Nectarine White Chocolate Cream Pie
Now that the white chicken chili is on the stove, it’s time to turn attention to the nectarine white chocolate cream pie on the other side of the kitchen. There are quite a few seasonal fruits available – nectarines, plums, cherries, and strawberries among my favorites – so I’m hoping to do as much experimentation as possible before autumn arrives and my attention gets turned to apples, cranberries, turkey, maple, and other flavors that tend to be best when the air has a bit of a nip in it. It almost seems impossible but before we know it, it will be time to put on sweaters and light the fires.
I came across this recipe on July 30th, while reading through Bon Appetit Desserts in bed, Black Butler: Book of Circus playing on the television across the room. There were a few dozen I wanted to try so I let Aaron narrow down the list. The nectarine white chocolate cream pie came out on top, with a close second being a white chocolate peanut butter pie I will work into the schedule on a day we aren’t having anything major for one of the meals as it would be a lot more nutritional sacrifice.
For those of you who have a copy of the cookbook, this particular nectarine white chocolate cream pie recipe is found on page 248. The finished pie serves 8 people and is fairly simple, especially if you make the crust and filling a day in advance, finishing the final steps a couple of hours before you intend to serve it to your family or guests. I haven’t, yet, worked out the nutritional information or cost but it is a bit expensive between the fruit itself, almonds, and Lindt white chocolate. A really rough, back-of-the-envelope tally would put the ingredient outlay at around $15.00-$20.00 for the entire dessert, meaning if you were going to sell it in a nicer restaurant, you’d need to charge between $7.50 and $10.00 per slice to ensure a profit (though, to be fair, you’d be getting your ingredients at wholesale so you might be able to lower that a bit and still come out fine).
Ingredient List for Nectarine White Chocolate Cream Pie Recipe
Crust of the Pie
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 7 whole graham crackers (about 4 ounces)
- ½ cup whole almonds
- 4 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), chopped
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Filling of the Pie
- 2⅓ cups whole milk
- ½ vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ cup sugar
- 3 large egg yolks
- Pinch of salt
- 5 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), chopped
- 1 tablespoon amaretto or other almond liqueur
- 2 ripe nectarines or peaches, pitted, sliced
- 1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- White chocolate shavings or curls (optional)
- Nectarine or peach slices (optional)
At this point, I’ll let the pictures do the talking …
I’m ready to make this nectarine white chocolate cream pie! The red currant jelly is for another recipe I’m going to make next week; a glazed plum cheesecake. Don’t pay any attention to it.
As with most pies, we start with the crust. We used 7 whole graham crackers (4 ounces) and 1/2 cup of whole almonds for the first part of the pie crust.
The almonds and graham crackers need to be chopped together in a food processor to make them really fine with no large pieces remaining. We use a 16-cup Magimix, which deserves every one of the fantastic reviews it gets.
In a few seconds, the blade had reduced it all to this …
Now we need to get some white chocolate to mix in with the graham cracker and almond crust. As recommended, we opted for Switzerland’s Lindt. They are not only great at what they do, making some of the world’s finest chocolates, they are convenient to use in the kitchen because, as we discovered after breaking out the food scale, each square of white chocolate is 1/8th an ounce, making measurement nearly effortless.
We need 4 ounces of white chocolate for this step …
We add the Lindt white chocolate to a pan with 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces for faster melting, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
The scent from this as the white chocolate, butter, and salt melted together, was intoxicating. Both of us broke into a smile. Aaron asked, “Are we in the wrong business? Maybe we should be doing this for a living.” I would be very happy as a candy maker or chocolatier running a little shop in a town square somewhere, provided it was in the mountains and affluent.
When it’s all smooth and blended together, pour the heated white chocolate mixture into the graham cracker and almond base, which is still sitting inside of the food processor.
You can tell it is already starting to cool so we need to hurry and pulse together before that happens.
Something like 10 or 12 pulses later, it is all blended. The fragrance was even better than the sum of its parts. The moment we opened the food processor, it was like being transported somewhere magical. If you had a bakery, and could pipe that scent through the air system and onto the street, I’d wager profits would rise.
Turns out I should have doubled the pie crust as we only have oversized pie dishes that have a disproportionately large lip on the traditional 9″ base. Oh well. Since this is a test recipe, I’ll keep going instead of making another batch but next time, if I use the same pie dish, I need to make a lot more crust regardless of what Bon Appetit says and get that huge, thick edge around the cream pie. For some people, that’s the best part. I probably should buy some smaller pie plates, too. I’m so used to making my own proportions for things like the granny smith apple pies, I occasionally forget some recipes, especially older ones, do this. The last time it happened was November of 2012 when I went to make two pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving.
At this point, the pie needs to cool. We are going to go back to the chili recipe we are making and let this sit in the refrigerator overnight … See you tomorrow.
We’re back. Time to get serious about this nectarine white chocolate pie. With the crust in the refrigerator, the filling, or custard, needs to be made.
First, put 2 1/2 cups of whole milk in a pan along with 1/2 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise. Set it aside.
Next, chop 5 ounces of high-quality white chocolate. Again we are using Lindt, but something like Perugina could substitute.
This was so much fun … I went with small cuts so it melts faster.
Now, you need to add 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1/4 cup sugar, 3 large egg yolks, and a pinch of salt to a large bowl that you set aside on its own.
Finally, put aside a tablespoon of amaretto or some other form of almond liqueur.
Now, before we get started on the stove, whisk the bowl that had the egg yolks, corn starch, sugar, and salt so that it is smooth. Keep it handy.
Put the milk and vanilla onto the stove, bringing it to a simmer.
Once it is simmering, turn off the stove and then pour it slowly, a little bit at a time, from the pan into the now-blended bowl of egg yolks, whisking it all together to form a single mixture. When it’s all perfectly consistent, transfer it from the bowl back into the pan.
With the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, salt, milk, and vanilla all back on the stove and in one pan, turn up the heat to high and bring it to a boil so it will thicken, whisking constantly. This will take 3-4 minutes.
You’ll notice the texture changing. It’s becoming richer, thicker, and more beautiful. Congratulations, you’ve made a custard!
When the mixture is thick (again, 3-4 minutes), turn off the heat and move the pan to a cold burner. Add the amaretto or almond liqueur and the white chocolate to the mixture, whisking constantly until it is all melted and incorporated into a beautifully smooth texture.
That’s what I’m talking about right there. This is the heart of the nectarine white chocolate cream pie. Put it in the refrigerator until it is cool, uncovered, still in the pot (be sure to put an oven mitt or cloth down so you don’t shatter your glass shelves due to the temperature difference). This will take around an hour in most cases. (If you are making this recipe beforehand, once it has cooled in the refrigerator, you can take it out, put plastic wrap over it, and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before proceeding to the next step. That won’t be necessary here since we are serving it later today. Ours took a little more than an hour to get cold but we keep our refrigerator at 47 degrees Fahrenheit).
I’m back! While the white chocolate cream pie filling was cooling, I went and played a game of Civilization V. Now, before I take the filling out of the refrigerator, I need to slice two large nectarines, removing the pit and placing them aside for one of my next steps.
Perfect. The vanilla white chocolate custard has cooled, the pie crust was made last night, and the nectarines are cut. It’s little more than assembly from this point.
Using a spoon, stir the chilled filling and remove all of the hard, long, black bits of vanilla by hand, leaving behind the countless, tiny black seeds. Then whisk the cream pie filling together until it is smooth and flawless. Once it’s ready, take half of the contents and put it into the pie crust, spreading with a spatula to form a base that can support the fruit.
Lay out the nectarines over the white chocolate cream pie foundation, fitting it all in as flatly as you can. This is going to be covered again in a few minutes so there is no need to use a fancy design. Nobody will ever see it and cutting the pie will destroy it.
Using the last half of the remaining white chocolate cream pie filling, cover the nectarines, spreading with a spatula evenly across the top. Now, you need to put the pie into the refrigerator for a minimum of two hours.
I’m waiting … waiting … two hours need to pass. Back to my Civilization V game. I’m playing as Poland on Emperor difficulty.
There, done! Internet time is magic time.
We put 1 cup of chilled heavy whipping cream and 2 tablespoons of sugar into a KitchenAid mixer for a few minutes to create whipped cream, which we are now going to use to cover the top of the nectarine white chocolate cream pie.
Alright, the whipped cream has been spread across the pie, with a dollop in the center for good measure …
Next, we add some shavings of Lindt white chocolate for both flavor and accent …
Finally, we add a few more nectarine slices on top for color …
And, we’re done! Our nectarine white chocolate cream pie – which, really should be called a Lindt white chocolate cream pie – is ready to enjoy. After seeing the recipe, it’s clear this could be used for almost any fruit. You could easily substitute strawberries or peaches, plums of apricots in it. I need to memorize both the crust and the white chocolate vanilla custard as they could be adapted under a variety of circumstances.
Since we cleaned up in steps, the kitchen isn’t too messy, either. My mom is going to stop by to try it in a few minutes. I think the rest of the family will be here tomorrow so I need to finish a few things.
One more shot … I liked making this.
Alright, two more. I like how the pie looks.
Update: The pie has been cut, the family has tried it. Mom brought a piece home to my dad and youngest sister, both of whom raved about it. My dad called it “phenomenal”, which is a word he doesn’t use often, and my sister wants “15 pieces” on reserve the next time we make it as it is now required that I bring it to family dinners. My dad said he grew up with a nectarine tree by the swimming pool behind his house in California and he’d eat off it as a kid, often a bit before ripeness, so he loves the fruit despite almost never getting it. I will now be making these for the rest of my life. I never would have guessed the reaction.
My mom, Aaron, and I thought it was good, definitely a summer dessert as it tastes very light. (When it comes to dessert, the three of us are more into decadence. If one does not feel the need to repent after the first bite, the recipe can be improved. Not everyone falls into this school of thought.) We would prefer the nectarines even more tender, almost to the point of bananas prior to use in banana bread. Perhaps I could soak them in a solution of amaretto and sugar or some other combination to soften them and impart a sweeter, more distinct flavor. We all want to give it a go with strawberries. If I could come up with some sort of strawberry reduction to drizzle onto the cut slices … this needs to happen and it needs to happen now. It would not only taste great, it would be visually arresting, the contrast of scarlet against white. Aaron thinks that a peach version, with a touch of peach schnapps, might be another possibility that could entice certain people who have an affinity for that particular fruit.
The bottom line verdict? If you like nectarines, you’ll love this nectarine white chocolate cream pie. If you don’t, the core of the recipe would work with almost any sweet fruit you can imagine so adapt it to your own family’s palette.