Nectarine pie.

Recipe File

Nectarines are
the fruit I look forward to each summer, more than cherries, watermelon or plums. Perfectly ripe, slightly toothsome (al dente?), juicy nectarines are like ambrosia to me. Nectarines are basically naked peaches -- they're genetically equivalent, minus the fuzz. Although I always loved ripe juicy peaches, the fuzz gave me the willies. And without fuzz nectarines can show off their pretty peachy rose complexions.
Nectarine Pie 1No fuzz on these beauties!

W
hen the price drops to $.99 a pound (if they’re cheaper at your grocery story, farmer's market or fruit stand, I will envy you) I know they’re at their peak and buy them by the sackload. That’s when I pull out my tattered, yellowed nectarine pie recipe.

Nectarine pie recipeIt looks almost like an antique now.

My copy was cut from the Chicago Tribune’s food section some years ago. It is aged and speckled with the flotsam of pie preparation from days gone by, but is still readable for that once-a-year time when nectarines go one sale and I make my annual pie. (Although last September, after nectarines peaked, I must have made an exception to my on-sale policy so I could make this gorgeous nectarine sorbet.) The Trib site doesn't seem to have the recipe, but Cooks.com has the exact same one.

Usually I’m content to use the
Pillsbury pre-made pie crust, which I have found to be both tasty and flaky -- and a big time-saver. I’ve been cheating with it using it for years as a shortcut in the pie making process. This year I was inspired to make my own, which is actually quite easy.

Nectarine Pie 2
I always feel like a farm wife when I’m working the pastry blender into a bowl full of flour and butter, then rolling chilled circles of dough into thin drapey crusts.

Nectarine Pie 6
This year the crust had a nice, rustic, cobbled-together look!

The recipe calls for toasted almonds, almond extract and nutmeg, along with flour, sugars and lemon juice. I've learned over the years that nutmeg is not a favorite flavor of the kiddies (at least mine, anyway), so in deference to them (I want
everyone to enjoy this pie) I leave out the nutmeg. I've also learned that children don't have the same appreciation as I do for a variety of textures in food, such as the contrast between soft, juicy-sweet nectarines and crunchy, toasted almond slivers. So, alas, I've been leaving out the almonds as well. But they are an excellent and tasty addition to the pie, so if your family will eat them, put them in. And please do leave out the almond extract! I've never used it in this pie and I have to believe the true taste of the nectarines shines through, instead of an artificial taste of almonds.
Nectarine Pie 3No almonds or nutmeg this year. And never any almond extract.

Nectarine Pie 5Flour helps thicken the pretty rose-colored juices nicely while the pie cooks.

Nectarine Pie 7Mound that fruit high in the crust.

I used a small bumblebee cookie cutter to make shapes with the excess crust. Some egg white and water brushed on the top -- along with a sprinkling of sugar -- glaze, brown and sweeten the crust while baking.
Nectarine Pie 8Ready for the oven! Bzzzzzz.....

Nectarine pie outside 9
Looks like the crust wasn't tightly sealed before baking and it split open. Do you think anyone will mind?

It's heavenly served warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Nectarine pie with ice cream

But no one will blame you for having cold nectarine pie for breakfast or a snack!

I recently discovered I'm not the only one who adores nectarines. Check out
Nectarine Scene for all kinds of information on this luscious fruit, including knockout recipes like the white nectarine pavlova recently featured. Oh I'm drooling! I'm making that next.