My mom is a pie maker. I’ve come to believe that certain people are just born pie makers, and my mom is one of them. (I, however, am not–guess I didn’t inherit the pie gene.) Summer fruit pies are my mom’s real specialty–specifically, peach pies.
As luck would have it, one of my dad’s specialties is gardening–specifically, growing peaches. This is what his peach trees look like in late summer–just loaded. You can actually smell the peaches from several feet away. (I can smell them from several months away, just looking at this photo. )
So when the peaches are ripe and ready, my mom starts making pie. But there’s only so much pie you can eat, even if you make a total pig of yourself (which we do). So to use up all those beautiful peaches, my mom makes homemade frozen pies.
Look at that beautiful little pie! Believe it or not, the process of making your own frozen pies is incredibly simple (at least, it is if you’re a pie maker). There are really no tricks! My mom says she makes the pies just as she normally would, and then, once they’re fully assembled and still raw, she lightly wraps each one in plastic wrap, and puts them in the freezer till they’re frozen solid. Then she takes them back out and wraps them more securely for long-term storage.
Mini pies (seen above) get wrapped in one layer of plastic wrap, then vacuum-sealed using a food saver. Full-size pies are too large to fit in the food saver bags, so those get wrapped tightly in plastic wrap followed by a layer of foil, and finally a layer of freezer paper. (Both styles of wrapping produce beautifully preserved pies, so either method seems to work great.) Also, the pies stay in their pans while frozen.
Then, just wait a few months till the holidays are over and all the holiday goodies are long gone, when the dreary winter days feel like they will last forever and we will never see the sun nor a ripe, warm peach again. Then, and only then, it’s time to break into your stash of frozen summer pies. My mom’s method for baking them is to take a pie out of the freezer, unwrap it, cover the edges of the crust with strips of tin foil, and put it in the oven at 350 degrees (with the pie still frozen). Then bake till the center is baked through, the fruit is soft, the crust begins to brown, and juices start to bubble about (taking the foil off for the last 15 minutes or so). This will take about an hour and a half total.
A tip from my mom: we also love peach cobbler, so sometimes she freezes the sliced peaches and other cobbler filling ingredients (sugar, etc) all mixed up in a freezer bag. Then in the winter she thaws that mixture in a baking pan and adds the cobbler topping (made fresh when you’re ready to bake), and bakes it all up. This is also especially delicious.
Another tip: this whole process also works great for apple pies.
So today we’re spending the day watching it snow flurry, knitting next to the fire… and eating summer pie. Fresh summer pie in the winter! One of the most awesome treats ever, and local food at its best. Also, my parents rock.
(And yes, I ate pie with ice cream for breakfast. Don’t judge me. You only live once!)