One of my favorite summer fruits is the nectarine. It’s creamy and bright with a gentle tartness like it’s cousin the peach, but the nectarine has fresh – almost “lemony” – notes that give it just a little extra “zing.” (That, and I love that I don’t have to peel them when I’m baking!) For a favorite summer pie, I’ll take a bowl of sliced nectarines and toss them with a little almond extract – almond is such a perfect pairing with stone fruit – sweeten with a little sugar, and toss in a little flour to thicken the filling as it bakes. Mound the filling in a prepared pie shell, then sprinkle over a crumble topping. I add chopped almonds to this crumble topping to complement the extract in the filling, and throw in a pinch of cinnamon to give a little fragrant spice. Slice into that toasted crumble topping and you’re greeted with a spectrum of bright reds and vivid yellows from the succulent nectarines paired with a creamy, almond-scented filling and packaged in a light, flaky golden crust. Like a gift.
Servings: Makes 1 (9-inch) pie
2/3 cup whole almonds
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the almonds and flour and pulse until the almonds are coarsely chopped and combined with the flour. Add the brown and granulated sugars and cinnamon and pulse again until combined. Add the butter cubes and pulse again until the butter is broken up and the mixture is crumbly.
The crumble topping can also be made by hand: Chop the almonds finely and stir together with the flour, brown and granulated sugars and cinnamon, then add the butter and rub together with your fingers until the butter is broken up and the mixture is crumbly.
Pie and assembly
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons flour
8 cups sliced nectarines
11/2 tsps almond extract
Prepared, unbaked single pie crust
Prepared crumble topping
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour. Stir in the nectarine slices, coating completely, then stir in the almond extract until evenly combined.
3. Pile the nectarine filling into the prepared pie shell, sprinkling over the slices any additional sugar-flour mixture that did not stick to the fruit.
4. In a small bowl, whisk the egg to form a wash.
5. Brush the edge of the crust with the egg wash. Drizzle the crumble topping over the fruit slices.
6. Place the pie in the oven and bake until the crust is a rich golden color and the filling is bubbly and thick, about 1 hour.
7. Cool before serving.
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