May 02 2021

Lowcountry Peaches and Cream Pie 

Peaches and cream pie is a staple in southern cuisine, but did you know it originated from the Gullah people? The Gullah people were enslaved West Africans that were brought to America for their incredible rice-growing skills.

They arrived during the 1700s and worked the indigo, cotton, and rice plantations in Edisto Island and the other Sea Islands. They populated the coastal plantations that were isolated from the mainland. During the rainy months of the year, the plantation owners would leave the Gullah people stranded on the island by themselves and return later in the year. 

During this time frame, the Gullah were able to stay true to their African traditions and do the best they could with what they had at the time. Most slave quarters only had one pot for cooking. This is why many of the delectable Gullah dishes can be cooked in one pot or one skillet. 

They continued using their traditional cooking methods used in Africa to combine flavors to create tasty dishes to enjoy. The Gullah people often had to stretch the ingredients among many people, so their recipes can be doubled and tripled with ease. 

South Carolina is known for having the juiciest, sweetest, and most delicious peaches. The Gullah people also had access to these tasty fruits as well as others. They used these mouthwatering fruits in recipes which include their famous peaches and cream pie. 

Their creation of the ultimate peach pie is still famous in Edisto Island and can be found at local restaurants today. The great thing is you don’t have to live in Edisto to enjoy this delectable pie. You can bake this amazing pie at home and tune into the flavors of the Gullah people. Are you ready to enjoy this historical pie? Let’s get started!  

Here’s what you need:           

                                                                         

Ingredients: 

  • ½ cup of flour
  • 2 pounds of fresh peaches
  • 1 standard pie shell
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ cup of light brown sugar
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla 
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of heavy cream

Now let’s put all these ingredients to work: 

Instructions: 

  1. Wash the fresh peaches and peel the skin off carefully.
  2. Slice the peaches into thin pieces.
  3. Set the sliced peaches to the side until later.
  4. Thaw the pie shell completely.
  5. Add the brown sugar, flour, and salt together into a medium-sized mixing bowl and stir together with a fork.
  6. Add the room temperature butter to the mixing bowl and use a fork to mash the butter into the other ingredients until it looks like crumbs.
  7. Use only half of the flour mixture you just made and sprinkle it over the bottom of the pie crust. 
  8. Place the sliced peaches in the pie crust until all the peaches are used. 
  9. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over the peaches. 
  10. Whisk the vanilla, cream, and egg together, then pour it over the peaches. 
  11. Use the rest of the flour mixture (crumbs) by sprinkling them on top of the pie. 
  12. Bake the pie for 45 minutes at 400 degrees. 

A standard pie crust makes eight slices, depending on the size you cut. This pie is so delicious you might need to make two because it will be gone instantly. Peaches and cream pie is best served warm but tastes great after sitting in the refrigerator overnight too. 

The Gullah people are the only group that held onto their African traditions, and it shows through their cooking, art, basket making, music, language, and more. This recipe connects you with the Gullah people through the taste of food and traditional recipes they created while living in the Sea Islands. Just one bite of this pie sets you back in time and allows you to savor every bite.

Lowcountry peaches and cream pie is best enjoyed with family and friends. Don’t be shy, and make sure you spread the love of these strong and amazing people. A fun idea is to bake this pie for pot lucks, bake sales, holidays, and events. 

When people ask you where the recipe is from, make sure you proudly say it’s a Gullah recipe! Then share some details about the Gullah people and how they were enslaved and still held onto their traditions. You can even shock your friends and family when you share the fun fact that everyone enjoys today’s southern cuisine, mostly recipes that originated from the Gullah people. 

Today the descendants of the Gullah people still live on Edisto Island as well as other areas throughout South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Some descendants have moved further away to other states but continue to spread their traditional ways and culture everywhere they go. 

Currently, locals and tourists can visit Edisto Island and indulge in the Gullah culture. You can find delicious food, handmade sweetgrass baskets, colorful artwork, and more. 

Did you know the Gullah people are not mentioned in history books? This means everyone is shielded from learning more about these amazing people and their traditions that still resonate throughout American culture today. 

Without the Gullah people, we wouldn’t have access to the popular dishes we know today, such as shrimp and grits, fried corn cakes, shrimp and okra, Gullah rice, and of course, peaches and cream pie! 

Visiting Edisto Island is highly recommended to experience this interesting culture and its iconic cuisine. Make sure you browse the menus of local restaurants carefully to find your favorite Gullah dishes. Various restaurants keep Gullah recipes on their menu all year, so you don’t need to worry about missing out. 

In the meantime, enjoy making this delicious Lowcountry Peaches and Cream Pie recipe! Serve it hot or cold, and don’t forget a little whip cream on top for some added sweetness if you like!  

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Bob Hart Author

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