Dried Apricot Pie
I've given up on trying to find good apricots in my community. (Oh, how sweet it would be to live in San Francisco and have easy access to their Farmers' Markets!)
Does anyone have a recipe for a really good apricot pie using dried apricots?
Rats! And I thought using dried fruits for pies was my secret for making great pies. I never use dried fruits exclusively however. Rather I add them to fresh fruit pies to absorb some of the sweet juice from the other fruits. The taster can never guess which is fresh or which is formerly dried, so I don’t tell them. In addition, one can add or offset pie sweetness/tartness by the fruit combinations being used. If making sweet peach pie, for example, I will offset the sweetness with dried sour cherries or apricots. (Apricots this year were very nicely tart.) For a tart fresh fruit pie such as this year’s apricots, on the other hand, I will add dried sweet strawberries, blueberries or peaches.
Let’s keep this our secret. Okay?
I find the dried version of apricots better anyway because you are guaranteed supply. I rehydrate the apricots overnight, along with dried mixed fruit, in sugar syrup, orange juice and rum adding two cinnamon quills, three or four star anise and a few cardamom seeds and a little brown sugar for colour. Once plumped up I cook it a little to reduce the liquid and intensify the flavour. I blind bake a sweet short crust pastry base, fill it and then make a trellis pattern over the top, dust with sugar and bake a few minutes to cook the trellised pastry. Yum, yum. Don't forget to take out all the spice pieces - not nice to bite on. I know this isn't traditional apricot pie but it has a great taste especially with a dollop of Creme Fraiche.
Somewhat tangentially, let me recommend the spectacularly good dried apricots (and other dried fruit) from www.apricotking.com in Hollister, CA. The smaller ones, which are cheaper but just as tasty, would be fine for your purposes. I order from them regularly and noticed that they have a special promo starting 9/7.
Rainey---I did see the part about timing and I agree, this was somehow meant to be :0)
Greygarious and HillJ---oh my, those mail order apricots look awesome. And who can resist when there's a special promo coming up?
Question for GreyG----by "the smaller ones," do you mean:
****the Cot King Specials ("These incredible apricots are medium in size and extra large in flavor...being Home Grown in the Flavor Zone! Their smaller size make them perfect for using in your favorite recipes or simply eating right out of the bag.") or
***the diced apricots ("Many of our recipes call for chopped Blenheim apricots. We have them already diced and bagged for you. Perfect for pie making or for jam. They're low in sulphur, prefect for baking and ready to mix with our recipes.")
Thanks so much.
What a timely question! I've been trying to get a copy of Gayle Ortiz' out of print "The Villiage Baker's Wife" cookbook for *years*. I recently found a copy and I was reading through it last night. This is one of the recipes that stood out as one I hope to find an occasion to try.
The short rundown (in my own words):
Make a crust of"
• 1 1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
• 1 1/2 cups AP flour
• 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
• 1 cup walnut pieces
• 6 tbs cold butter, cut into small cubes
• 1 tbs water
• 1 tsp vanilla
She uses a food processor to chop the chocolate and then combine the dry ingredients. She adds the walnuts and pulses a few times to break them up. Then she adds the butter and pulses a few more times to get a meal. Now the water and vanilla go in for a few pulses until she has a crumbly mass.
She presses half of this onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9" springform.
Now she makes a filling of:
• 8 oz dried apricots
• 1/2 cup of sugar
• 2 tbs AP flour
• 2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
All the filling ingredients go in a heavy saucepan (sorry don't know what size; she doesn't say and I haven't done it yet so you'll judge and let us know I hope) adding water to just cover the fruit and brings it to a boil, while stirring. She decreases the heat to a simmer and continues simmering until the fruit is soft The liquid should be thick and it could take 5 minutes or so but the time depends on just how dry the fruit is and how quickly or slowly it takes up the water.
Take the pan off the heat and set it aside to cool. When cool, turn the mixture into a food processor and whirl to create a coarse purée to fill your chocolate shell.
Turn the fruit into the springform making sure that you have 1/2" of exposed crust on the side. Now sprinkle the loose reserved crust mixture around the perimeter of the springform to create a dam around and above the fruit. Finish by sprinkling over the top and patting to enclose all the filling.
Bake in the center of a 350 degree oven for 25-35 minutes looking for it to achieve a golden brown. Cool it on a wire rack. You can remove the sides of the pan and serve when it's completely cool.
She says it will keep at room temp for 4 days if you wrap it tightly, in a fridge for a week or in the freezer for as many as 2 weeks.
This sounds like an excellent alternative for the colder months when fresh fruit won't be available or have much flavor.
Thanks so much. This is exactly the kind of info I wanted!
Professor---I had not thought of combining dried fruits for a pie. What a great idea! Apricots and dried cherries sound really good to me---maybe with a wee bit of almond extract..... Lots of possibilities here :0)
Chinaplate---That Epicurious recipe looks very good. The reviewers RAVE about the crust....
Rainey---thank you so very much for paraphasing that long recipe for me. It looks really good.
YOU GUYS RULE! Thanks again.
Did you see the part about the timing? That recipe was just *meant* to find it's way to you. Who am I to stand in the way of such a thing? ;>
Hope if you do it you'll report what you think of it. Who knows when I'll get around to it.
BTW, having typed it out once makes it easier to import into my recipe database anyway. If I do it in the DB first and copy it onto CH, the formatting makes the moderators think it's a copyright violation and delete.
Dried apricots & dried cherries are great in a pie. Make sure you seek out dried _sweet_ cherries (Bing or Ranier) rather than the dried tart cherries that most supermarkets carry. It's worth the extra effort. If you're near a TRADER JOE's, they carry them; sometimes WHOLE PAYCHECK does too. I'm sure they're available online somewhere as well.
This recipe provides one of my favorite tart crusts ever (easy and great crunch/flavor) I am sharing since the original calls for dried apricots. But, it is not a pie and the layer of apricot is thin and I've often wanted to play around with a different filling ... so keep that in mind :)
Same here...very difficult to get decent fresh apricots. But the dried ones are always terrific.
You can pretty much use any recipe, just substituting dried fruit for fresh. I've done it many times. The best ever was a combination of the following fruits, ALL dried: apricots, plums (dried yellow plums), prunes, bing cherries, raisins, peaches, pears,and apples. The proportions are unimportant...use your own taste preferences as a guide.
I reconstitute the fruits, and baked them into my favorite pie crust (adding a splash of bourbon (or sometimes Grand Marnier), some cultured butter, a small amount of dark brown sugar, and a bit of binder to the filling).
I've made this a number of times and brought it as my contribution to a group dinner invite and it always goes over quite big.
Like any good cooking, it's less about recipe and more about just technique.