Nectarine Elderflower Pie w/ a Hint of White Pepper.

Summer is now technically over. It still feels a lot like summer weather wise, so we still have a good deal of stone fruit hanging around at the farmer’s market. I hadn’t really picked up any nectarines this year, so I gathered a bag of white and yellow mixed together. They were super beautiful and fragrant and I wanted to make them into something.

I have been making a lot of my own liqueurs lately–nocino, limoncello, vanilla extract (that’s not really a liqueur, but it’s still boozy so it counts). I was thinking that next spring I’d like to try my hand at making my own elderflower liqueur like St. Germain. I know a few spots around LA where there are some great elderflower trees that generally produce a ton of flowers. I harvested some a few years ago and made elderflower syrup from them which I ended using mostly to make spritzers….yeah I said it.

Anyhow, where I’m going with this whole elderflower business is that I ended up having a Waitress moment and knew that elderflower and nectarine had to come together to make a pie. I went out and bought a tiny bottle of St. Germain since I won’t be able to make my own until next year. I also acquired some organic dried elderflowers and a pie was born.

Nectarine Elderflower Pie w/ a Hint of White Pepper

Ingredients:

1 heaping tbsp dried elderflowers

2 pie crusts, use your favorite recipe–while adding the dry ingredients, add the dried elderflowers. Continue to make your crusts using your usual methods or method called for in the recipe you’re using. I like Martha Stwewart’s Pate Brisee, or the buttery double crust recipe from Vegan Pie in the Sky.

Filling:

5 c mixed nectarines, pitted and sliced

1/2 c unbleached cane sugar

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 vanilla bean, scraped

1 tbsp St. Germain elderflower liqueur

1 1/2 tbsp arrowroot powder

1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper

Method: Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine all filling ingredients in a bowl and give it a mix. Roll out your bottom crust and line your pie plate. Pour the filling into the plate. Roll out your top crust and make lattice shapes, or just cover you pie (remember a pie bird or to cut vents for steam). Bake for 15 min at 425°F. Lower oven temp to 350°F and bake for about 45 minutes. Let pie cool completely if you want it to hold a slice. If you don’t care, just let it cool enough not to burn yourself and go for it!

Apple Pickin’ + Apple-Cherry Pie w/ Cardamon & Black Pepper.

I had another glorious day on a farm last weekend. Just….glorious. A few friends and I headed to the Oak Glen area of Yucaipa to get our apple pick on. My favorite farm in the area is Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho, so that’s where we went. I’ve been to other farms out there and again, this one has been my running favorite for the past few years. Not only are they super helpful and friendly, but they have the best fruit. They offer u-pick raspberries, strawberries and several varieties of apples. While Riley’s is not a certified organic farm, all of the fruit is chemical free. I went a few years ago and got the best Gravenstein apples I’ve ever had, but they are no longer available for u-pick. The farm did have Granny Smith, Spartan, Red & Golden Delicious for u-pick when we visited though. Score. Super sweet 4 variety of u-pick apple score. 

We arrived at the tail end of raspberry season, so pickings were a little slim. Danielle and Brian combed the through the raspberry bushes and were able to get a pretty decent yield. The photos above are from a few years ago when I hit up the farm at the very beginning of apple season and the berries were out of control amazing. My friends and I left with a ton of them and I had to end up freezing a bunch because I went overboard.

Gravensteins from days of yore

On our recent visit, we were blessed with a beautiful, slightly overcast but cool day. It was the perfect backdrop for the day.

First up we headed to the Red & Golden Delicious part of the orchard.

Red Delicious Perfection. Photo by Danielle of Look Pretty.
Golden Delicious

The gangs all here picking Granny Smiths: Danielle, Brian, Michelle
Granny Smith

 

 

 

I’m always happy at a farm. 🙂
The yield: The two little ones in the bottom left corner are the only Spartans I was able to get. I took home a ton of Granny Smith & Red Delicious, as they were the most ripe.

And you know I wouldn’t go apple picking without making a pie when I got home! 😉 This is the third Apple-Cherry pie combo, I’ve attempted. While the others weren’t awful, I think this one def hits the spot!

Apple-Cherry Pie w/ Cardamon & Black Pepper

Ingredients:

2 pie crusts (use your favorite recipe)

3 c Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced

2 c tart cherries

1/2 c plus 2 tbsp unbleached cane sugar

1 1/2 tbsp unbleached all purpose flour

1 tbsp cherry brandy

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cardamon

1/4 tsp cinnamon

pinch nutmeg

pinch salt

a few shakes of freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine all the filling ingredients in a medium or large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Roll out your crust and lay it into your pie plate of choice. If you’re feeling fancy, roll a little bit of black pepper into your crust. In retrospect, I should have done that and probably will next time. 🙂 Once you’ve got your bottom crust in your pie plate. Go ahead and add the filling. If a lot of juice has accumulated in your mixing bowl, add 3/4 of it and discard the rest. Now, you can do any type of top you like. I did lattice and cut out some little leaf shapes with the scraps. Feel free to just cover up the whole pie though if you don’t feel like lattice or shapes, but remember to cut some vents for steam.