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Salt and Stone: Nectarine and Cream Pie is the flavor of summer

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nectarine pic

Look closely under those nectarines and you'll find a layer of decadent cream.

I’ll keep this week’s words short and to the point. And in all honesty, I don’t have much to say these days. I feel myself pulled in several directions as I try to focus on enjoying the last of summer with my family while at the same time my mind is going a million miles an hour thinking about the fall and school starting back up again … from home.

I’m one of the lucky ones, with a flexible schedule that allows me to work from home. I can manage my kids’ school needs but my heart is with so many families who are scrambling right now to figure out child care, educational needs, work schedules and Zoom logins. It’s not easy for anyone, even under the best of circumstances.

Sometimes you just need pie. And this particular recipe wraps up all of summer’s goodness into one easy and satisfying recipe. A graham cracker crust comes together in five minutes flat (especially if you buy the pre-crushed graham crackers). A silky, creamy no-bake filling has the decadence of a cheesecake without the blocks of cream cheese. And the star of the show is a giant pile of fresh, juicy nectarines with a kiss of sugar and lemon juice to bring out all their bright-sweet flavor.

This is one of those recipes you’ll fall back on again and again. Don’t worry too much if you don’t have or don’t prefer nectarines. Just choose a seasonal fruit that is fresh, ripe and available. Blueberries, raspberries, peaches, blackberries, cherries or strawberries would all be lovely additions to this recipe.

• Andrea McCoy writes the column Kitchen Captivated for Yakima Magazine and at The Salt and Stone, a home cooking blog. She writes this column for Thursday’s SCENE section. The Salt and Stone is a nod not just to the essence of cooking, but also to the Yakima Valley. Read more at www.thesaltandstone.com.

Nectarine and Cream Pie

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

6 tablespoons melted butter

2 tablespoons softened cream cheese

1/2 cup whole milk plain yogurt

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup powdered sugar

5-6 cups sliced nectarines

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Using a wooden spoon, combine the ingredients until they make a dough. Press into a 9 inch pie tin that’s been lightly coated with cooking spray. Bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes until the crust turns a golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese, yogurt, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 4 minutes. With the mixer on medium-low, pour the heavy whipping cream into the bowl.

Turn the mixer to high and beat until a thick cream forms. Taste and adjust flavors as you prefer. Store cream in the refrigerator until ready to assemble pie.

In another bowl, wash and thinly slice nectarines. Sprinkle with brown sugar and lemon juice. Mix to combine. To assemble the pie, pour the cream into the graham cracker crust. Use a spatula to smooth the cream evenly. Carefully top the cream with sliced fruit. Serve immediately. Store any extras in the refrigerator.

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