After my Grandma Doty died suddenly in 1996, my mother and her four sisters took over the care of my Papa Doty. This was nothing he requested of them, or required. They were just bound and determined to do it.
So, they fluttered around him, fussing over him for the last twelve years of his life (he left us on October 27, 2008). They would each call him on a certain day of the week. This schedule had to be organized due to his hectic social life. He was busier than people half his age.
The youngest daughter, my Aunt M, lived the closest. As in so many families, the one that lives the closest seems to end up with the most responsibility. It isn't fair, but the other four sisters lived so far away, daily contact was simply impossible.
M was the one that got the heart rattling calls. Papa stayed with her after his shoulder injury. He would join the rest of the family for "dinner" midday each Sunday. She would pay his bills while he was out of town for extended periods.
My favorite part of their relationship was the efficient system they had worked out. Aunt M, bless her heart, has a full-time job as a social worker in a school not too far from Papa Doty's house.
Over time, she started leaving things in her car for him to pick up (he had a set of keys to her car). In return, he would do the same. He would leave his laundry each week for her. She would return his washed clothes and linens. She would leave him a loaf of homemade bread. He would leave her magazines she would be interested in reading. She would leave him a peach pie.
Papa loved homemade peach pie, so Aunt M made it for him when peaches were in season.
I know Papa would have loved this recipe. He would have enjoyed the novelty of baking the pie in a cast iron skillet. I think he would have liked the addition of the apricots.
His absence is still felt so deeply. I know Aunt M feels it more than the rest of us. I am so pleased that he met my children and my husband, but I will always miss him.
This one is for you Papa!
9" double pie crust, prepared
Use your favorite recipe here. Everyone has one, don't they? Hey, I don't even have a problem with you buying pie crust at the store. To each his own. I know, some people (Mom, this means you) just don't do pie crust. I don't blame you. If everything doesn't go right, it can turn into a nightmare.
2 16-ounce bags frozen peaches, partially thawed, about 6 cups sliced peaches
1 cup chopped dried apricots
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons coarse sparkling sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 425°.
Coarsely chop the semi-thawed peaches; you can use the food processor, but I just chopped them with a knife.
Mix the peaches with the rest of the filling ingredients, stirring until well blended.
Roll half of the crust into a 13" circle, and lay it in the pie pan or cast iron skillet.
Spoon the filling into the crust.
Roll the remaining crust, and lay it on top of the filling. Press the edges together, and crimp the edges together.
Brush the crust with milk, and sprinkle with coarse sparkling sugar. Cut several slits in the top to vent.
Bake the pie for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°, and bake the pie for an additional 30 minutes, until the edge of the crust is brown. Cover the edge with a crust protector, or with strips of aluminum foil, to prevent over-browning.
Bake the pie for 15-20 minutes more, until the top crust is browned and the filling is bubbly.
Remove the pie from the oven, and allow it to cool completely, preferably overnight before cutting.
Yield: 9" pie, 8-10 servings
Adapted from King Arthur Flour.