Every summer I put up about six quarts of this pie filling, a slight variation on my great-grandmother's recipe. It's just perfect in a one crust, two crust, lattice crust, or crumble topped pie. In fact, when I'm desperately wanting warm peachy wonderfulness in January, I'll pour the filling into a buttered baking dish and make a crisp topping or top with buttermilk biscuits. If you're not the preserving type, put the filling in a pie and bake it right away. That just might convince you to start canning. - MrsWheelbarrow —MrsWheelbarrow
Test Kitchen Notes
It's a great week when I get to test one of Mrs. Wheelbarrow's recipes! They’re always precise, well-written, and foolproof. While I waited for the water to boil to blanch the skins, I threw together a quick pastry crust using Merrill's crust recipe for the peach tart smackdown and let it rest in the fridge while I prepped the peaches and made the filling. The filling recipe comes together very quickly once the peaches are prepped. Tasting notes from six friends: "Wonderful"; "like an apple pie, but with peaches"; "not too sweet - definitely an adult peach pie"; "summer in my mouth". The warm spiciness is wonderful, but cinnamon was a tad more dominant than the cardamom. That could have been the spices I used, Saigon cinnamon can be strong. Next time, I will up the amount of cardamom -- and it does make a difference to grind the cardamom seeds fresh as the recipe suggests. Definitely a keeper. - Burnt Offerings —Burnt Offerings
Prepare a large bowl of cold water and acidulate (love that word) with 2 T fruit fresh or citric acid, or the juice of two lemons. If you are canning, this is a good time to prepare and start your boiling water bath, and sterilize quart jars, lids and rings.
Get a big pot of water boiling. Dip the peaches into the water for 30-60 seconds - depending on their size and how ripe they are. You do not want to cook them. Plunge the peaches into the bowl of cold water.
When all the peaches are blanched, make an X in the bottom and remove the peel in four easy pieces. Pit and then slice, or cut into chunks, depending on what you prefer in your pie. I usually make a couple of quarts with smaller chunks for hand pies and a couple of quarts with big slices for deep dish lattice pies.
In a heavy pot, like a Le Creuset, place the peaches and everything else except the cornstarch and water. Bring to a boil.
Mix the cornstarch with the water to make a slurry. Add to the boiling peach mixture, bring back to a boil for one minute.
Funnel the mixture into quart jars, leaving 1" headspace, bubble the filling, add lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes.
Your jars of peachy wonderfulness will last on the shelf for one year (supposedly. mine have never lasted that long.)
*Cardamom - I prefer to use the green pods, crush and remove the seeds and the crush the seeds before measuring. It makes for pretty flecks through the filling and the flavor is so much more dramatic.
Note: Some canners prefer to use ClearJel instead of cornstarch. Follow the instructions on the ClearJel package.