Rhiannon is the name of my second child born in October 2011. While at home on maternity leave, I discovered the Baking with Julia group and decided to join. While I may be short on time, I love to bake and love having an excuse to bake. Although Rhiannon cannot eat all of these treats, she is a (somewhat) patient observer of my endeavors.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Blueberry Nectarine Pie
Nectarines? Really? Nectarines? Don't they mean peaches? Prior to trying this recipe, I had never heard of or even thought of using nectarines in a pie. But really what is the difference between the two? Not much really. Genetically they are extremely similar. Peaches are fuzzy, nectarines are not. Beyond that, nectarines have a bit more nutritional value with more Vitamin A and C and potassium. And as far as pies are concerned, taste is the only thing that matters, and they basically taste the same, do they not?
I had planned to do this recipe while at home last week but time escaped (as it usually does) and I found myself copying the recipe and packing it in the car for our trip to central California this week. I was hoping to employ the baking expertise of my mother-in-law as well as the babysitting expertise of my sister-in-law. Pies have never been my friend in the baking world. My crusts are always difficult to rollout regardless of what recipe I use. It's always in pieces with jagged edges and holes. I have never gotten the crust to look like pictures in recipe books. How do they make it look like pizza dough anyway? And believe me I have tried almost all the tricks in the books (except for a marble counter- is that the key? a marble counter?).
We picked up local, fresh nectarines and blueberries at the grocery store; the nectarines were not as ripe as I was hoping but as the recipe called for cooking them, I figured it wouldn't matter too much. My mother-in-law picked a lemon from her tree for the zest and juice (gotta love California). The filling was simple and easy to prepare and definitely needed that lemon juice as it was cloyingly sweet without it.
The crust calls for a mixture of shortening and butter. I tend to avoid shortening at all costs in my baking as it scares me to eat it. Had I been home, I may have tried all butter but my mother-in-law had a container of Crisco right there in the pantry so I figured, this one time will be ok, right? I mixed everything by hand and it came together easily even in 97 degree heat. Rolling it out, I had my same old troubles: jagged edges, holes in the middle, transfer mishaps. I patched it altogether and even had to roll the top crust twice- yikes. It looked rather perfect, but I feared the crust would be as tough and hard as all my previous pie attempts.
It baked for the full 50 minutes the recipe called for and the house smelled amazing. We had the patience to let it cool mostly because warm pie at 4pm in central California sounds almost miserable. At 7pm, it was almost divine.
This crust recipe worked! It remained flaky and light despite the double rolling and all the patching. The flavor balanced the filling well with a healthy amount of salt but it did lack a bit of the all butter creaminess. Overall, I think I have found a winning crust recipe if I can bring myself to use shortening again. Maybe I can justify it by always using nectarines instead of peaches.
And here is Rhiannon cheering on her favorite Olympians.
As a side note, I did indeed complete the Semolina Bread recipe from 2 weeks ago but never got around to completing a post about it... maybe I'll post in the next week.
Here are the links for the recipes: