I live in Southern New Jersey and here summer is full of Jersey tomatoes and Jersey peaches. When you can have enormous, beautiful Jersey peaches, you don’t pay much attention to California nectarines. I cannot remember the last time I bought them. Really. But for this recipe, I did. And boy am I glad. They are outstanding.
This months recipe is Blueberry Nectarine Pie. You can find it on page 384-385 of Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. You can also check out the blogs of Hilary and Liz for the recipe. To see what the other bloggers did, click here.
I made the pie dough in my 14 cup Cuisinart food processor.
As you can see from the picture, it was near to capacity. It called for both shortening (I used Crisco) and unsalted butter. And yes, I did make the whole dough recipe, not the 1/2 required by this recipe.
The food processor made the dough so fast and so easily. My dough did not require a lot of ice water. It was soft and nice when I wrapped it in plastic wrap and put it into the refrigerator. (I did taste it at this point and thought it was weirdly salty. But I hoped that saltiness would go away with baking).
Two days later, I prepared the fruit filling first by slicing 3 nectarines and portioning out 3 cups of blueberries. Then I put 1/2 of the fruit in a medium saucepan along with sugar, flour, and lemon zest, and boiled it gently until it thickened.
Then I poured the hot fruit mixture into a bowl with the uncooked fruit and stirred. After tasting it, I added some lemon juice.
While the fruit was cooling, I rolled out 1/4 of the pie dough for the bottom crust. Rolling out pie dough is always a challenge for me. I floured my countertop and then rolled out the dough. When I got it to the right size, I used my dough scraper to gently remove it from the counter. Of course, in the process, the dough ripped through the middle and tore at the edges. I proceeded to put it into my glass pie plate as best I could, and then used my fingers to add dough where it was missing and to fix the rips.
I knew there was not going to be enough dough to make a beautiful fancy edge, but at least the bottom would be covered by the fruit.
After the fruit cooled, I poured it into the pie bottom and dotted it with butter.
Then I rolled out another 1/4 of the pie dough for the top. But this time, I used plastic wrap to help me with rolling and lifting. This did help me lift the dough off the counter easily, but nothing else. I could have used another set of hands to help me flip the dough on top of the pie. But since that was not available, I decided to follow the recipe for folding the dough in quarters to move it onto the pie. Uh, no. It cracked along the way and did not easily unfold into that perfect pie crust.
This top crust was more of a mess than the bottom crust. I had to put all the pieces back on top of the pie to fill in the rips and tears.
Then I removed some circles from the dough, in an attempt to make it look pretty. I also added some slits.
Finally, I tried to crimp the edges as the recipe says. The pie went into the refrigerator overnight.
The next morning, I brushed on an egg wash, sprinkled it with sparkling sugar and then placed the pie into a preheated 375 degree oven for 45 minutes. Out of the oven, it did not look like the picture in the book. I guess I knew that would be the case. But isn’t taste supposed to be more important than looks?
I served the pie that evening for friends. Everyone liked the pie. My kids did too. I thought the fruit consistency was really nice. It was not heavy like a lot of blueberry pies are. It was fruity and tasty inside.
HOWEVER, the crust was awful!!! All I could taste was the Crisco shortening. No one else had a problem with the taste. But OMG, it was so yucky for me. I know there are different qualities with butter and shortening. I think I just prefer the butter taste. So maybe it won’t be as flakey. I can live with that.
The pie dough I usually make is this one from foodnetwork.com.
- 4 cups flour, sifted
- 1 1/2 cups cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons ice water
Pastry: Place flour in medium bowl. Make well in center of flour and add butter, 1 egg yolk, sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons of the water to the well. With fingertips, mix only these “well” ingredients together, then begin to work in the surrounding flour, adding ice water as needed. Once combined, knead several times and place pastry on a plate. Chill in the refrigerator for an hour or so.
In two weeks we are making a Berry Galette. It is like a free form pastry filled with fresh berries. I am crossing my finger that it is a winner. Check back soon!