One of my favorite combinations for fruit desserts is nectarines with berries. I end up using nectarines more frequently than peaches because, well, I’m lazy: nectarines, unlike peaches, don’t require peeling. The skins are thinner so they aren’t so noticeable when baked in a dessert, so it’s a great fruit for quick desserts like crumbles and cobblers.
I love the nectarine/berry combination in a classic pie crust. For this crust I used all butter, and using a tip from Cooks Illustrated, replaced some of the water with sour cream so the crust is more tender.
I used strawberries for this recipe, but as they are no longer in season in most places (we are seeing the last of local strawberries this September for some reason), other berries – especially blueberries – go well with it. It’s also delicious if you want to skip the berries — just add another nectarine and adjust the sugar.
Sooooo good with ice cream.
Nectarine and berry pie
For the crust:
2-1/2 cups AP flour (175 g)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup, 225g) butter, cold and cut into small cubes
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/3 cup ice water
For the filling:
3 medium nectarines, pitted and sliced into eighths
2 cups strawberries or other berries (blueberries are nice)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch lemon zest
Making the crust:
- Stir together the sour cream and water.
- Stir together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter, and using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture. Don’t mix too much; you should still have some larger pea-sized chunks of butter.
- Stir in half the sour cream mixture with a fork. Add the rest of the mixture if the dough still seems too dry (it should come together and be just a little bit sticky.)
- Form into 2 disks and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Make the filling:
- Place the berries (if you are using them) in a large bowl. Put the nectarines in a medium saucepan with the sugar, cornstarch and lemon zest. Sir to mix. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, allowing the juice to thicken.
- Turn the mixture out into the berries and stir to mix. Taste for sweetness. If not sweet enough, add a bit of sugar. If it’s too sweet, add a bit of lemon juice. Set aside to cool slightly.
Put them together:
- Roll out each disk of dough on a floured surface about 11 inches in diameter. Set the bottom round into the pie pan.
- Add the filling.
- Add the top of the pie crust. Press the edges of the crusts together and crimp them shut.Make slits in the top of pie crust so that it can release steam while baking. Brush the top with a little bit of egg white or milk, and sprinkle with sugar. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 F (180 C). Set the pie on a large cookie sheet (just in case it bubbles over). Bake for 45 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling.
- Set on a cooling rack and allow to cool until just warm. This is great with ice cream.