Summer tomatoes fresh from your own garden.  These tomatoes are prettier than flowers in my opinion.  My expectations for my first season of tomato-planting were actually pretty low.  Needless to say they have been exceeded “astronomically” (heh heh).

We have had them in all sorts of things, but to be honest I enjoy them best right off the vine and straight into my mouth.  My favorites are the little yellow ones.  They are so sweet I feel like I am eating candy when I eat them and I could easily imagine them in a dessert.  No wonder tomatoes are actually fruit.

In our recent trip to Quebec we learned that tomatoes can actually be used to make wine.  We found it tasted more like grappa than wine, but still, it just goes to show how sweet these guys can be.

Speaking of sweet, we’ve been enjoying our fare share of Niagara peaches this summer and I finally decided it was high time I make a peach pie.  I’ve made plenty of pies from blueberry to apple, but I hadn’t yet tried peach.  So I rolled up my sleeves and got rollin’

I used this recipe, because I know I can always trust Smitten Kitchen.  I didn’t change it up all that much, but used cornstarch instead of the instant tapioca.  I also made sure the six cups of peaches were really heaping.  In fact, I suspect I used closer to seven.

I decided to go the lattice route, which really is quite lovely and is worth the extra minute or two.  With such beautiful peaches on hand, it seems a pity to completely cover them up.

All you need is some strips of dough.  You lay four down on the pie and then lift alternating ones and hold them back while you slip in the other strips perpendicular.  In this case, I used a crinkled edge, but a straight knife cut works fine too.

The final product was peach heaven!  I am already dreaming about making another one, before peach season draws to a close.

Since I followed the recipe pretty much exactly, I won’t bother reproducing it here, but I thought I might offer some advice on pie dough.  People seem to think it is an awful lot of work or that is doomed to failure, but it is really easy to master.

The key here is to keep your butter cold.  Unlike cakes and cookies where the butter is mixed thoroughly with the sugar, you want little bits of butter in your dough.  So whatever you don’t mash the butter so that it melts away into the flour.  Really, no mashing, okay?

The butter should be mixed with the flour first to create a rough pea-like texture.  Again, bits of butter preserved and not mashed away.  Then you slowly add the water to bring the mixture together.  In order, to prevent mashing the butter in, at this point, handling the dough only a little is best.

From here everything needs to be well chilled before rolling.  Again, we are trying to keep those bits of butter!  Even after rolling it is a good idea to chill the dough before baking it off.

Here are a few ways to help keep that butter cold when you are making the dough:

  • Freeze the stick of butter before and then grate it on a box grater.  Freeze the grated bits before tossing it with the flour with your hands.
  • Put an ice cube in the water before you add it
  • Use a metal bowl to mix the ingredients that has been chilled in the freezer for a minute or two prior to
  • if at any point it looks like the butter is getting soft – put the whole works back in the fridge for a bit

Once you get the hang of mixing in cold butter, a pie can come together in under an hour!  How can you resist?