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:


  1. Pie crust is always a nerve-wracking proposition for me, too. This one turned out really well, even though it was a little soft. And nectarines in pies - turns out to be a winner!

  2. Pie crusts were my nemesis for a long time - we're still not close friends, but we can at least be cordial with each other.
    Glad this worked out for you! (And I love that you could just go out and pick a lemon - so cool...)

  3. I notice a lot of people had issues with pie crusts, I was one of them. This recipe is a keeper. Glad yours turned out so well.

  4. Rhiannon, what a beautiful princess!
    I never use shortning and I prefer to cut down on butter - even if flakyness get lost...
    I'm addicted to baking...my scale can tell! :-)

    Your pie look delicious

  5. She's standing up to cheer! Did she pull herself up?

    Becky across the street uses shortening for her block party pies, and I have to say, her crusts are so light and flaky. Glad the recipe was tasty - I may need to make a pie now!

  6. Pie crust is also not really my friend. I had some trouble with mine but looks like yours turned out ok in the end. :)

  7. I usually avoid recipes that call for shortening myself. Though that is what makes for a flaky crust! Adorable picture of your daughter!