Passage of Time

This time of year not only marks the much anticipated end of the sultry dog days of summer but also the change of seasons for appetites. Menus will soon consist of the warmth of comfort foods and hearty soups and stews. Road-side produce stands and farmers markets will fold up their tents and the bounty of summer will be replaced by root vegetables and produce trucked in from far away warmer climates.

My taste buds mourn the passage of this time, wanting instead to rewind to the time when South Carolina peaches were just gorgeous blooms on a tree. Wanting to relive the eager anticipation of the juicy, sweet fruit. Never wanting summer to end.

It has become a summer ritual to stop for peaches at McLeod Farms in South Carolina on the way home from the beach and last year, I used the peaches to honor my friend. This year, I couldn't decide which direction I wanted to go and luckily I brought home enough peaches for three kitchen projects!

One of my favorite but hardly-ever-used kitchen appliances came out of hiding for the first project ~ peach ice cream. Rich, cool and creamy, it is the perfect way to say goodbye to the few remaining hot and humid summer days. As with most homemade ice creams, it is best served while still in the soft-serve stage but if you need to freeze and serve later, just let it sit out for a bit to soften up. I'm already having luscious visions of using brandied peaches next year for an over-the-top ice cream treat.

It would be a crime to let peach season pass without an old-fashioned peach pie. And let's just get one thing out of the way....I used a pre-fab pie crust because while I may be good at alot of things, making pie crusts is not one of them. I am not ashamed. I am ashamed, however, at how many pieces of this pie I ate. I had aspirations of baking a peach, cranberry, apple pie but that will have to wait until next year.

The third project was a combination peach-strawberry quick bread that was reduced to mere crumbs by my coworkers before I could even entertain taking a picture.

Unfortunately, I can't stop the passage of time or the change of seasons, but I can continue to dream up fabulous creations for next year's peach projects. I hope you'll enjoy the last official week of summer with one of these peachy delights!


Carolina Peach Ice Cream

2 1/2 pounds fresh peaches - peeled, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 pint half-and-half cream
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk, or as needed

Puree peaches with the sugar and half-and-half in batches in a blender or food processor.

In a gallon ice cream freezer container, mix together the peach mixture, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and vanilla. Pour in enough whole milk to fill the container to the fill line, about 2 cups.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions to freeze the ice cream.

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Old-fashioned Peach Pie

1 (15 ounce) package pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
1 egg, beaten
5 cups sliced peeled peaches
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Line the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie plate with one of the pie crusts. Brush with some of the beaten egg to keep the dough from becoming soggy later.

Place the sliced peaches in a large bowl, and sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix gently. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Pour over the peaches, and mix gently. Pour into the pie crust, and dot with butter. Cover with the other pie crust, and fold the edges under. Flute the edges to seal or press the edges with the tines of a fork dipped in egg. Brush the remaining egg over the top crust. Cut several slits in the top crust to vent steam.

Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is brown and the juice begins to bubble through the vents. If the edges brown to fast, cover them with strips of aluminum foil about halfway through baking. Serve warm.

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