Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Gaze at those gorgeous displays of fresh peaches at farmers markets, and you can’t help fantasizing. These are the peaches that drive even the most reluctant cooks to the kitchen.

You imagine how delightful it would be to make a fresh peach pie. And wouldn’t your Two’s Company partner be surprised — perhaps even seduced — by your efforts.

Then reality sets in. Either making pie crusts isn’t in your set of skills, or you don’t have the time. Don’t let either limitation destroy your vision.

Instead of making a pie crust from scratch, substitute a package of refrigerated pastry dough. You’ll find folded unbaked pastry in the refrigerated section of your supermarket.

It may not be as flaky and tender as the one in your dreams, but I will show you how to disguise its shortcomings in the recipe that follows.

First, use a combination of peaches, walnuts and sugar for the filling.

Then slather on a warm custard sauce. With the sweet peach and nut inside and the luscious cream covering, who will worry about whether the pie crust is homemade?

If you’re undone by plums, by all means substitute them, using one heaping cup of sliced fruit.

Peach pocket pie with custard sauce

1 9-inch refrigerated unbaked pastry dough

3 tablespoons chopped walnuts

3 tablespoons sugar

teaspoon cinnamon

1 large peach, peeled and diced

Custard sauce (recipe follows)

Unfold pastry dough and place on a work surface. Cut in quarters. Combine walnuts, sugar and cinnamon.

Sprinkle half the sugar mixture over each of 2 quarters, leaving a -inch border. Add half of diced peaches to each of 2 quarters, leaving a -inch border. Top with the 2 plain dough quarters.

Press edges with the tines of a fork to seal. Cut 2 slashes in each pie for steam.

Place pies on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in 350-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until pastry is golden and fruit is tender.

Prepare custard sauce while pie bakes. To serve, place 1 pie on each of 2 plates and spoon on warm custard sauce. Makes 2 servings.


⅓ cup sugar

1 cup half-and-half

2 eggs

teaspoon vanilla

Combine sugar and half-and-half in a small saucepan over low heat.

Simmer 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Beat eggs in a small bowl. Pour a small amount of the half-and-half into the eggs and beat well.

Pour egg mixture back into the saucepan.

Cook over low heat until slightly thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

Note: Leftover custard sauce can be saved in a covered container in the refrigerator up to 3 days.


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