Saturday, June 16, 2012

Nectarine Pie with Almond crumb topping

Is there anything homier and more comforting than pie? Seriously think about it for a second. I think you will agree there is not. And pie is something I think seems to have a place all year round. I adore pie in the wintertime with all the holidays. Nothing is more satisfying than a slice of pie after my Thanksgiving meal. I honestly cannot have any other kind of dessert afterwards. In the summer time, I get excited about peach pie, and berry pies galore. Pie always has a place on my table.

Enjoying pie and making pie though two very different topics. Pie dough and me have not always been a perfect union. I have tackled different culinary/pastry techniques and for some reason pie dough is the one that always befuddles me. Sometimes its too sticky, then it won't roll out, it's too soft, too crunchy, not enough flakiness- you get my point. I have the answer though! Use. Your. Hands. Put that food processor away. Take the jewelry off. Roll up your sleeves. Get to know your dough. It is so much more forgiving. Oh and one more point. Use butter. There are many debates about using half shortening/half butter to achieve the perfect flavor/flakiness ration. Shortening, though, is well- it's icky. Seriously, what is that stuff? Trust me, use all butter, and your hands and you will get that great flavor to flake ratio. Using the food processor, can result is overworking your dough, causing that gluten stuff to act up resulting in a tough dough. Your hands, can't work as fast and therefore you stand a better fighting chance of not overworking your dough. Besides, it's just plain fun to get in there and get messy. My last major tip. Use very, very, cold butter.  I like to cupt up my butter into small chunks and then re-freeze it aftewards. Just the warmth of the knife can soften it too much. For a great step by step tutorial, check out smitten kitchen's post on how to make perfect pie dough.

For this pie, I decided to use nectarines. This was just a perfect juicy summer pie.  It's the simpler cousin of peaches. I didn't have to blanche my nectarines like I would normally with peaches (put them in boiling water for a minute in order to remove the skins). I just simply sliced them and they were good to go- which made this pie pretty fast to throw together! The almond crumb topping with this pie was a perfect balance with the nectarines. The almond taste was subtly in the background, not too overpowering.  After this pie, I definitely want to try and make more pies by hand. So be ready for that. Pie, pie, and more pie!

You could definitely skip the making pie dough part if summer is calling your name. Use a store-bought pie crust and this pie is ready in no time. Fill up your sangria glass (I'm not judging) and get ready to the enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Nectarine Pie with Almond Crumb Topping
Adapted from William-Sonoma "Home Baked Comfort", and "Pie" by Ken Haedrich

Pie Dough, single crust

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp sugar (if making a savory dish, omit)
7 tbsp very cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
5 tbsp ice water, more if necessary

makes enough for one 9-inch pie

In the bowl of your food processor or by hand using a pastry cutter stir together the flour, salt, and sugar, if using.  Sprinkle the butter over the top and pulse for a few seconds. If by hand, cut the butter in using your pastry cutter until it slightly broken up into the flour but is still visible in pieces. Evenly sprinkle the ice water over the flour mixture, then process just until the mixture starts to come together. Dump the dough into a large zip lock bag and press into a flat disk. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes or up to 1 day, or freeze up to 1 month.


6 cups pitted and sliced ripe nectarines, unpeeled
Scant 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Almond Crumb Topping

3/4 cup whole or slivered almonds
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1. Refrigerate pastry for crust until firm enough to roll, about 1 hour.
2. On a sheet of lightly floured wax paper, roll half the pastry into a 13-inch circle with a floured rolling pin. Invert the pastry over a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie pan, center, and peel off the paper. Tuck the pastry into the pan, with out stretching it, and sculpt the edge into an upstanding ridge. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400F.
3. In a large bowl, combine the nectarines, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the lemon juice, and lemon zest. Set aside for 10 minutes to juice. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and the cornstarch in a small bowl, then stir the mixture into the fruit. Stir in the almond extract. Scrape the filling in to the chilled pie shell, smoothing the fruit with a spoon. Place the pie on the center oven rack and bake for 30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, make the topping. Combine the almonds and the sugar in a food processor, pulsing in short bursts to chop the almonds well. Add the flour and the salt and pulse briefly to mix. Scatter the butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the mixture looks like fine crumbs. Dump the crumbs into a large bowl and rub between your fingers to make large, buttery crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to use.
5. Remove the pie from the oven and reduce the temperature to 375F. Carefully dump the crumbs in the center of the pie, spreading them evenly and tamping them lightly with your hands. Return the pie to the oven, placing it so that the part that faced the back of the oven now faces forward. Just in case, slide a large aluminum-foil-lined baking sheet onto the rack below to catch any spills. Continue to bake until the juices bubble thickly around the edge, 30 to 40 minutes.
6. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool for at least 2 hours before serving.

No comments:

Post a Comment