mennonites, sweetness.

Because some friends have just planned a vacation that will take them through Pennsylvania Dutch country, I've been thinking about Mennonites a bit lately.

Back in 1979 or something (?), my family moved to Harleysville, PA, a tiny (population 8,000) and relatively remote rural suburb of Philadelphia. Maybe it wasn't considered a suburb then, but based on recent median family incomes, I can imagine that some people who work in Philadelphia are living out there these days, I don't know.

I don't remember everything about our time in Harleysville, but it's about as far back as I can go and still come up with 10 or so vividish memories. I remember my dad singeing off his eyebrows and arm hair while using a flammable liquid to incinerate a pile of dead leaves in our front yard. He became a fireball. We all thought he was dead for sure.

I remember a female friend on whom I had a tremendous crush getting pregnant in 1981 (making her, what? 13 years old? No joke). I remember thoroughly misunderstanding the lyrics to "Waiting on a Friend" and somehow connecting them to this dastardly, crushing situation.

I also possibly remember my mom briefly briefing me about the Mennonites, something like "they're a bit different", but don't think I had any real idea of what specifically might be different. Appliance use. Maybe headgear.

Turns out the house next door was chock full o' Mennonites, a lovely woman named Eleanor, her constantly-gone truck driver husband Dick, and their two (I'm searching for adjectives here) healthily teenage daughters, Suzie and Debbie, who etched themselves indelibly into my young and malleable brain via a series of mechanisms for which I am eternally grateful.


Peaches? Were we talking about peaches? The thin thin line that connects all of this is that, in addition to everything else that was unforgettable about the women next door, Eleanor made incredible pies. Her cherry and apple were great, but the pie that I'm thinking of specifically is a sour cream and peach pie, and I can still see the gleam she'd get in her eye whenever she'd ask me if I wanted a piece.

Of course I always did. After the first couple of pies she could see that I was hopelessly hooked, and she'd then start telling me a few days in advance, "I'm thinking about making pie this week, what kind do you want?"

My point is, to this day I rarely see a peach without thinking about this pie.
I'm wondering if this recipe, which I adapted from here, is something like what she used to do.


sour cream and peach pie.


pastry for a 9-inch pie
7 or 8 peaches, pitted and halved
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream

Place peach halves tightly together in the unbaked crust. Beat eggs, add sugar and sour cream, mix thoroughly. Pour mixture over peaches and bake at 220C for 15 minutes and then at 175C for 35 minutes. Cool. Eat.



Zora said...

Whoa--that looks seriously good. Will definitely try, as we're getting our Jersey peaches right about now.

Am I supposed to be leering at the phrase "a series of mechanisms"? It sounds euphemestic...

Zora said...

Er, euphemistic.

MEM said...

Leering is the least you should be doing. You should be covering your eyes and ears, possibly more...I can barely believe I said anything about it...

MEM said...

I'm blushing, in fact.

Vicky said...

And besides, peaches are undeniably sexy, in a TS Eliot sort of way...

I am about to make Heston Blumenthal's lavender-poached peaches... I hope they come out as well as your pie!

MEM said...

We were just talking about lavender and peaches tonight, actually: we made the sour cream peach pie. And while it surely does remind me of sex--I mean Mennonites--the 2009 version could use just a tiny bit of brightness. Maybe lavender we said. Or basil. Lemon and thyme? We weren't even high.