The old saying, "Why do I have so much month left at the end of the money?", could be applied to where we are season-wise right now.
I'm thinking (and mourning), "Why do I have so many peach recipes left at the end of my summer?"
The peaches long ago left our trees; the branches, though still green and leafy, are sadly bare of fruit and will remain that way until next June.
And yet my recipe file still brims with untried recipes that didn't get brought to life before the peach crop faded away. One of those was an all-time winner, "Peach-Blueberry Pie", which combines two of my favorite fruit in all the world. It appears in my new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, but truthfully, I don't think I prepared it all last summer or maybe even the summer before. It's the absolute greatest, but yet another year was breezing by without it materializing.
Enter Ham's Orchard. Until a few weeks ago I probably was the only North Texan alive who didn't know about this fun little spot, just east of Terrell off Highway 80. A combination roadside market/fudgery/burger stand, Ham's is best-known for its many varieties of peaches produced from the massive orchard adjacent to the indoor produce stop. A few weeks beforehand my daughter and her husband had been introduced to Ham's and had suggested we take a Sunday-afternoon drive to tour it as well. I knew Ham's would have to be special to entice my daughter, who is very great with a child (did I say very?) and desperately seeks to avoid crowds, to brave Ham's crowded aisles to show us this haven of goodies.
Perhaps Ham's best draws are the fresh homemade peach ice cream and peach shakes that are wildly popular with customers, especially on extremely hot Texas summer afternoons. Other delicacies are the homemade peach cobblers and ready-prepared meals that are sold ready to be popped into the oven. On the Sunday afternoon we stopped in, customers swarmed around like bees after honey. I saw my opportunity to replenish my peach supply and give life to my "Peach-Blueberry Pie" after all.
With a small sack of some of Ham's finest tucked under my arm, I resisted the temptation for a soft-serve peach ice cream cone and instead envisioned my upcoming pie that soon would have intermingled morsels of peaches and blueberries bubbling through the squares in the lattice-topped crust. (I had a bag of blueberries left from an earlier visit to the Chickasaw Nation farmer's market, so now with the peaches I was in business.)
Happily, that dream was soon realized. Nobody we saw departing Ham's slurping peach shakes or licking peach cones on that Sunday afternoon had anything near the smiles on our faces that resulted from the first bite of my upcoming warm homemade Peach-Blueberry Pie.
Yay! I didn't have to wait another year to enjoy it after all.
1 cup sugar (I use sugar substitute)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
3 cups sliced peeled fresh peaches
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon butter (I use unsalted, not margarine)
pastry for double-crust pie (9 inches)
milk (I use skim milk)
a "little" extra sugar to mix with the cinnamon
In a bowl combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, and allspice. Add the peaches and blueberries; toss gently. Line pie plate with bottom crust; add the filling. Dot with butter. Top with a lattice crust. Brush crust with milk; sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filing is bubbly. Cool completely. Frozen fruit may be used if it is thawed and well-drained. Serves 6-8.