There are few things most delicious than a perfectly ripe nectarine. My local grocery store has had them on special for the past couple of weeks, and I find myself hoarding them in the fruit bowl at home. The problem is, they all seem to ripen at the exact same time. While I love the scent of ripe nectarines in my home, I've come to realize that a bowl of ripe nectarines also possess a special magic power: conjuring fruit flies out of nowhere.
So, they had to go.
For the filling:
- 3-4 ripe nectarines
- 1 pint blueberries
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 4 tbsp granulated sugar
(I realize this seems like a lot of sugar/cornstarch but actually, the fruit gets transferred to a colander, so much of it drains off)
For the crust (regular pie crust):
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 cup ice water
- Additional flour for rolling out
- 1 egg + 1 tsp water for glazing
- coarse sugar for dusting (optional)
First, make the pie crust. Instructions here. You can make this up to a week in advance and just store it in the refrigerator or freezer. I like to do this because it helps the whole process take up smaller chunks of time, and then you can wait until the fruit is the perfect ripeness.
Next, prepare your filling. Peel and pit your nectarines. Since these are hand pies, I cut the fruit into smaller cubes than I would for a regular pie. It makes it easier to pack the filling into the pies without puncturing the outside.
Wash and dry the blueberries, picking out any stems that might still be on them. Add them to the nectarine cubes along with the lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch. Them the fruit mixture sit for at least half an hour in a colander (in the sink or placed in another bowl) while the juices drain. It seemed like such a pity to let all of that gorgeous fruit juice go, but you don't want the hand pies to be soggy. Since nectarines and blueberries are both juicy fruits, AND we're adding lemon juice, we'll need to drain some of the liquid off. Sugar helps release the juices, so we'll let that sit for a while.
Preheat your oven to 375 F. While the fruit is draining, roll out your pie dough on a well floured surface. Using a small bowl as a stencil, cut out as many round pieces as you can. I set them aside as I cut and gave them one more chill in the freezer for 10 minutes before filling them. You want the dough to be cool to the touch as you fill them.
[This is probably one of the flakiest, best pie crusts I've made to date. See all those big butter pieces?]
Dollop the fruit mixture into the center of each pie. There really is no exact science to this. Fold the dough over and press down to seal with the edge of a fork. I tried to fill each one with as much fruit as possible, since I knew the juices would somewhat cook out of them. It helps if you give each round an additional go with the rolling pin so that they're more oval shaped.
Cut a slit into the top of each one to vent. Brush with the egg + water mixture and sprinkle with coarse sugar if you'd like.
Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is brown and doesn't look moist. I burned my mouth (badly) trying to eat one of these before it was cool, so I wouldn't really recommend eating before letting them cool for 20 minutes or so.