I brought home a pound of nectarines last week and actually felt sad that I’d earmarked them for a recipe. They were perfect. Apriums? Bah.
I begrudgingly concluded that the next best thing to a bowl of nectarines on the counter would be a pie made from them.
I don’t bake pies (my mother-in-law has, rightfully, the corner on that world of desserts). So I turned to this vegan dessert book and altered the recipe slightly, just enough to make it…not vegan.
Sorry. I’m milk-inclined. And also, my time to shop and cook this week was limited. When I discovered that our neighborhood grocery doesn’t carry the plain soy yogurt I needed for the crust, I decided not to waste my alternative ingredients and gave up on the idea of a vegan dessert.
But I’ll tell you, these would-have-been-vegan pies are really good anyway. In fact, plain old butter and whole milk yogurt worked like a dream. I won’t publish the recipe for the crust, since it’s not mine (though Google books may have it online). But here is the dreamy, not-too-sweet filling I came up with, based on their other hand pie fillings. The limited amount of sweetener allowed the tart + sweet of the nectarines to be tasted, which is exactly what I was after. No syrupy goop, please.
I’d never made hand pies before. These were a little time consuming but didn’t take much more than I imagine it would to make a big round pie.
The thing that made me happiest about this was discovering a fun, packable dessert (no alternative-to-plastic container needed). Wrap one in waxed paper and take it on a picnic. Surprise your kids with them in their lunches on the last day of summer camp. You’ll be popular and well fed.
1 pound ripe nectarines, sliced
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.
In a medium bowl, stir nectarines and honey together until well blended. Add cornstarch, lemon juice and vanilla and stir to blend.
Roll out each log of pie dough into a large rectangle, approximately 7 x 14 inches. Cut into eight smaller rectangles.
Place a scant ¼ cup of filling on the bottom half of each rectangle of dough. Wet the edges of the dough and fold the top half over the bottom. Seal closed by pinching then pressing with the tines of a fork.
Cut slits in the tops of the pastries, brush with water and sprinkle with a little granulated sugar. Transfer to baking sheets.
Bake for 15 minutes then swap pans between racks so they bake evenly. Bake for another 8-10 minutes and check. Do not surf the internet and burn the pies on the bottom rack because you are depending on the timer, as I may have done. If pie filling is bubbling and the crust is starting to look golden, they’re perfect. Take them out.
Allow to rest on the baking sheets for a few minutes then transfer to another surface, such as a rack, to cool completely. Eat in hand, preferably on a checkered blanket.