Start with ripe peaches, so soft your fingertips bruise them as you lift them out of the paper sack from the roadside stand. Find a big pot and blanch them till their fuzzed, dusky skins are all bright orange and sunset red. Take a moment to hold chilled blanched peaches in your hand, remember the skin soft as wet velvet, and that smell like sunshine and syrup filling up the kitchen. Peel them and make a stack, sticky sweet and blushing, smooth as blown glass bubbles.
For the filling brown sugar and a little bit of molasses. Mix in the lemon juice last and let the lemon oils from the bright dimpled skin stay on your hands, grandma always said it would make your skin soft. Sprinkle in cinnamon and nutmeg and breath in as you mix, let the smell of nutmeg bite at the back of your throat.
Pit your peaches, remember the difference between the smooth orangey outsides and the bloody veins at the center. Get sticky, yellow juice all down to your elbows. Lick it off when no one’s looking. Mix the fruit into the spices with your hands, you’ll thank me when you get to taste the peach syrup lining your palms.
Add an extra three tablespoons of butter to the crust because diets are stupid anyway. Pour a dash of vanilla extract because you’re feeling decadent. Bake until peaches are bubbling through a flaky brown crust and the whole house smells like cinnamon. Enjoy with vanilla ice cream melted on top, make sure it’s the same brand of vanilla your mom bought for hot summer days, because trust me it will taste better than the $12 container that hardly holds 6 oz but has “real Mexican vanilla beans”.