It’s summer in Savannah. The temperatures are rising.
The humidity makes drying off after a shower futile. The art students have left town and in their wake dumpsters filled with soiled area rugs, Target lamps and general college-stained detritus. The remaining tourists are sweaty — their visors tightly bound around their frizzy hair. The daily arguments that take place between my house and the grocery store parking lot turn to calls for firearms more quickly now. The smell of fried chicken from Kroger mixes with the scent of jasmine blooming on chain link fencing.
But there is a reward for those who stay behind and prostrate themselves before their wall unit air conditioners.
That reward is Georgia peaches.
Save for having dinner with Neil Young, Martha Stewart and Bill Clinton; inventing a time machine that directly teleports you to The White Stripes last live show in Southaven, Mississippi; or running away to Tahiti to sell tacos on the beach with Ryan Gosling, I really can’t think of anything much better than a whole flat of peaches from Davis Produce.
So for the love of Jesus jumping up and down on a pogo stick, get yourselves some peaches and make a pie.
For the crust, I used Libbie Summer’s “Way Better Than Basic Pie Dough” recipe from her Whole Hog Cookbook, which I made for a strawberry pie not too long ago. I was in a bit of a rush to get these close-to-too-ripe peaches inside a crust so I didn’t make an orthodox version of it. Instead I used the vegetable shortening option, and since I didn’t have any vanilla sugar on hand, I scraped the seeds out of one side of half a vanilla bean.
Also, I didn’t cut the butter and shortening in by hand all the way. I used my food processor to cut it into the size of small peas and added water while the processor was running until it formed into a ball. It was still fantastic.
My mama (who was visiting to see me graduate from SCAD with my master’s degree) has no off position on her genius switch. While I would have taken this as an opportunity to pour over my various cookbooks and troll the internet for the perfect-sounding filling recipe, in all her infinite wisdom, she picked up the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook and found it in all of 90 seconds.
Pro tip: If you don’t want a permanent pukey-colored stain on your Flaming Lips concert T-shirt, wear an apron whilst peeling your peaches.
- 6 cups of peeled, pitted and sliced peaches
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of quick-cooking tapioca
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I’m not the biggest fan of adding cinnamon in fruit pies, but do so if you like it.)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a big bowl, stir together sugar, tapioca, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add peaches and toss to coat. Let mixture stand for 20 minutes.
While mixture is standing, roll out one chilled disc and fit into 9-inch pie pan. Place filling inside. If you feel fancy, you can roll out the other disc and cut into strips for a lattice top. This slide show form Bon Appetit is always helpful if you need some guidance. Crimp edges together and place pan on a baking sheet. Don’t skip this step. In the words of Jay-Z: “Hov did that so hopefully you wouldn’t have to go through that.”
Bake for 25 minutes. Check up on it, and then bake 15-20 minutes more. It may be necessary to create an annoying foil halo around your crust’s edges as it bakes for the first 25 to prevent overbrowning. If you aren’t a fan of burnt ends outside of the realm of BBQ, I suggest getting out the Reynold’s wrap.
I’m a real person. Photo by Justin Carapella.
Immediately transport to a backyard get-together, a quinceañera happening nearby, neighborhood block party or any picnic table/porch within 100 feet.