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What’s Cookin’ at Callie’s Cabin: Sugar pie, honey bunch

Cal Orey

On Monday afternoon, after walking the dogs, and in-between working on my honey bee book, ordering wood (I’m sensing it’s going to be cold fall/winter) and preparing my October “Earth Changes” column, I whipped up a honey peach pie. I made this Deep South old-fashioned dish with a edgy twist – honey and white peaches – in the presence of my two fun-loving Brittanys (the double-trouble sweet dog duo) who simply love it when mom’s cooking.

This time around in the kitchen, Seth, my brainiac 4-year-old, put his dainty paws up on the kitchen countertop, and like a crafty coyote, almost snagged the pie in progress. “Drop it!” I said in my best calm, assertive “Dog Whisperer” type voice. He responded to my command on cue. The uncooked sliced peaches and pie dough didn’t plop on the floor like a minor earthquake. My pooch looked at me with his dark honey-colored eyes and said in dog-ese: “Whew! That was a close one.” The pie survived a potential shake-up.

This semi-homemade recipe is easy as making an all-American apple pie. I tried my hands at a lattice crust because it’s different: a challenge. Peach pie is very low in cholesterol, and has some protein, iron, calcium, vitamin A and C and fresh fruit and unlike cream pies are much lower in calories. What’s more, replacing refined sugar – the white stuff – with a bit of honey will lower the high sugar content.

7-8 fresh white peaches, peel and slice in small wedges

1 tablespoon fresh lemon

1/4 cup orange blossom honey

1/2 cup white sugar

1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/3 cup tablespoons whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons Mediterranean style butter

Two store-bought crusts

Peel, slice peaches and place in a bowl. Drizzle with lemon juice. In another bowl, combine dry mixture. Mix with fruit and adds small pieces of butter. Place in pie crust; place the other crust on a plate, cut dough into 1-inch wide strips. Make lattice crust, place horizontal strips first, then vertical. Flute edges. Bake pie in 350 degrees oven for about 50 minutes until peaches are tender, bubbly and crust is golden brown. Cool. Serves eight.

Keep pie crust in freezer until ready to use. Slicing a store-bought pie crust into lattice strips is easy. Bake one pie crust at 425 degrees for 10 minutes to prevent a soggy texture. Cover baking pie with foil for an even-baked crust. Use more than less cinnamon and nutmeg for a spicy kick. Use a premium pie crust. Baking in high altitude can take longer for a pie to bake. Orange blossom is an all-purpose sweet and mild honey with a slight citrusy flavor – a fine choice for pies.

Speaking of my sweet, when I cut a slice of fresh pie and paired it with a cup of organic milk, my cat Kerouac paid me a visit. He had me with his black and white paw on my hand. I decoded his meow: “That looks good. I’d like a taste.” I obliged. It was a cat-human bonding moment. Sweet companion animal moments are like that – sweet. And you’ll like the honey peach pie. It’s a comfort dessert to help you feel comfy as we make the transition from Tahoe’s warm summer to a crisp fall.

Healthy latte for autumn lovers: Recently, a dear friend of mine, an octogenarian Italian bakeress with a heart of gold, from a long line of well-known olive oil producers, told me about vanilla coffee. Then at Safeway it was fate that a package of this java found me in the coffee-tea aisle. The brew is simple: 1/4 cup brewed vanilla coffee, 3/4 cup 2 percent low-fat organic milk (heat in the microwave). Try a dollop of whipped cream on top (or not) with a dash of cinnamon. It’s a perfect beverage to sip before work or play.

– Cal Orey is an author and journalist. Her books include “The Healing Powers” series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate) published by Kensington. Her website is http://www.calorey.com.


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