Even as little tow-head, I had a very special relationship with my Grandma Frieda.
Because she lived just outside San Francisco and we lived in Utah, we only saw her twice a year, sometimes three. But the times we did see her, either at our house or hers, it was all about spending time with her granddaughters. She taught us old old German children’s songs (hoppe hoppe reiter!), taught us the finer points of eating cottage cheese with jam on toast, and squired us in her 1968 VW Beetle that she and Grandpa brought over from Germany up and down El Camino Real to Safeway for treats.
We didn’t let the distance stop our relationship from growing because my grandma and I were die hard pen pals. My grandmother and I wrote letters back-and-forth, forth-and-back. She had the most beautiful penmanship, unlike any I’d ever seen thanks to her schooling as a youth in Germany, and no matter how mundane, she was always keen on receiving my letters.
I’d tell her about the weather, or my latest soccer game or that we gave the dog a bath. Whatever the topic was that either of us wrote about didn’t really matter. It’s the fact that we wrote one another at least once a month, and the anticipation of getting that familiar looking addressed envelope in the mail. That was always the most exciting part.
I’m trying to instill that same love and connection in my daughter for her grandparents. But it’s not easy.
It’s a lot harder today because letter writing just doesn’t happen as much anymore. It’s more about the immediacy of texting and seeing each other in person thanks to FaceTime. But I’m okay with that. Because no matter if it’s with a pen and paper or a device and a video, it’s really just about keeping in touch.
And that makes it even more special when Smudge gets one-on-one time with her grandmothers, like cooking lessons from her Grammy Pat.
I talk a lot on the blog about the family heritage recipes that I treasure from my grandmother, my mom and dad, uncles and even my sisters-in-laws. So to be able to give that same experience to my daughter, and have her cook side-by-side with her grandma is a real treat.
Smudge’s middle name is in honor of her two adoring grandmothers. My mom’s name is Patti and my mother-in-law’s name is Pat. So it was a no-brainer to kill two birds with one stone and give her the middle name Patricia, just like the grandmas who love her so.
She’s a lucky duck. Whether it’s learning to cook, or learning to sew or going out for a shake after cheering her on in soccer, basketball or one of her school performances, she’s lucky (and we all are) that we live close enough that her grandmas can show her their love in person.
Letters mean a lot, but they aren’t nearly as valuable as Grandma’s hug.
About the recipe
This recipe is another in the monthly #eatseasonal round-up of recipes my friend Becky of The Vintage Mixer has inspired thanks to her Seasonal Produce Guide. In my opinion, September is the ultimate month to eat seasonal. You almost can’t escape it, and these babies couldn’t be simpler to make. And so we did, twice in one week.
While you are always welcome to use homemade pie dough (this recipe is one of my favorites!) we used the store bought version—I use Pillsbury rather than the store brand, it simply bakes up better. My mother in law, a great scratch cook, says that’s perfectly acceptable.
My MIL used a glass bowl about 6 inches in diameter to make the circles out of the pie dough. Simply place the rim of the bowl on the pie dough and shimmy it until it cuts through like a cookie cutter. She got 3 hand pies per box of pie crust.
Peaches are at their peak right now, and raspberries are so sweet you can eat them like candy. Depending on the sweetness of your fruit, you may want to add a little more or less sugar to taste.
The first time we made these we forgot to add thickener. Story of my life. The second time my MIL added tapioca for the thickener but you could use cornstarch or even a little flour if you’d like. Or leave it out and see what happens. Ours turned out really great even without the thickener the first time. Go figure.
My MIL’s secret to a perfectly golden crust is a mixture of milk and cream. I always thought you should use egg white, but it gives it a darker gleam. The dairy mix makes them simply golden. Then sprinkle them with crystal sugar and you are in like Flynn. I buy my decorative or crystal sugar from the bakery counter at my local grocery store. I’ve yet to see it sold in the aisles, but they’re usually pretty generous when I ask with a big smile on my face.
- 4-5 large peaches
- 8 ounces fresh raspberries
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup tapioca or cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 refrigerated pie crusts (1½ boxes)
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 tablespoon cream
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Peel the skins from the peaches and remove the pits. Cut into thick slices and mix with the raspberries in a large bowl. Add the sugar, tapioca, butter and almond extract and stir to coat.
- Roll out the pie crusts and use a bowl about 6 inches across to cut the prepared crust into smaller discs.
- Scoop ⅓ cup or so of the raspberries and peach mixture onto the cut discs to one side of teh disc, leaving the edges clear. Lightly brush the edges of the circles with water, fold in half and crimp the edges with the tines of a fork.
- Transfer the hand pies to a baking sheet linked with parchment paper. Mix the milk and cream together and lightly brush the tops of each pie with it and sprinkle with decorative sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crusts are golden.
- Serve immediately or eat at room temperature.
As we have for the past year, Becky has amassed a group of us who are posting #eatseasonal recipes today. Some are some are sweet, some are savory and they’re all in season now. They’re all good and they’re all seasonal and are listed below. Follow the #eatseasonal hashtag on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to discover more seasonal eats.
Shredded Hoisin-Blackberry Chicken Tacos with Crunchy Slaw by Floating Kitchen
Roasted Red Pepper and Sweet Potato Soup by Cafe Johnsonia
Pumpkin Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce by Climbing Grier Mountain
Zucchini Banana Brownies by Kitchen Confidante
Pesto Chicken Stuffed Spaghetti Squash by Cookin’ Canuck
Classic Carrot Cake by Vintage Mixer
Easy Roasted Vegetable Spaghetti by Simple Bites
Peach and Arugula Pizza by Letty’s Kitchen
Thai Carrot Cucumber Noodle Salad with Peanut Lime Dressing by Flavor the Moments
Slow Cooker Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry by Well Plated
Creamy Tomatillo Ranch Dressing by Mountain Mama Cooks
Have a great day guys, and get in the kitchen to cook something good!
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