Charlie and Mary had a couple of peach trees on their property, so peaches were plentiful every summer. In the spring I’d sometimes help Charlie dust the trees with sevin, but usually he didn’t want me to get it all over me. And sometimes they would try and net the trees too when the peaches started to grow to keep the birds away, but if that didn’t work, Mary would tie aluminum pie pans around on some of the branches and they would be swinging in the breeze, catching the light, and making a little tink sound as they swung around.
Their grandkids would usually visit for a couple of weeks each summer and we’d play out in the back yard all afternoon. If we found a few ripe peaches, we’d pick ’em off and wash ’em in the rain barrel behind the smokehouse. We’d just take a big bite, skin and all, and the juices would run down our chins and down to our elbows. They had two barrels there to catch rain water off the smokehouse roof and would use it to water the garden and flowers. It was always so cool, even in the heat of summer, so sometimes we’d just run up to the barrels and dip our arms all the way down in it as far as we could. We did that too when we finished a ripe peach to get all the sticky juice off our arms. One time we thought it would be fun to go swimming, so we took turns climbing in and dunking all the way down. Mostly though we would get a bucket brigade going with watering cans and dip the can all the way down to fill it up and head to the garden.
Mary made lots of peach cobbler every summer. Each night their grandkids were there, Mary would have some dessert made or a snack to have late in the evening. When the peaches would start coming in, I’d help her can a couple of dozen jars at least. When they were cooled, we’d load up our arms and head out the back door, around the house, and down the cellar steps. I think I’ve talked about it before, but when I think about that cellar, I can still smell the earthy aroma in the cool air. It could be the hottest day you’ve ever seen, but when you went down in the cellar, I doubt it ever got above 70 degrees. We would line the jars up on a shelf, moving any older jars to the front, and then make our way back to the kitchen for more till they were all put up.
Mary also made dumplin’s. She made an incredible pie crust, which she taught me to make. I don’t know if mine are ever as good as hers, but I try. She would use crisco and when they came out with a butter flavored one, she started using it. That’s what I have written down in my notes from where she taught me to make pie dough. I prefer to use butter today myself, but the rest is what she taught me.
Its peach season and I ended up with 3 peaches on my counter this past weekend that just needed a few days to ripen. Last night they were just right. I had some pie dough wrapped up in the freezer, so I got a couple of rounds out and let ’em thaw, rolled ’em out to about 12 inches across and cut 6 wedges out of each. I peeled and cut the peaches into quarters, rolled each in a wedge of dough and lined ’em up in a pan. I made a simple sauce out of some leftover peach syrup I had in the fridge. I made my mother-in-law a peach cobbler last week from a couple of cans of peaches I put up last year, so I used some of it and added a little flavored moonshine, butter, and sugar and brought it to a boil for a minute. The moonshine is some I got to cook with from Old Forge Distillery, so I like to experiment with it. Its called Pumpkin Roll and the flavor of it goes really well with peaches.
Peach Dumplin’s with Shine Sauce
3 ripe peaches or 2-3 cans of peach halves in syrup
1/2 cup butter
1 cup peach syrup (if peaches are in heavy syrup, cut sugar in half) or (substitute syrup with 1 cup citrus flavored soda or ginger ale)
1/2 cup Old Forge Distillery Pumpkin Roll Moonshine
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
Pie dough for 2 pie crusts or 2 bought pie dough rounds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Peel and pit the peaches and cut each into 4 pieces. If using canned, reserve the juice and cut halves in two. Use enough to get 12 pieces.
In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the peach syrup (or soda), moonshine, white sugar, and light brown sugar. Cook on medium high heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat.
Roll out the pie dough to about 12 inches and cut each into 6 wedges. Place a peach quarter on the wide end and roll to the point. Tuck the sides under and place in a greased baking dish.
When all dumplings are in the baking dish, pour the sauce over the dumplings. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown on top and sauce has thickened.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Optional, splash with your favorite Old Forge Distillery cream liqueur.
*Note: you can substitute Pumpkin Roll Moonshine with Apple Pie, Cinnamon, Vanilla Bean, Banana’s Foster, or Oatmeal Cookie. All flavors pair well with peaches.