part. Looks like it won’t be this year.

Here is my recipe:

Preheat the oven to 375 or 400 depending on your mood and how much you want to keep an eye on it. The oven should be very hot when you put the galette into it to set the crust.

Use enough ripe Peaches to over-fill  a 12 inch pie shell 2.5 pounds??? 3?? They don’t have to be super ripe but very close to it.

Wash and rub off the fuzz and cut into bite sized pieces. This is also a good way to get rid of bruises because they wash out with the rubbing.

Sweeten to taste

A couple of heaping tablespoons of cornstarch

Stir this mess in a large microwaveable bowl

Zap it for 5 minutes, stir, and zap for another 5. The peaches should be all dente and the cornstarch should be transparent and have thickened. Stir and zap again if the cornstarch is still raw. It should not be soupy. Sometimes I put in a dash of vanilla.

While the peaches are cooking I take a package of TJ’s frozen pie dough that is at room temperature and mush the two crusts into a ball and roll it out into a large circle. As with any pie crust don’t over work it although TJ’s is sturdy enough to survive my treatment.

I put the dough on a pizza pan if I am making the Galette with apples but the peaches are far too juicy so I use a green glass casserole dish which is deep enough to hold the inevitable sweet ooze. It also has a convenient lid for storing the left overs. I scatter a handful of toasted almonds across the bottom and pour the still hot fruit into the crust. There should be a lot of extra dough around the edges. Maybe as much as 3 inches. Fold this dough over the fruit, pat the high points down so they don’t burn and sprinkle with sugar. It should make a tidy package with a large opening in the middle. You can look online for images of galettes to see what it should look like. All the images I’ve seen look pretty much the same. (check out: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/peach-plum-galette)

Image may contain: Food, Dessert, Cake, Pie, Plant, and Fruit

In that published image you can see on the bottom right that it leaked onto the parchment and I would say it was a little over-done. Mine are rustic and a little bit paler.

Bake in the hot oven for 20 to 30 minutes. I check at 20 and usually gauge it by eye after that. You are looking for a browned crust with sprinkles of caramelized sugar. Freckles. Another good thing about the glass dish is that I can look at the bottom to see if it has browned. All you have to worry about is the crust, you’ve already cooked the fruit. This is really handy with apples because in order to get them cooked you can easily burn the crust in a traditional bake. The whole process takes less than an hour including baking.

This year and last year, the peaches have been great but 2 years ago they were mealy and tasteless everywhere I bought them.

“To take what we love inside

to carry within us an orchard.”

Isn’t that what memory is? You can remember the bees, the sweaty heat, the farm worker’s struggles, the fertilizer and pesticides and all the horrible things we hate about agribusiness and forget about the 5 pounds of luscious wonderful peaches. If all you remember is the crap in the world you might as well toss the peaches in the compost and be done.

Or you can remember the soft smell, the tugs as your teeth penetrate the skin, the weirdness of the fuzz on your tongue, the dark red heart that surrounds the stone.

I’ve made myself hungry for another one but I’ve run out.

And to be frank, I had so many good peaches this summer that I am ready for the tart, crunchy, and juicy apples that will soon fill the shelves at the farmer’s market.

The fruit stand at the El Cerrito Farmer’s Market on Saturday’s must have had 15 different kinds of organic peaches and plums. Does anyone know what the story is with those donut peaches? They look so weird I’ve never tried one.

The first fresh peach I remember eating was when I was 17 and in London. There was a small fruit stand out side the Safeway (I was disappointed that there was a Safeway in London, it seemed impossible to get away from the USA). I examined the lovely peaches on display and reached for one. The vendor slapped my hand away, not hard, but enough to startle me. I didn’t understand that he was supposed to pick the fruit for me. He handed me the one I was reaching for and charged me for it. In those days they used shillings and pounds and pence and I had no idea how much I paid for that peach. I went into Safeway and bought a container of sweet cream that was the texture of sour cream without the tartness. That is still the best peach I have ever eaten and since then I have had some that made me moan in pleasure.

08-17-2020

 

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