HISTORIC HOMES OF THE BERKSHIRES
A deleted scene from
MURDER AT HIGHFIELDS: A Berkshires Cozy Mystery
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COUNTRY HOUSE CHRISTMAS MURDER: Berkshires Cozy Mystery
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WHY IS IT CALLED BOSTON COMMON?
From MURDER ON BOSTON COMMON: Massachusetts Cozy Mystery
Centuries ago, European farmers shared pastureland for their animals rather than having individually enclosed or fenced areas. As populations grew and small cottars replaced by herds of sheep, the common shrunk in some cases becoming the equivalent of the village green.
Early English settlers in Boston retained the concept of a common for joint pasturing but as the city and population grew, the common became smaller and devolved into a central park, the oldest public park in the United States.
It is still at the heart of Boston with iconic structures such as the Parkman Bandstand, constructed in 1908 and featured on the front cover of MURDER ON BOSTON COMMON. There are many recognizable monuments and statues, too, such as for the Union Army’s 54th Massachusetts, Make Way For Ducklings’ (as a child I met the author Robert McCloskey), Charles Sumner and the more recent MLK “Embrace.”
MORGAN’S COVE BEACH HOUSE PEACH PIE
FROM MURDER AT THE BEACH HOUSE: Berkshire Cozy Mystery
Aggie Burnside generously offered to retreat to the kitchen and make peach pies for the family at the beach house. There were a lot of peaches to use up, but she did it mostly to stay out of the way of an impending confrontation in the adjacent room.
She made the pie crusts from scratch and everyone who bakes has a special technique and preferred shortening to use. I’m taking the easy way out on that debate and suggest you either use your favorite two-crust recipe or bail and buy pre-made crusts instead.
Two piecrusts for a 9” pie
Enough peaches for about 5 cups of cut up peaches (5 or 6 large)
Juice of half a lemon
¼ c white sugar
¼ c brown sugar
4 Tablespoons corn starch
Pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt
Get your pie crusts ready and pre-heat the oven. (See below for temperatures.)
Working with one peach at a time, peel (yes, peel), pit and slice them into chunks and dip them in a bowl of water with the lemon juice and then into a colander to drain. Let them sit for about 20 minutes.
Mix the sugars, cornstarch and spices together then combine them into the drained peaches.
Pile the peaches into the bottom crust.
Put on the top crust and seal the edges by pressing them in a decorative way. Make a few vents in the top crust to release the steam as it cooks.
For extra credit, you can make a lattice top by cutting strips of the upper crust dough and weaving them into a pattern.
You may want to cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil or a pre-made crust protector.
Bake according to the idiosyncrasies of your oven:
If you have an oven that responds quickly and easily to adjusting temperature settings, then start at 425° for 10 minutes and reduce to 350° for 30 minutes.
If you have an oven that is slow in responding to temperature settings or you’re absent minded, set the temperature at 400° and bake for 40 minutes.
I’ve been informed that vanilla ice cream is de rigeur with peach pie.