Baking is an act of generosity. It is love and kindness and sorrow and hope baked into a loaf of generosity. Sunday Servings is an attempt to spread the generosity a little further by sharing stories and recipes. If you would like to share your own story or recipe, please do so in the comments section or tweet ideas to @MamaMcAfee.
I hosted my first real house guests this week, my high school best friend Mackenzie and her two year old son. (Apologies, family, you don't count as real house guests. I love you, but you don't.)
Inviting the first guests into your home is, I think, the moment an apartment, a flat, a house, an abode becomes a home. It's the first time your own little space in the world wraps its warmth around someone else and for a few moments shares it's hominess and comfort. It's the first time you are established as the owner or the renter of the space and get to play host, offering out good food and comfy chairs and good conversation. It all becomes a little bit more real--this is mine and I want to share it with you.
Mackenzie's presence in my home filled the place up with memories old and new. Over three and a half years since we've seen each other, the first time meeting her son, her second child on the way, awaiting my first--we had a lot to catch up on and a lot to reminisce over. Her son played and laughed at Dora while we chatted about old friends and what they're doing now, new life events, family members and general life stuff. We enjoyed zucchini rice gratin from the recipes of my favorite Smitten Kitchen and an amazing peach pie also from the Smitten Kitchen archives.
It was like coming home and yet being home all at once.
Everything so familiar and easy with this person I've known forever and yet so different and new with the many, many life changes and the very different roads we traveled on.
Maybe it's just me and the funny way my brain works, but having the beautiful flowers Mackenzie and her son brought sitting on my dining table and leftovers in the fridge and the lingering presence of my house guests makes this place seem like a home where it wasn't really a home before. It was merely a space I was learning to live in.
Now it has memories that belong just to it. Memories of a new renter, new dinners and new house guests. And, Lord willing, it will keep having new memories and be filled with those living memories of days and moments and happenings. I'm excited for those memories to fill up this space and excited for the days when I can look at these beige walls with their white trim and think, if only these walls could talk, the stories they would tell.
Check out the original receipe at www.SmittenKitchen.com
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (additional for dusting surfaces)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter (very cold)
- 1/2 cup water (very cold)
- About 3 1/2 pounds of poached** peaches (about 6 large, 7 medium or 8 small)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- A dash of ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons minute tapioca, ground to a powder (or 3 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch)
- 1 tablespoon milk, cream or water
- 1 tablespoon coarse or granulated sugar
- Whisk together flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. With a pastry blender (two forks or your fingertips will also work if you don't have a pastry blender), work butter into flour until largest pieces of butter are pea-sized.*** Gently stir in ice water, mixing until a craggy dough forms. Knead dough two or three times to form a ball. Divide in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and flatten to look like a disc. Chill in fridge for at least an hour or up to two days. (Dough may be frozen for up to 2 months. Leave in fridge for one day to defrost.)
- Halve and pit peaches, then slice into 1/3-inch thick slices. Add to a large bowl and toss with lemon juice. In a small bowl, stir together sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and tapioca (or your prefered thickener) until mixed evenly. Add to peaches and toss to coat.
- Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
- Flour a flat surface, unwrap one dough half, place in middle of floured surface and generously flour dough. Using a rolling pin, flatten dough from center out. Re-flour the counter and top of dough as needed. Once dough is a 12- to 13-inch circle, transfer to standard pie dish by folding gently into quarters (no creases), arrange folded corner into one quarter of the bottom of tin and gently unfolding it to fit over base. Trim overhang to one inch.
- Scoop filling into bottom pie dough, including juices. Roll out your top pie dough using the same method as above, until it is 12 to 13 inches in diameter. For regular pie lid, use as is, cutting vents in lid before baking. For lattice-top, cut pie dough into strips anywhere from 1/2 to 1-inch wide with pastry wheel, pizza wheel or knife. Arrange every other strip across pie filling in one direction, spacing strips evenly. Fold back every other strip gently on itself and add longest remaining strips in the other direction. Fold strips back down, repeat with the other strips until a full lattice-top is formed. Trim lattice’s overhang to the diameter of the pie dish’s rim (only bottom crust should have overhang). Gently fold rim of bottom crust over lattice strips and crimp.
- To finish, brush pie with milk, cream or water and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake pie for approximately 20 minutes in preheated oven, until crust is set and beginning to brown. Reduce oven temperature to 375 ° F (190 ° C) and bake pie an additional 30 to 40 minutes, until filling is bubbling all over and the crust is golden brown.
- Cool pie, for three hours at room temperature before serving to allow filling to thicken.
*I cannot tell a lie. I took a shortcut again and bought ready made crusts at the grocery store, but in general I don't believe in shortcuts and am an advocate for from scratch. So do as I say and not as I do.
**To poach, bring a large saucepan of water to boil. While heating prepare an ice bath and with a knife make a small x at the bottom of each peach. Lower peaches into boiling water and poach for two minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer peaches to ice bath and allow to cool for one minute. Remove from ice bath and peel skins. Skins should be very loose and come off easily. You may want to run water over the peach while you gently rub off the skin.
***This is easier if you chop the butter into pieces first rather than dumping in the sticks whole.