There are a million things to love about Summer. The sunshine, warm weather, outdoor activities and the rainy season (if you live in a sub tropical area) but I think the best thing about Summer is the lovely fruit and vegetables that are in season. And incorporating them into baking is the absolute best because they can add an element of lightness to the baked goods that is so warmly welcomed.
With that said, I present to you a rustic nectarine pie. This pie is perfect comfort food for a rainy or cold day while also being the perfect dessert to a lovely Summer lunch or afternoon tea outside in the garden. The crispy shortcrust base and the softness of the fruit give you that warm comforting feeling but the slight natural tartness of the nectarines lighten it up and adds a tang of freshness and wonderful balance. Plus this pie is not at all that complicated which means it’s a perfect dessert for when you’re stressed and pressed for time. All it is is a basic enriched shortcrust pastry with the simplest filling. Unfortunately there is no easy way out around homemade shortcrust pastry. I will not lie to you, it is not an easy pastry to work with although it isn’t the hardest pastry out there either. It is actually quite simple but it takes some practice to perfect. There are no shortcuts. You just have to practice until you get the hang of working with shortcrust pastry. You could always of course, use ready made shop bought pastry and save yourself a whole lot of trouble but the quality difference between homemade and shop bought pastry is astounding and making the pastry by yourself is definitely worth it. But when you’re pressed for time which happens often during the days leading to Christmas and the day of, shop bought pastry can be a real life saver.
The filling is super easy. Just slice some ripe nectarines skin on and everything, add some sugar, cornflour and cinnamon and boom you’ve got yourself a delicious filling. Do make sure your nectarines are ripe though. Unripe fruit could make your tart a little too, well… tart and there’s only so much sugar you can use to compensate.
And the method… Well, if you’re using shop bought pastry it’s so much quicker and easier, however, like I said; homemade is better. But essentially all you have to do is make the pastry, roll it out and line your cake tin with it, add the filling, do the lattice top and bang it in the oven. Done. No blind baking or anything. Simple right? Totally. So simple, in fact, that you can easily make this tart on Christmas day and have it ready for lunch or dinner stress free. It’s literally easy as pie. Plus, because this pie is “rustic” you don’t have to worry about anything looking or being perfect. 😉
Rustic Nectarine Pie
- 300g cake (plain) flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 150g cold cubed butter
- 1 egg
- 2-3 tsp cold water
- 8 ripe nectarines stoned and cut into eighths
- 120g sugar
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Make the pastry first by blending the flour, sugar and butter in a food processor until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add the egg and some cold water until the pastry just comes together.
- Roll the pastry into a a round disc, cover with clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime prepare the filling. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). In a bowl mix all the filing ingredients in a bowl.
- Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and line a 20cm cake or pie dish with the pastry so that it lines the side of the dish as well. Top tip when rolling the pastry: roll the pastry towards you with the rolling pin instead of back and forth to prevent the pastry from cracking and forming holes. Also keep turning your pastry as you roll to prevent it from sticking to the surface. Be careful not to overwork your pastry as it won’t come out nice and crumbly like shortcrust pastry should if you do.
- Cut off excess pastry on the sides of the dish. Add the filling.
- To make the lattice roll out the pastry until thin. Using a knife cut long strips of equal width. Lay half the strips horizontally on the tart and space them appropriately apart. Fold every second strip back on itself and lay one of the remaining strips vertically over the tart so that it lays across the unfolded horizontal strips. Swap the folded and unfolded horizontal strips so that the unfolded becomes the folded and the folded becomes the unfolded and lay another strip vertically. Continue like this until the entire tart is covered with the lattice.
- Lightly brush the top with the egg and sprinkle on the sugar.
- Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes. Allow the pie to cool completely before removing it from its dish.
- Serve with whipped cream, creme fraiche or custard.