Nectarine Pie and Mindfulness

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There is something gloriously cathartic about making a fresh pie crust.  For me I happened to find that is a true opportunity to practice mindfulness…

Nectarine PieWhich is actually a form of meditation.  Theoretically it helps your brain sort out and clean out and organize things better when you meditate or practice mindfulness. What a bonus then that I love to make pie-crust ever so much.  My grandmother taught me when I was very young and I’ve been making it for as long as I can remember.  I have tweaked her recipe a little however, and have a few favorite pies that I like to make in my piecrust.

But it’s the process that’s amazing isn’t it?  It’s deliberate and methodical and not very fast.  The mixing in the butter and shortening, the rolling and shaping, it’s all so rhythmic. No wonder it’s a time for my brain to move away from the never -ending to do list in my head and to just be…. Herein lies the mindfulness part.

Please enjoy my pie crust recipe which I use for both savory and sweet pies… See my favorite fruit pie below, which is nectarine. And I hope you get to enjoy some mindfulness making your pie as well.

 

Nectarine Pie

 

Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 1/4 cups COLD fats – a combination of shortening and butter (I usually do 3/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup shortening).  shortening makes it flakier and a little harder to handle, butter makes it buttery and more stretchy.

8-10 Tbsp ice water

Mix flour, sugar and salt in a bowl.  Add fats in 1-2 Tbsp.- sized chunks and mix in with a pastry blender, 2 butter knives, or pulse a few times in the food processor until the butter and shortening pieces are about the size of small peas.  NO SMALLER or the crust will be dry and tough. Add 8 Tbsp. ice water and mix in with a fork.  If the dough does not come together in a ball, add up to 2 more Tbsp. of ice water and mix in with a fork.  Shape dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (colder is better here).  This part can be done up to 2 days before.

 

Pie Filling

3 1/2 pounds nectarines cut into chunks  – do not peel (you can replace up to 1 pound of the nectarines with peaches, plums, pluots, blackberries, blueberries, or raspberries without adjusting the the rest of the recipe – get creative!)

Zest and juice of 1 lime

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar

3 Tbsp. tapioca

3 Tbsp. flour

Mix cleaned and cut up fruit, lime zest and juice, and 1 cup of sugar together in a bowl.  Put remaining 2 Tbsp sugar, tapioca and flour into a spice grinder / coffee grinder and grind together until fine, then dump into bowl and mix in.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and let sit on the counter so the flavors can develop and the fruit can sweeten and plump for about an hour.  Then use in assembly of pie below.

 

Pie Assembly

Remove dough ball from refrigerator, and cut in half.  Roll each piece on a floured cold surface (like the kitchen counter) into a large circle that fits in your (approximately 10-inch) pie plate with about 2-3 inches of an overhang.  Gently push the crust into the corners of the pan.  Add filling, top (with vents), and then crimp edges closed with a fork or your fingers.  Brush top crust with egg white or oil (grapeseed, vegetable, canola) and then sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 450 F for 25 minutes until top is golden.  Don’t open the door of the oven, reduce the temperature to 375 F, and bake another 25-30 minutes until filling is bubbly.  Let cool at least an hour before serving.

 

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