Having written about the 1942 Modern Family Cook Book by Meta Given, of course I had to try out a recipe right away. I pondered the options. So many choices. There are over a thousand recipes in this book. Braised lettuce? Broiled salt mackerel? Lemon jelly roll? French-fried toast sticks? Upside-down meat loaves? Cottage pudding? The world was my escalloped oyster!
Watching Ellen, considering my options.
Then I meditated upon The Pie Effect and the division of pie according to Meta Given. Morgan is still out of town. That means I am the only one here for dessert. If a family of five must divide a pie into five slices…. A family of six into six…. A family of seven into seven…. And so on….
Then that can only mean…
If I make a pie…. And I’m all by myself….
I HAVE TO EAT THE WHOLE PIE!
And my choice was obvious, so I flipped straight to the pastry section.
I love Meta Given.
I decided to go with the tantalizingly titled Peach Blossom Pie. Because I liked the name. And because it’s peach time at the farmers markets.
3 or 4 peaches, depending on size
unbaked 9-inch pastry shell
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
few grains salt
few drops almond extract, if desired
Peel peaches, cut in halves, and remove stones. Arrange, cut side up, in the unbaked pie shell. (These are the instructions, straight from the book, with my notes.) My note: Really? We’re putting peach halves in the pie? That just sounds so unappealing to me. Big lumps of peaches that will have to be cut up later as you attempt to inhale the pie. Maybe the big lumps represent the “blossom” part of the pie, but I just didn’t like that idea. I decided to slice the peaches and scatter them evenly over the bottom of the pastry shell. Meta might not approve, but it just seemed more attractive and more appetizing to me. And the better to inhale the pie later. I used four medium peaches.
Beat eggs well, add milk, and stir in sugar, flour, and salt, which have been mixed together; add the almond extract if it is used. My note: A few grains of salt? I’ve seen recipes call for a dash or a pinch, but a few grains? That seems somewhat picky and a little tedious. I went with a pinch.
Pour over the peach halves. My note: I sprinkled grated fresh nutmeg over the top after pouring in the custard mixture.
Bake in a moderately hot oven (400-degrees) for 10 minutes; then reduce heat to moderately slow (325-degrees) and continue baking 30-40 minutes longer, or until a sharp knife inserted in the custard comes out clean. My note: I always bake pies on the bottom oven rack. This guarantees a well-baked crust and avoids over-browning the top edges. Also, it took me a good hour of baking to get the custard to set.
Serve warm or cold, with whipped cream if desired. 5 or 6 servings. My note: Or 1.
This really is a beautiful pie, and a beautiful twist on the basic custard pie. I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t substitute any fruit you like for the peaches. Blackberry Blossom Pie. Apple Blossom Pie. Cherry Blossom Pie. Etc. Yum. If you already have a favorite custard pie recipe, you could easily insert this idea into your favorite recipe as well.