Although peach pie is a summer classic, we wanted to try and highlight a few of our other favorite summer fruits in a simple pie for two. Nectarines can be every bit as intoxicating as peaches when ripe, and they’re even easier to prepare—no fussy peeling necessary. Raspberries add a tart-sweet counterpoint to the nectarines, and when cooked, they break down slightly, creating a thick and vibrant filling. Even ripe nectarines, however, vary in juiciness from season to season and from nectarine to nectarine, making it difficult to know just how much thickener or sweetener a pie will need. We wanted to create a filling that was juicy but not swimming in liquid, its flavors neither muscled out by spices nor overwhelmed by thickeners. And we wanted a double crust, one that would be buttery, flaky, and well browned. If you don’t have a food processor, see note below regarding Hand Mixing Pie Dough.–The Editors of America’s Test Kitchen
LC Improv Note
How utterly charming is the notion of pie for just two? (Or, in the case of large appetites, pie for just one.) And how perfectly impractical should you lack the 6-inch pie plate this clever notion requires! But wait. Instead, drape the pie crust in your smallest cast-iron skillet or casserole, your largest ramekin, even a modest-size stoneware or other heatproof bowl. Worse comes to worse, simple roll each portion of crust out on parchment paper into a largeish circle. Either spoon the filling a little off to the side fashion a hand pie by folding the dough over and crimping the edges to create a half moon shape or create a rustic galette by dumping the filling in the center of the dough and folding the edges back onto the filling so as to leave the outer parts covered but the center of the filling exposed. Comedians have their take on improv. We home cooks have ours.
2 H, 25 M
Special Equipment: 6-inch pie plate
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Process the flour, sugar, and salt together in a food processor until combined. Scatter the shortening over the top and process until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 10 seconds. Scatter the butter pieces over the top and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.
Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture. Stir and press the dough together, using a stiff rubber spatula, until the dough sticks together. If the dough does not come together, stir in the remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it does.
Divide the dough into 2 even pieces. Turn each piece of dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten each into a 3-inch disk. Wrap each piece tightly in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Before rolling out the dough, let it sit on the counter to soften slightly, about 10 minutes. (The wrapped dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month. If frozen, let the dough thaw completely on the counter before rolling it out.)
Roll out one disk of dough into a 9-inch circle on a lightly floured counter, then fit it into a 6-inch pie plate, letting the excess dough hang over the edge; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Roll out the other disk of dough into a 9-inch circle on a lightly floured counter, then transfer to a parchment paper–lined plate; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, place a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and heat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
Meanwhile, toss the nectarines, raspberries, and 1/4 cup of the sugar together in a medium bowl, and let sit, tossing occasionally, until the fruit releases its juice, about 20 minutes.
Drain the fruit thoroughly through a colander, reserving 1 tablespoon of the juice. In a medium bowl, toss the drained fruit, reserved juice, cornstarch, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt together until well combined. (If the fruit tastes tart, add up to 1 1/2 tablespoons more sugar.)
Spread the fruit in the dough-lined pie plate, mounding it slightly in the middle. Following the photos, gently arrange the second piece of pie dough over the pie. Trim, fold, and crimp the edges, and cut 3 vent holes in the top. Brush the crust with the egg white and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar.
Place the pie on the heated baking sheet and bake until the top crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F (190°C), rotate the baking sheet, and continue to bake until the juices are bubbling and the crust is deep golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes longer. Let the pie cool on a wire rack until the filling has set, about 1 1/2 hours. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
Raspberry-Nectarine Pie Recipe © 2009 The Editors of America's Test Kitchen. Photo © 2009 Daniel J. Van Ackere. All rights reserved. All materials used with permission.