Nectarine-berry Pie with Black Pepper Crust

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, plus 1 tablespoon butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces, divided
10 nectarines (about 3 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 cups blackberries
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon Demerara sugar (or any large-crystal sugar, such as Sugar in the Raw)

Combine the flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt and the black pepper. Add the 2/3 cup of butter pieces and toss to coat. Use a pastry blender or your hands to work butter into dry ingredients until flour-butter mixture resembles coarse-ground meal with no large pieces of butter visible.
Sprinkle 4 tablespoons ice water over flour mixture and stir with a fork until dough holds together and forms a ball. On a lightly floured surface, cut dough in half and shape into 2 equal disks. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
In a large bowl, toss together the nectarines, blackberries and lemon juice. You should have about 4 cups of fruit. Let stand while rolling out dough.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and allow it to stand 10 to 15 minutes. Roll out half of the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough around rolling pin. Carefully lift dough onto a 9-inch pie plate and gently press it into bottom and up sides, leaving excess dough hanging over edge.
Roll out second round of dough into a rectangle about 13 inches by 10 inches and 1/4 inch thick. Cut dough lengthwise into 8 strips about 1 inch wide.
In a bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pour mixture over fruit, stirring to coat. Then stir in the corn syrup. Fill pie shell with fruit and juices. Sprinkle over the remaining 1 tablespoon cut-up butter.
Lay half the strips of dough over top of pie. Lay remaining strips of dough diagonally over top of first strips. Or weave strips by laying 4 strips over top of pie. Fold first and third strips back (about 3/4 of the way across pie), then place a strip across second and fourth strips. Unfold first and third strips over perpendicular strip. Fold second and fourth strips back; add another strip across first and third strips. Now unfold second and fourth strips. Repeat with 2 more strips of dough, working your way across pie.
Pinch edges of dough together and fold edges under to fit pie dish. Pressing rim of dough between two fingers, flute edges.
Brush crust with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the Demerara sugar. Place pie on a baking sheet and bake for about 50 to 55 minutes until pie is well-browned and bubbly. Let pie cool to warm before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

From the Aug. 1, 2007, Mail Tribune


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