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Monday, April 27, 2020

Flaky Nectarine Pie | The Biggest Little Farm #FoodnFlix

Nectarine Pie w/ Flaky, Melt-In-Your-Mouth Crust
Have you ever cried watching a documentary about farming? I mean, if you had, it'd be okay. I mean, we've all done it. Right? No? Just me? That's fine. I'm okay with possibly being the only person who cried while watching this month's Food 'n Flix selection...a documentary...called The Biggest Little Farm. The Biggest Little Farm tracks the life of John and Molly Chester as they start on the daunting "adventure" of a lifetime in 2010. And as John tells us in the film, it all begins with a promise to their rescue dog, Todd {sniff}.

When the film starts, the Chesters are living in an apartment. Molly has a blog and a container garden on the balcony, but has dreamed about having their own farm. I don't want to spoil the film, so I'll just say that circumstances arise that send the couple on a hunt to find a new place to they start looking into land. The land they find is vast, but basically dead; it's devoid of nutrients. But they purchase it anyway.

After a good amount of research, Molly and John reach out to Alan York, an expert on biodiversity, and he agrees to help them bring the land back to life. It's an often grueling journey as they work to revive the land. A journey that builds not only the farm of their dreams, but friendship and family.
Nectarine Pie w/ Flaky, Melt-In-Your-Mouth Crust
Today, Apricot Lane Farms thrives because of those biodynamic, unconventional methods that they worked so hard to achieve. According to their website, "the farm is treated as a micro-ecosystem managed through methods best described as biomimicry mimicking the biological balance found in [our] earth’s ecosystem allows for a less destructive and healthier farm. In fact, the methods enhance the land, wildlife habitat, and the life of those who work it and the food it grows."

So yes, this documentary pulled on my heartstrings, but it also inspired me...and assured me that I do not have the patience to start a farm (though I'd love to, hypothetically).

As far as inspiration goes—it abounds! Apricot Lane Farms has pretty much everything one could desire. But for me, it was their amazing orchards, that include over 75 different kinds of stonefruit trees! I love pretty much any kind of stonefruit, and it's special to me since I grew up picking peaches and cherries from my grandparents trees in Michigan. *Small spoiler* At the very end of the film, Molly and John are walking the farm with their son, and he mentions picking nectarines. And what is better than nectarine pie made with fruit picked ripe from the tree? Not a whole lot.

Oh, and this crust. THIS CRUST! It's ridiculous. Like NO other. It takes a little time to make it, but it's amazingly melt-in-your-mouth flaky. So, combined with juicy nectarines (throw some blueberries in there if you have 'em, too), this is one of the best pies around.

One of the orchards at Apricot Lane Farms, The Biggest Little Farm #FoodnFlix
An Apricot Lane Farms Orchard

Food 'n Flix club logo
This month's edition of Food 'n Flix is being hosted by Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm with her pick, The Biggest Little Farm; submissions are due April 28, 2020.

Join us next month as we head into the kitchen with our host Debra of Eliot's Eats with her pick, Midnight in Paris.

For inspiration, check out the Food 'n Flix website (click on any of the roundups listed to see what participants have been inspired to make by the movie choice), all of my past Food 'n Flix posts, or my Food 'n Flix Pinterest board!

Yield: serves 8

Nectarine Pie w/ Flaky, Melt-In-Your-Mouth Crust

Juicy summer nectarines tucked inside the flakiest crust you've ever eaten.
prep time: 2 hourcook time: 1 H & 30 Mtotal time: 3 H & 30 M


For the crust:
  • 20 tablespoons (2½ sticks) salted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 7 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons rendered lard (or use more butter)
  • 3+3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 big pinches of himalayan pink sea salt (or any fine grain salt)
For the filling:
  • 8 cups ripe nectarines, unpeeled, pitted, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon himalayan pink sea salt (or any fine grain salt)
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
To finish:
  • 1 egg white, beaten, at room temperature
  • granulated sugar


How to cook Nectarine Pie w/ Flaky, Melt-In-Your-Mouth Crust

Make the crust:
  1. Combine butter, cream, and lard in a bowl until smooth (can use a mixer with paddle attachment).
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt together in another small bowl, then add a third of the flour mixture to the butter, beating until it starts to absorb. Add remaining flour mixture and beat until the dough just starts to come together and looks scraggly. Use your hands to gently finish forming it into a smooth ball of dough. Divide in half; wrap each half in plastic wrap and flatten into disks. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but up to 3 days.
  3. Set one disk of dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to a thickness of 1/4". Fold it in half twice, then re-roll it so you have a circle of dough that is 12" in diameter. The folding creates flaky layers in the finished crust. Transfer to a 9" pie plate (preferably glass) and trim the edges so that they are even with the rim of the pan. Set in freezer for 1 hour.
  4. In the meantime, repeat the rolling/folding/re-rolling process with the second portion of dough. Trim the edges so that they form a fairly uniform circle that is at least 1" wider than your pie pan all the way around. Set on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet or cutting board and transfer this dough to the freezer, as well.
Parbake your bottom crust:
  1. After 1 hour, preheat the oven to 425° F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Remove pie pan from freezer and set it on the prepared baking sheet. Fill the crust with baking weights or dried beans, slide into the oven, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes - remove the top portion of dough from the freezer during the final 15 minutes!
Make the filling:
  1. In a large bowl, toss together the nectarines, lemon juice, both sugars, cornstarch, salt, brandy, and vanilla gently. Set aside to macerate for about 30 minutes.
Putting it all together:
  1. While the crust is cooling, reduce the oven temperature to 350° F.
  2. Pour the nectarine filling into the pre-baked pie shell. Use a pastry brush to moisten the exposed edges of the bottom pie crust with some of the egg white.
  3. Set the slightly thawed piece of dough, evenly centered, over the fruit. Press down around the edges with your fingers to seal, folding under any dough as you wish, and trim any excess from the edges. With a paring knife, cut some shallow slits in the center of the dough to create air vents. Brush the top dough with a layer of egg white and sprinkle with a thin coating of granulated sugar.
  4. Set the pie back on the foil-covered baking sheet and slide the whole thing into the oven. Bake until the pie is deeply golden on top, and you can see the bubbling, thickened juices through the vents, 60-75 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool completely before serving. Loosely cover the completely cooled pie and store in the refrigerator, or at a cool room temperature. Heat before serving, if you like.


Slightly adapted from The Perfect Finish: Special Desserts for Every Occasion by Bill Yosses and Melissa Clark.
Created using The Recipes Generator

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