Peaches in the summertime, apples in the fall/If I can't have the one I love, I won't have none at all. That's one of my favorite, if not my favorite old-time lyric. My dad used to sing it to me before bed, in a modified version of Shady Grove (modified, because I cried when he said "I'm bound to go away," which he changed to "love you more each day!"). That memory aside, I like that phrase for its simplicity, its assertion of seasonal eating in a time when that was not a question; you ate fresh apples in the fall (and probably storage apples through the winter) and peaches all summer. Love could be fleeting and unreliable, but autumn apples and summer peaches were known entities.
This peach-pecan pie from Nancie McDermott via her friend Sandra Gutierrez seems to be the type of dessert that's just the thing for the tail end of peach season, as apples are starting to gain ground on farmers' market tables and the line of peach cartons starts to recede. I say this because of my association with pecans as a fall pie, and in reality, this pie can work on any summer day (let's be honest here--I made it in June!). But maybe it's the end of summer and you're sunburned and hot and just a bit tired of peaches, and you need a new take-- a tangy custard, a pecan crumble. Either way, this suits me as a perfect transition pie, with the pecan topping hinting at those summer nights when it starts to get a little cooler and you need to slip on an extra layer, and your mind starts drifting towards bonfires, and doughnuts, and well, apples...
Adapted from Nancie McDermott's Southern Pies
Nothing-in-the-House pie crust, halved
3 c. peeled & sliced fresh peaches (about 6 medium-sized peaches)
1 c. sugar
2/3 c. sour cream
3 egg yolks
2 Tblsp. all-purpose flour
For pecan-crumb top:
1/2 c. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. (2 oz.) chopped pecans
1. Prepare half of the Nothing-in-the-House pie crust as per the directions. Chill dough at least 1 hour. Once chilled, remove from before rolling out and fitting into a greased and floured 9-inch pie pan. Crimp edges decoratively.
1. Scatter peeled and sliced peaches over the bottom of the pie crust.
2. Using a whisk, combine sugar, sour cream, egg yolks, and flour in a medium bowl until everything is well-combined. Pour this thick and creamy sauce over the peaches.
3. Place the pie in the oven and bake until the custard is set and the crust is golden-brown, approximately 30 minutes.
1. Combine butter, sugar, flour, and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles peas and cornmeal. Stir in the chopped pecans and set aside.
2. Remove pie from the oven and scatter the pecan topping over the pie. Return pie to the oven and bake until the crumb top is golden brown, about 10-15 minutes more.
3. Place pie on a cooling rack and let cool to room temperature, approximately 45 minutes. Can be served warm or cold. Nancie and Sandra recommend cinnamon whipped cream, but vanilla (or cinnamon!) ice cream would also be delicious.