I have wanted to tell you about this pie for a couple weeks now, but I keep hesitating. See, this post isn’t supposed to be about nectarine pie. It’s supposed to be about peach pie. Yes, yes, of course there’s a backstory…
I don’t like peach pie. I think they are bland, slightly slimy, and sickly sweet. But I am convinced there should be a good peach pie recipe out there, somewhere. Peaches just feel like they were made for pie. So I keep trying and I keep getting disappointed and I keep signing off peach pie for good this time (!) because there is no such thing as a good peach pie, so there.
But then I spied this recipe for peach bourbon pie and I thought, “This one? Just maybe….?” (It’s a curse, I tell you, a curse.) Problem was, I didn’t have any peaches left. Only nectarines. So I made the pie with nectarines and it was fab. And then I made it again with nectarines and it was still fab. And then I was like, But maybe this peach pie is so good because it doesn’t have any peaches in it? So I contemplated buying peaches from the grocery store (I know! Gross!), and I even went as far as to stroke the fuzzy balls that Costco placed under a sign that read “peaches,” but those things looked about as tasty as engorged tennis balls. There was no way my peach pie experiment would stand a chance with fruit that hard.
And that’s where I am in the peach pie saga: with not a single winning peach pie in sight. However, I do have a kick-butt nectarine pie and it just might work for peaches. Next year, I’ll make it with peaches. If it works, I’ll amend the title to say “peach (or nectarine) bourbon pie.” Until then, the jury is out. But if you happen to have non-tennis ball peaches on hand, do give it a go and let me know the verdict, ‘kay?
Nectarine Bourbon Pie
Adapted from Food For My Family.
One note about the cornmeal topping: it’s pretty soft right after making it, so I put it in the fridge to harden. When I’m ready to top the pie, I turn the mixture out on a cutting board and chop it up with a knife. This way I get nice pebbly crumbles.
About the filling: the macerated nectarines tasted so delicious, prebaking, that I followed this recipe (minus the tapioca and with less sugar) when preparing fresh nectarines to eat with French yogurt cake. Try it!
½ recipe rich pastry
6 cups sliced nectarines (no need to peel them)
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons minute tapioca
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 recipe cornmeal streusel topping
Toss together the nectarines, sugar, tapioca, bourbon, lemon juice, and vanilla. Set aside for 30-60 minutes, giving it a stir every now and then.
Line a 9 (or 10)-inch pie plate with the pastry. Fill with the fruit. Top with the cornmeal crumbs.
Bake the pie at 375 degrees on the lowest oven rack for about 20-30 minutes, or until the juices start to bubble. Then move the pie up to the second rack, and lay a big piece of foil (or a large baking pan) on the bottom rack to catch the drips. (It’s important that you don’t block the heat at the very beginning of the baking time so that the bottom crust gets sufficiently brown.) Once the pie is golden brown and bubbling like mad, it’s done.
Delicious fact: this pie is not hopelessly runny when served warm.