As you plan your Memorial Day menu, consider this recipe for Peach Nectarine Pie with Heath Bar Crumb Topping from The Old Farmer’s Almanac Everyday Baking. It’s the perfect welcome to the (unofficial) start of summer with fresh seasonal fruits and a crunchy-chocolate topping that’s unlike anything you’ve had before!
Peach Nectarine Pie With Heath Bar Crumb Topping
(from page 71 of The Old Farmer’s Almanac Everyday Baking)
- 1 piecrust (see recipe for Flakiest Pie Pastry below)
- 2-1/2 cups peeled, pitted, and sliced fresh peaches
- 2-1/2 cups peeled, pitted, and sliced fresh nectarines
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange zest
- 1 cup coarsely chopped Heath bars
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup pecan halves
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
For crust: Roll the dough into a 13-inch circle and line a 9-1/2-inch deep-dish pie plate with it, forming the overhanging dough into an upstanding rim. Place the pie shell in the freezer for 15 minutes while you make the filling.
For filling: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Combine the peaches and nectarines in a medium bowl. Mix the sugar and cornstarch and stir into the fruit. Stir in the lemon juice and zest. Turn the mixture into the chilled pie shell and smooth the top. Bake on the center rack for 15 minutes. While it bakes, make the topping.
For topping: Combine the Heath bar pieces, flour, pecans, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until the Heath bars are well chopped. Scatter the butter over the mixture. Pulse again until the Heath bars are finely chopped and the crumbs look like gravel. Transfer the topping to a large bowl and rub the mixture between your fingers until the texture is uniform. When the pie has baked for 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 375°F. Remove the pie from the oven and spread the topping evenly over the fruit. Tamp down gently, to even it out. Return the pie to the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes more, until the topping is a rich dark brown and any visible juices bubble thickly. Transfer the pie to a rack and cool. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Makes 8 servings.
Flakiest Pie Crust
(from page 64 of The Old Farmer’s Almanac Everyday Baking)
- 1/4 cup (1/4 stick) vegetable shortening
- 5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cake flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup ice-cold water
To make the pastry with a food processor: Measure the shortening and butter, cut or separate them into approximately 1/2-tablespoon pieces, and place them separately on a plate. Freeze for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, put the flours, sugar, and salt into a food processor. Pulse several times, to mix. Scatter the chilled butter over the dry mixture. Pulse three or four times. Scatter the shortening over the mixture and pulse again, three or four times, cutting the fat into very small pieces. Sprinkle the water over the mixture. Pulse again, three or four times, just until the dough starts to form clumps that hold together when you pinch the mixture between your fingertips. Immediately stop processing.
To make the pastry by hand: Measure and chill the shortening and butter as above. Combine the flours, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Toss with your hands, to mix. Scatter the chilled butter over the mixture. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry mixture until it is broken into pieces the size of large peas. Add the shortening and continue to cut the mixture until both the butter and the shortening are broken into even smaller pieces. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of ice-cold water over the mixture. Mix with a fork, “fluffing” it from the bottom up. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of water and continue to mix just until the mixture starts to cohere in clumps. Do not overmix.
To make the pie shell: Empty the crumbs onto your counter. Using your hands, pack the dough as you would a snowball, but don’t overdo it. Place the dough ball on a piece of plastic wrap. Flatten the dough into a ¾-inch-thick disk. Wrap tightly in the plastic and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours before rolling.
Ginger Vaughan has worked for The Old Farmer's Almanac for over a decade. Like the Almanac she strives to be "useful, with a pleasant degree of humor."