Summer Fest 2009 is a multi-week, “cross-pollination” of blogs, created by Margaret Roach from Away To Garden. She enlisted the help of several top food bloggers with the goal of sharing recipes and tips.
The best part is that everyone can participate in the fun, just by leaving comments, and if you’ve written about the topic, leave a link, too. But even if you don’t have a blog, you can still leave a comment. It’s all about sharing — I know I’d love to hear from you.
The first week was all about herbs, this week is fruit-from-trees. Next week is greens and beans, with a grand finale of tomato week.
I’ve chosen nectarines for my Summer Fest fruit-from-trees post. I’ve got nothing against fuzzy peaches, but I just love the smooth-skinned yellow nectarines.
Before I dive into my post about wrapping nectarines and blueberries in a free form pie dough for a very rustic crostata, here’s a look at what some of the other Summer Fest participants are doing:
- Away To Garden: Peach Clafloutis
- Matt Bites: Apricot Ice Cream
- Paige Orloff: Plum Tarte Tatin
- Simmer Till Done: Ginger Peach Pandowdy
- Steamy Kitchen: Warm Plum and Chanterelle Salad
- White On Rice Couple: Peach Coolers
You’ll find even more links to other great Summer Fest posts by reading the comments on these co-creator blogs. Why, I think you could spend a whole day reveling the wonders of fruits from trees.
Let’s talk about pie, shall we? Crostata is an Italian term for a rustic, free-form, open-faced pie.
This recipe is adapted from a pear and dried sour cherry recipe in my cookbook, The Great Ranch Cookbook. But since it’s Summer Fest, and pears are definitely not in season, I’ve replaced the winter fruit with what’s in season now.
Nectarines, like peaches, give off lots of juice during baking. I don’t want the juice oozing out of my open-faced pie, so I sprinkle the peaches with sugar and let them sit for a while. It’s really a little bonus for the cook, too. You can drink the juice (maybe mix it with a little rum and a splash of soda? Just sayin’.)
The reason I love crostatas is because they’re fast and easy and you don’t have to be a champion pie crimper. Didn’t roll out your dough into a perfect circle? Who cares! Of course, I do like my silicone pastry sheet with measured circles that lets me know when I’ve reached roughly the right size.
You don’t have to expertly arrange the fruit either. You can just mound it in the center of your not-so-perfect pie dough, letting the fruit fall where it may. Then just pick up an edge and pull it toward the center. Pull up another section a couple inches away, and pleat that over the first piece, working your way all around the pie.
Brush the pie edges with a little milk or cream and sprinkle with sugar. Granulated sugar works just fine, but raw sugar adds a little more character.
That’s my take on fruit-from-trees for Summer Fest 2009. What do you think?
Nectarine Blueberry Crostata
My Dad would not like this rustic pie for two reasons. 1.) He really hates blueberries. Says they make your breath smell bad. 2.) This pie isn’t very sweet. It’s what I call barely-sweet. That’s why you can add whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream and it doesn’t make the whole dessert just one big tooth-jarring sugar bomb.
The recipe calls for 1-1/2 pounds of nectarines, which is about four large ones. I usually buy one more than I need because there is always one nectarine that’s either not ripe enough, or has a bad pit, or bruised. It’s always something.
1 recipe Easy, Buttery Pie Dough
1-1/2 pounds just-ripe nectarines
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon milk or cream or in between
1 tablespoon sugar (I like raw sugar, or big crystal white sugar)
1 tablespoon peach or apricot jam (for glazing, so any light colored jam will do, even strawberry)
1. Make the pie dough and let it chill while you prepare the filling.
2. Cut the nectarines into 1/2-inch wedges. Place in a large bowl and toss with lemon juice and sugar. Set aside for 20 minutes. The nectarines will give off about 1/3 a cup or so of juice.
3. Drain the nectarines and return to the bowl. Add the blueberries, cinnamon and nutmeg and toss gently.
4. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roll the pie crust out on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle. And by circle, I mean something similar to round, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. Fold the dough over the rolling pin and transfer it to a lined baking sheet and unfold.
5. Mound the filling onto the center of the dough, leaving a 2-1/2 to 3-inch border all the way around. Fold the border over the filling, pleating as you go. A good portion of the filling will be uncovered.
6. Brush the dough with the milk or cream, and sprinkle with the sugar.
7. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the dough is browned and cooked through.
8. Warm the jam in the microwave for 10 seconds or so and brush the jam on the fruit, to give it a little sheen. Rest the pie 5 to 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream if you like.