Georges’ “Peach Wonderful”

DSCN2637 pie on plate

This is such a great peach pie recipe. It has the real no-foolin’ flavor of a fresh peach pie that you just can’t fake. It’s custard-y, but has no eggs. It’s not tricky. And you can make it with just four or five cups of fresh peaches.

I got the recipe, the so-called “Peach Wonderful,” from my friend, Georges Spunt, who grew up wealthy in the International Settlement of 1930’s Shanghai. I met him when we both worked for the same company in San Francisco where his office was a crossroads for wit and gossip, oddballs of every stripe and bored employees. There, he held court with stories of life in Shanghai, including but not limited to social encounters with Mussolini’s son-in-law, Anna Pavlova, Douglas Fairbanks, and boatloads of  “…impoverished nobility, real and spurious.”

Georges was the author of two cookbooks – the hilarious and elegantly written Memoirs and Menus (“…the bordellos of Shanghai were run by madams of impeccable taste and judgment.”) and The Step-by-Step Chinese Cookbook – as well as  A Place in Time, a wonderful memoir about growing up in Shanghai in the years before World War II. He may or may not have developed this recipe himself, but in any case had annotated it over the years to reflect his own evolving tastes and preferences. It is reproduced here exactly as it he gave it to me. My cook’s notes follow in italics; don’t ignore them.

Georges Spunt’s books are available online through Amazon.com.

Georges’ Peach Wonderful
one 9-inch single crust peach pie

  • 2/3-cup sugar
  • 1/3–cup flour
  • 4 to 5 cups sliced fresh peaches (only fresh will do)
  • one drop only almond extract
  • one unbaked 9-inch pie crust
  1. Mix all ingredients together*
  2. Pour 1/2-pint heavy cream over all
  3. BAKE in a 350F oven until done, 30-40 minutes
  4. CHILL

*Cook’s notes:

pie collage

  • Slice the peaches into two tablespoons of lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.
  • Stir the peaches and the sugar/flour mixture plus two teaspoons of cornstarch together in a large, microwaveable bowl until smooth and completely combined; then stir in one cup of heavy cream.
  • Microwave the mixture, stirring at 2-minute intervals until it begins to thicken, about 8 minutes. This may also be done in a pan on a stove top. Without this step, the baking time is not long enough to properly thicken the custard and cook the peaches.
  • Pour into a pie shell – you may add a streusel topping at your discretion – and bake as directed.
  • This pie continues to thicken as it cools; you won’t be able to slice it until it is completely chilled, about two hours.
  • pie collage 2