A magazine caught my eye as I entered the break room at the Courier Express office in DuBois. There was a photo of a luscious peach pie on the front cover. A closer look and I realized the picture was of a slice of “Freezer Peach Pie” with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
I’ve had peach pie any number of times – at restaurants or homemade by Mom – but I have never heard of “freezer” peach pie before. Freezer jam, yes; pie, never.
The recipe lead-in noted that while peach pie is good in the summer it’s better in the winter and this “freezing method” allows a person to have this delicious dessert anytime the craving hits – even in the dead of winter when it becomes dark out before 5 p.m.
The active part of this recipe says it only takes 10 minutes but the total make but takes nine hours total, which includes eight hours freezing time. That alone tells me it must be a fairly simple recipe to make. A quick read of the instructions confirms this.
It is basically taking fresh, sliced peaches and tossing them with cornstarch and spices. Line a 9-inch pie pan with aluminum foil and put the peach mixture into it. Cover and freeze 8-12 hours. Then remove the frozen peach mixture from the pie pan, discard the foil and place the formed pie mixture into a zip-lock freezer bag and back into the freezer to store until you need it. Then, when you want a peach pie, you grab that 9-inch pie pan, roll out a store-bought crust or a homemade one and put it in the pie pan. Add in the frozen peaches and then roll out one more pie crust and cut it into strips to use as a lattice top to the pie. Bake in preheated 450 degree oven for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 350 and bake for 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the peach filling is hot and bubbly.
I think doing a pie this way may be a great way to add peach pies to the apple pies I make ahead in the fall. If you’re not making the crust until you actually want the pie, then it wouldn’t take long to do up a dozen pies and pop them in the freezer. With the apple pies I freeze the entire pie, which is uncooked, and then just pop it in a preheated oven using the same method of a higher heat for the beginning of the baking process and then reducing the heat for the second half of the baking. Although with the apples I bake a frozen pie at 425 degrees for 20 minutes before reducing the temperature to 375 degrees.
Cornstarch is called for in the peach pie, which will keep it from getting liquid in the bottom of the pie. Instead you’ll see the juices gel and cling to the fruit. I use cornstarch or tapioca flour in apple pies to thicken the juice from the apples and sugar. I found that tapioca flour didn’t leave those little beads we remember from tapioca pudding but worked very similar to cornstarch in thickening while dissolving into the juices.
The other surprise to the freezer peach pie is the spices. I cannot remember mom ever using cardamom, although I’ve had rolls with that spice added. There is also ginger and cinnamon in the spice mixture for the peaches. I cannot recall what, if any, spices mom used in her peach pie. I don’t remember a heavy spice taste with her peach pies. I just remember that fresh peach taste and a flaky crust.
Mom didn’t make peach pies often. She was more likely to peel and can peaches for use as a dessert. She’d place a peach half on top of a slice of angel food cake with whipped cream or possibly give us just a dish of peaches.
When she did bless us with a peach pie, it was delicious. And a treat, since she made them so rarely. A slice of slightly warm peach pie is wonderful in the summer. I love warm fruit pies, which is more than likely why I loved the peeled peach that had been scalded to more easily remove the skin. When canning, Mom would take pity on us and give us a freshly peeled peach that was still warm from the scalding water.
It definitely falls into the category of comfort food for me because it brings back many happy memories of spending time as a family in the kitchen during the canning process. I can still picture Mom and Dad working together to get the job done. I’m not sure how much help us kids actually were in the whole process. But the finished result, fresh canned peaches were always well worth the effort.