Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy Mother's Day Mom and a Peach Pie Recipe!

Growing up, Mother’s Day meant we were forced to indulge my mom in one of her favorite simple pleasures- eating outside. The weather is touch and go in mid-May in Chicago and many cold omelets were enjoyed on our barren patio, all of us wrapped in sweaters, bulky parkas, hats and scarves. Eating with mittens on was not unusual and I vividly remember snow melting at my feet several years in a row. More often than not, the chatter at the table was from my brother’s and my teeth clacking in protest to the very un-spring like breeze and NOT from titillating conversation. Once you become a mother, you start creating your own traditions. I am currently promoting a new and very enlightened holiday in our house— The Day after Mother’s Day Spa Day. And luckily, I won’t have to fight snot-cicles while sipping the traditional Mother’s Day mimosas.

I have a lot to raise my champagne glass to this Mother’s Day. I have the best mother in the world. She is my biggest supporter and fan; she is my best friend and, as I start my own family, she is my role model for the mother I want to be to my kids. She nurtured us with love, food and wisdom, and now I know from my own experience, often on a wing and a prayer.

I will be making peach pie this weekend in celebration of my mom, perhaps it will become a new Mother’s Day tradition in our house. As kids, we always called it Grandma’s Peach Pie, but after a bit of investigation, I found that it goes back to my (and Sniff’s) great-grandmother. All of the women before me were great cooks and elegant entertainers; it is in my blood. Growing up, my mom’s grandmother lived two houses down from them. When my grandmother would entertain, which was often, my Great-Grandma Denessen would make the desserts, and most often it was this peach pie that she carried across the lawn. It was everybody’s favorite. When my mom began entertaining, she did not have her mother as a neighbor and had to make the sweet endings herself.

My great-grandmother made this pie with canned peaches, as did my grandmother and mother. When I lived in northern California, I began stewing fresh ripe peaches for the filling. When they are in season, this is the way to go. However, I have never let the seasons get in the way of me and this pie!

Serves 6-8

5 extra-large egg whites
Pinch salt
1 cup sugar
1 ¼ cup coconut, toasted
½ cup almonds, toasted
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 28 oz. can peaches (or 4-5 peeled and stewed peaches)
½ pint whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
  1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Slice the peaches thinly and place them in a colander to drain. They should be very well drained before filling the crust.
  3. Beat the egg whites and salt on high until foamy; gradually add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.  
  4. Carefully fold in 1 cup of the toasted coconut and all of the almonds. 
  5. With a spatula and a light hand, spread the meringue into a well buttered 10"” pie plate. Build the sides up high above the edge of pie plate. 
  6. Bake the crust for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and dry along the edge. 
  7. Let cool on counter top. 
  8. Whip the cream and vanilla. 
  9.  One or two hours before serving, fill pie crust with peaches and top with whipped cream leaving a rim of peaches exposed around crust.. Sprinkle remaining toasted coconut over whipped cream.
  10. Refrigerate until time to serve.

1 comment:

  1. Ashley, my angel! Thank you so much for your sweet words. It is THE best present a mom could wish for. Thank you!
    About your memory of mother's day: Love it! You recall it perfectly. I notice you made no mention of those warm brunches over the years. Dad is in luck this year. I don't think he'll have to wear mittens or a hat.