Pie for breakfast, Pie for lunch, Pie for teatime, dinnertime and Pie for midnight snack.
-Song made up upon tasting this recipe
Well, last Sunday it was peaches, plums and raspberries and I think I'll be keeping my theme of end-of-summer fruits for Sunday baking this week.
Besides eating local food that's in season (and, of course, cooking your own food), one way to cut costs in your food budget is to get what's on sale in bulk and cook it up right away (look for what I did with some past-its-sell-by-date very cheap lamb later this week). Although I don't usually buy fruits and vegetables at the supermarket, preferring the farmer's market, I couldn't stop myself when I saw a whole flat of nectarines (grown in France) for 2 euros this week! They weren't quite ripe yet but a few days in the sun (or under the cloudy parisian skies in this case) took care of that problem and then I had a whole flat of nectarines to use.
First I made a nectarine compote at D's request. It was extremely simple: I just boiled the nectarines in a little bit of water and sugar with a dash of vanilla and lemon juice. The hardest part was peeling, pitting and slicing the nectarines. We had some warm and some cold and some over ice cream. It was absolutely delicious however we ate it.
Then, at the organic farmer's market yesterday, there were greengages (or Reine Claude's) all over and I was inspired by Sam's search for them in a recent post (sorry Sam, not trying to make you jealous, but if you pop over to Paris, I can tell you where to find some), and so I bought some to pair with the rest of my nectarines. I thought I would make a regular pie, but leafing through one of my favorite recipe books, The Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts, I saw a recipe for peach pie with a gingerbread crust and I knew I had found the touch my fruit needed. The filling proposed by the recipe had fresh ginger root in it. I didn't put any in because D. has an aversion to it (why??), but I'm sure it would be delicious.
1 1/2 cups white flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chilled butter (I actually used a bit less than that because I didn't have enough butter in the house, but it turned out just fine)
1 Tbsp molasses (I haven't found molasses in France, so I used 1 Tbsp honey and a tiny bit of vanilla extract)
2 Tbsp cold water
5 nectarines, sliced
1 generous handful greengages, cut in half and pitted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 375F.
To make the crust, mix together the flour, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, salt and baking powder (the original recipe says to sift but I just used my fingers to crumble any lumps). Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or your fingers. Work until the mixture is crumbly and resembles cornmeal. Drizzle the molasses (or honey) and water over the mixture and mix with your fingertips until the crumbs begin to cling together.
Set aside 1/2 cup of the crust dough and knead the rest into a ball. Press it into the bottom and sides of a pie pan and bake for 10-15 minutes. (My crust was sticking to the pie pan once the pie was cooked so I might try greasing it next time.)
Toss together the peaches, greengages, brown sugar, and nutmeg. Dissolve the cornstarch into the lemon juice. Drizzle over the fruit and mix together.
When the crust is baked, pour the fruit into the pie pan. Crumble the remaining dough on top and bake the pie for 40-55 minutes. Check the pie during cooking and cover with aluminum foil if the crust is getting very brown.
When the pie is done (fruit tender, juice bubbling, crust browned), remove from the oven and cool before serving.