summer in the south starts in may. maybe it’s due to climate change, or maybe georgia is forever young at heart and dreams of long days spent by the pool, drinking in the rays and sweet tea without a care in the world. as much as i, a nearly-native atlantan, complain about the heat–i complain about it almost as much as i complain about people still calling it “hotlanta”–i love summertime. the fireflies, the honeysuckle and fresh berries, and, lest i forsake my home state, the peaches. oh, the peaches.
our little home is situated in grant park, a historic district in downtown atlanta, and we have a sunday farmer’s market that is what dreams are made of. we walked over to it this weekend, and a palpable excitement was in the air. it was like the bees all buzzed and the trees all whispered, “peaches” as we neared, our anticipation building. we found the pearson farm booth (theirs are indisputably the best) and bought our first bag of the season. bliss.
my mind immediately began to think of the plethora of ways i could use the juicy gems, and i settled on a peach pie with a healthy twist. my husband and i recently finished a 28-day detox (as one must do when one spends a week eating all the bread and cheese france has to offer), and i wanted to keep the pie as guiltless as it is tasty. don’t be fooled, though, for this gluten, dairy, and refined sugar free treat tastes utterly indulgent. i continued to tell myself that when i, opting to instead make individual tartlets instead of a single pie, ate FOUR in one day. the tartlets feature georgia pecans, as well, to make for a lovely little homage to home.
the recipe is actually quite simple, and it is full of plant-based goodness. peaches have a diuretic effect on the bladder and kidneys, and they also improve digestion and skin health. dates, which are used in both the crust and filling, are fiber-rich, thus helping regulate blood sugar, and source magnesium, iron, potassium, and b vitamins. the pecan, hazelnut, and flax in the crust also offer good fats, vitamin b, iron, thiamine, linoleic and alpha-linoleic acids, lignan, and calcium. plus the hazelnut adds a warm, toasty, browned butter taste that will melt the heart of anyone experiencing a late winter. only a crazy person would not want a dessert filled with nutrients and flavor.
a few tips before we get started–a high-speed blender or food processor is key for making both the crust and the filling. i made my individual shells in a muffin tin and used the same tin for broiling the peaches. if you don’t have a pastry/piping bag, use a zipper storage bag and cut a small hole in one of its bottom watch it before you start baking because it is delightfully absurd.ginger could be substituted for dried ginger, just adjust the measurements to taste. lastly, this pie is named for a character from an unaired snl skit.
Old Prospector’s Peach Pie
makes roughly 6 tartlets
before you begin, soak 1 cup of raw cashews for 4+ hours and 120-125g of dried, pitted dates for at least 15 minutes (their weight will increase as they rehydrate). reserve the date-soaking water after draining. prep the separate components whenever you’d like, but the tartlets should be enjoyed immediately once filled.
for the crust:
- 35g dried, pitted dates
- 50g pecan meal
- 50g hazelnut meal
- 18g flax meal
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3/4 tsp dried ginger
- 3/4 tsp cardamom (optional)
- preheat oven to 300 degrees fahrenheit
- add nut meals to blender/food processor and pulse to break up any larger pieces or clumps
- add soaked dates and pulse to chop and combine. if the dough doesn’t begin to come together or the dates cause the blade to stick, add 1 tsp of reserved date water at a time (the dough should be sticky but not wet) and pulse until the dates and meal begin to mix
- add remaining ingredients and pulse again to incorporate them into the dough until the mixture is even
- divide dough evenly into 6 places in the muffin tin, then use your fingers to press it into thin shells
- bake for 18-22 minutes, checking for a dry, toasted shell. when done, set aside to cool
for the filling:
- 1 cup/140g soaked cashews
- 100g soaked dates
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp dried ginger
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- pinch of salt
- rinse and drain cashews, then add them and the remaining ingredients to the blender/food processor. add a couple spoonfuls of the reserved date water and pulse to combine. if the mixture is too thick to blend, add more date water, one spoonful at a time. the cashews won’t blend finely if you add too much water, so be slow and patient in this process. as it comes together, the cashew cream should have a thickness and texture similar to greek yogurt. once it has reached the desired consistency, set aside or add to pastry/storage bag.
- 3 small peaches, halved and pitted
- coconut sugar for dusting (optional)
- set oven on broil
- slice peach halves into rounds (see photo below) and place each half in its own spot in the muffin tin (after removing the shells, of course)
- sprinkle the top of each with coconut sugar and broil for 2-3 minutes
- using your piping bag, fill each shell 2/3 of the way with the cashew cream. create an outer ring of filling that comes close to the shell’s edge
- arrange peach halves however you’d like on top, gently pressing them into a bit of the filling
- dust again with coconut sugar if you’d like
- serve and enjoy. i may have used a fork for the photos, but i definitely ate them with my hands.