Cornmeal Crust (enough for a 9” lattice topped pie)
(Baker’s note- these components started out at Stella Notte as a scone recipe and then a shortcake biscuit. Somewhere along the way, we set aside the eggs and leaveners, arriving at this. It is more hearty than flaky, qualifying it as breakfast and equally delicious teamed with berries of the red and blue variety. Check the oven during the baking process; if the crust is browning too much for your liking, add some foil strips around the edge.)
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup finely ground cornmeal
2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
½ cup + 2 Tablespoons buttermilk
egg wash for painting the lattice (I use one egg yolk + a few Tablespoons of cream)
1-2 Tablespoons granulated sugar to sprinkle on top of lattice or cut-outs
I like to start this out in the food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse together the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, salt and zest. Then add the cubed butter and pulse a few times. Turn this crumbly mixture out into a large bowl and gradually add the buttermilk, using either your fingers or a fork or a rubber bench scraper to moisten the dry ingredients. Gather the dough together, divide it in two discs and wrap in plastic. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour before rolling out.
One disc will fit a 9” pie plate; the lattice or cut-outs can be rolled and cut from the second. Chill the unbaked crusts while you prepare the filling.
The White Peach/Nectarine filling
6 cups total of ripe sliced peaches and nectarines (If you are shy on one or the other, not to worry. The goal here is to have 6 cups of fruit; the sweeter the fruit, the better the pie. Depending on their size, you will need approximately 2 ½ - 3 lbs. of fruit prior to peeling, pitting and slicing. I only peel the peaches, I don’t bother to peel the nectarines.)
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 Tablespoons of quick-cooking tapioca (that has been pulverized in the food processor- do one whole box at a time and then you have it on hand)
¼ teaspoon spice of your choice (Spices are a personal preference- less is more here because you want to taste the fruit. A grating of fresh nutmeg and ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon should suffice. Folks I work with use allspice or ginger.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine peaches, nectarines, lemon juice and zest, tossing to coat.
In a small bowl, whisk together sugars, tapioca and spice. Sprinkle over fruit, tossing a bit until combined. Turn the filling into your prepared pie plate, top with lattice strips or cut-outs. Seal the edges, trim the excess and crimp with fingers or a fork. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Place the pie on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. (If edges are getting too brown, cover with strips of foil.) Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake an additional 35-40 minutes until the fruit is bubbling. Set aside to cool on a rack.