Long, languid summer afternoons are quickly becoming fond memories as I find myself surrounded by textbooks and a mountain of responsibilities. For many reasons, I wish I could go back to those summer days, despite the heat swells that kept my apartment at a blistering degree. The transition between seasons always feels unexpected to me; no matter how much my brain anticipates its arrival, my body falls into a state of confusion. The hot air from summer days still plagues me as I walk around sweating in a pair of blue jeans and a sweater, questioning why I expected cooler temperatures just because the routines of fall had arrived.
Between the transitions, I get caught between the seasons, wearing skirts in chilled temperatures and turning on the oven when the warmth of summer hasn't gone.
Part of me is still drawn to summer, as I buy fresh berries for my breakfast, purposefully overlooking the rising price of the fruit. I bought my last bag of cherries for the season at the market last week, the moment hitting me unusually hard as I realized summer was truly coming to an end.
My sister, on the other hand, has been ready for fall for the last month. Ahead of the game, her new fall wardrobe has already been purchased, hanging in the closet as she anxiously awaits the temperatures to drop. Perhaps most of all, she has been looking forward to the flavors of autumn. Filling my inbox with pumpkin recipes I must make for her, she can't stop talking about eating her weight in pumpkin cheesecake.
In a way, the two of us complement one another—as I grasp onto the remains of summer, she is fully embracing the spice of fall. Together we are helping each other through the transition of the seasons.
Last weekend, I was trying to find a recipe that reflected this passage of weather and life. The morning was unusually cool and overcast, as I snuggled into the couch with a blanket around my shoulders and warm socks covering my toes. For the first time in months, the temperature had dropped in my apartment and the thought of turning on the oven finally seemed like a perfect idea. After months of looking for no-bake recipes or recipes with limited baking, I missed my oven and the warmth it could bring into bodies and homes.
I turned it on, rolled out pie dough on the counter top, and somewhere along the way this pie took form. The fresh fruit of summer and the spices of fall combine to create a pie for transitions. As if to live up to its purpose, the weather began to clear while the pie cooled on top of the oven. Just as I cut into the first piece, I heard a splash from someone jumping into a nearby pool.
While the weather (or your heart) may be between seasons, this pie will help to bridge the gap, creating a space where you can enjoy a slice of both at precisely the same time.
Vanilla Bean Cardamom Peach Pie is bright and fragrant, with a sugar sprinkled crust to hold in the flavor. Fresh, ripe peaches combine with aromatic cardamom and a hint of vanilla, baking in the oven until the fruit softens and bubbles in its own juices. You may choose to use whichever pie crust recipe you prefer (I've provided a link to my favorite below), but as long as it bakes up golden and flaky, you can do no wrong. Whether you are still longing for summer or waiting to embrace the flavors of fall, this pie will be suited just for you.
Vanilla Bean Cardamom Peach Pie
Yields 9-inch pie
1 recipe for a double crusted 9-inch pie crust dough, chilled (such as this recipe)
6 large (7 medium or 8 small) fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar, packed
1 vanilla bean, halved with the seeds removed (or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste)
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar, for sprinkling
In a large bowl, combine peach slices and lemon juice. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, vanilla bean seeds, ground cardamom, cornstarch, and salt. Sprinkle over the peaches and mix until evenly coated. Set aside once more.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the chilled pie crust dough into a 14-inch round. Wrap dough lightly around rolling pin and transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Gently press dough into the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim the dough to allow a 1-inch overhang. Add the pie filling.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (191 degrees C).
With the remaining dough, roll it out into a rectangle, keeping the thickness the same as the bottom crust. Using a pizza cutter, or a long knife, cut the dough into 1-inch thick strips and arrange in a lattice pattern on top of the pie (Deb at Smitten Kitchen has an excellent tutorial on how to create a lattice pattern if you are unsure where to begin. Do check this out!). Cut off any excess from the strips and pinch together the top and bottom pie dough between your thumb and forefinger to make a sealed edge around the rim.
Brush the pie crust with the heavy cream and sprinkle on the granulated sugar. Bake the pie for 50-60 minutes, or until the pie crust is browned and the fruit is bubbly. If the pie crust should brown before the pie is finished baking, cover the edges with aluminum foil to prevent further browning. Remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool for 2-3 hours before cutting into it. The pie needs a long time to cool down and it cuts best near room temperature when the juice from the peaches thickens.
Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or simply on its own.