What a lovely birthday gift: six gorgeous plump nectarines from the illustrious vineyards of Frog Hollow Farm in California. You might recall from earlier blog posts here that Frog Hollow was the farm that supplied the mind-blowing apricots for the pie workshops Kate McDermott taught at my house late last month.
When the CurvyMama birthday rolled around last week, a particularly thoughtful and attentive friend, Legal Pie, remembered the Frog Hollow Farm experience and had the nice folks there ship me a half-dozen of their yummiest nectarines, organic Fantasias.
And the birthday gift keeps on giving: I’m told that the next part arrives in August, with a half-dozen of Frog Hollow’s Cal Red peaches, and a half-dozen of their O’Henrys. Yaaayyy!!! I can’t wait to make peach pies! But in the meantime, this lovely and original present gave me the chance to go where this pie maker had never ventured before: into nectarine-pie land.
The fruit, unadorned as Nature made it, was spectacular: juicy and intensely flavored.
But of course I had to add some stuff to complement the flavor and make it all hold together. So while my pie dough was chilling, I mixed the nectarines with sugar, flour, a tad bit of lemon juice and a few rasps of fresh nutmeg.
I decided to use half regular granulated white sugar and half lavender spiced vanilla sugar, thinking it might impart a certain je ne sais quoi. So I strained out the barky bits of vanilla bean and blended that nicely scented sugar with the regular stuff.
In the end, I didn’t think the lavender came through to any real effect. But it did give me ideas for future pies; I’m thinking about other herbal undertones I might add.
I rolled out my bottom crust and added the fruit filling…
… put the top crust on and brushed off the excess flour…
… rolled the bottom edge up and over the top one…
I didn’t dare cut into the pie until the next morning, to give the filling time to set nicely. That was a good thing; it was the perfect texture when I began handing out slices to grateful eaters. Legal Pie, who sent the nectarines to begin with, looked positively paralyzed with joy when she took her first bite. Normally a highly articulate person, she could hardly speak: “Oh… my… God,” she stammered, her eyes widening. “that’s the best pie I’ve ever had.”
Just what a pie maker wants to hear! A couple of other members of the CurvyMama inner pie posse said similar things. That was the best birthday gift of all!
- 1 double-crust batch of pie dough, preferably a butter-and-lard combination dough
- 3 pounds of fresh pitted, sliced nectarines
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 c. granulated sugar
- 1/4 c. lavender-vanilla sugar (optional; you can use 1/2 c. granulated)
- A squeeze of lemon
- A few rasps of fresh nutmeg
- 1 egg white & a little sugar for sprinkling on the top crust
- Put the sliced, pitted nectarines in a big bowl and add the flour, sugars, lemon and nutmeg. Stir til just combined.
- Roll out the bottom crust and place in 9-inch pie pan. Add the fruit filling. Roll out the top crust and place it on top of the filling. Seal and crimp the edges of the pie. Put in refrigerator to chill.
- Preheat the oven to 425. Give it at least 20-25 minutes, and preferably use an oven thermometer, to be sure it has come all the way up to 425.
- Take the chilled pie from the fridge and cut a few vents in the top crust. Brush egg white lightly over the top crust and edges. Sprinkle sugar over the top. Put the pie on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then at 375 for another 40-45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and you can hear the crust sizzling and the fruit whumping softly inside.