24 June 2012

Apples are excellent - until you've tried... A Peach !

I was at a small roadside fruit & vegetable stand recently and came upon a nice hefty 1/2 peck of fresh peaches. I picked one up and gave it a gentle squeeze after taking a hearty draw of it's dusty sweet aroma. I knew immediately that they were destined to be transformed into single serving galettes. Paired with a cup of strong coffee provides one of the best morning meals I can think of, simple and slightly sweet. 

As I held it in my hand feeling its warmth and weight I realized that every time I come across a peach such as this I have the same memory. It is 1979 I am sitting in the back of the family car brushing my Aunt Barb's Crystal Gail-esque hair as she sits in the front seat next to my mother, as usual she snookered me into this task by telling me she would give me a whole $.25 ( I still have not seen one penny of that money to this day, but that's what makes it special I guess. )

We are traveling to a place we often visited, McCloskey's Farm in Jamestown, PA a roadside purveyor of fresh fruits & vegetables. Oh how I can see the bins of apples, plums & peaches, melons, onions & squash piled high. Being that we grew most of our own vegetables in a garden my parents had that was a large 1/4 acre at least we were here for the fruit. Peaches always being one of my favorites, I liked how the fuzz made my chin itch.

Slice peaches thinly and add some sugar to help sweeten, this will also pull moisture out and make a nice syrup to add to the tarts. This my all purpose crust I use for desserts as well as potpies and quiche, just omit the sugar.


1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 Tbs. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick cold butter cut into small cubes
1/4 cup + 1 Tbs ICE COLD Water

Mix dry ingredients
Cut in butter w/ a pastry knife until it looks like moist sand yet still has some chunks of butter visible.
Add water and combine w/ the back of a fork until it comes together.
form into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30min.

Cut dough into quarters and roll out on floured surface ( do not over work the dough )

Fan out the slices on the dough leave an inch around the edge to fold up into a neat little purse. Brush with melted butter. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes. As always these can be modified to your liking. Strawberries, blueberries and plums make great variations. In the fall apples and pears are the star. Serve w/ fresh whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you wish.

Three of the greatest women in my life ( besides my wife & three daughters ) are my mother & her two sisters, my aunts Barb & Mary. There has been no comedy trio or Vaudeville act that could begin to match the comedic, humorous and at times wit full revenge that these sisters posses. They were around so much as I grew up that it would be rude to not consider them more mother like. Aunt Barb & Aunt Mary have taught me that no matter how bad things can get in your life there is good somewhere in your future.

Aunt Barb was one of the first people I cooked for. I bragged that at age 8 I could cook as good as anyone I knew, I was staying over at her house and I made her breakfast. All she had was eggs and onions, so I made her an over cooked omelette with no cheese and way to many raw onions. I think she ate it only to make me feel good, if she haden't I may have quit cooking all together. She gave me the confidence to continue doing what I loved. I'm sure she would have loved to have had a peach galette instead.

My Aunt Mary is only 6-7 years older than I am, but I thought she was the hippest chic around. she had the look of an older Joanie Cunningham from Happy Days with the James Dean FTW attitude to go with it.  A teenager in the 70's and 80's she blazed her own path, albeit not always the straight one, which she would admit to if asked. But hey older kids to hang with how cool was that. She gave me my first rock albums KISS Destroyer ( I still have it ) & Billy Joel's Glass House ever since I have been a huge fan of music. She gave me the nerve to walk on the wild side from time to time over the years, and without knowing she has also taught me how to not let it consume me. She has said this to me one way or another over the years in a playful manner, but I always knew there was some truth to it..." learn from not only from your own mistakes, but from mine as well, because if you don't I will kick your ass. "

To my Mother, Aunt Barb & Aunt Mary I Love You...thanks for the memories I think of them often.

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