Last June I interviewed writer, chef, cookbook author, past restaurant critic for The New York Times, and past editor-in-chief of the sorely missed Gourmet magazine, Ruth Reichl (http://www.channel3000.com/madison-magazine/dining-drink/meeting-ruth-reichl/33385840). I believe I promised to only take 40 minutes of her time. At the end of those agreed upon minutes, she offered to continue our conversation as we had gotten on the subject of fresh apricots and how they signal the beginning of summer and how now it was time to bake them into a pie.
Oh just slice them in half, Reichl began, remove their pits, but leave the skin on and lay them in a pie crust. Make a streusel topping, pour it over them and bake.
Just like that? Voila?
But how do I make a streusel topping I wondered later when reviewing my notes. How long should the pie bake for?
Spring came and went, summer too, fall, winter–all without a trace of apricot pie. And then, not too long ago, Reichl actually re-posted a recipe for her apricot pie on her blog: http://ruthreichl.com/ and it happens to also appear in her book, Comfort Me With Apples, which although I’ve read, I missed. I made it and my baking repertoire has since expanded to include this method for just about any stone fruits coming into their season this summer.
And it couldn’t be easier..
- 2 pounds of apricots (Trust me, get more. When ripe, they are irresistible eaten out-of-hand.)
- 1 stick of butter, melted
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup flour
- pinch of salt
- grating of fresh nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 425°.
Roll out your pie crust, or use the frozen kind (Hey, it’s summer and life should be easy, right?). Place crust in a 9-inch pie plate, then pop it into the freezer for 15-30 minutes. Remove from the freezer. Using your fingers, break the apricots in half (this is rustic living, y’all), remove pits, and lay them down all snug-like.
On the stove top, over medium-low heat, melt the butter, then combine the brown sugar, flour, salt and nutmeg. Spoon this all over the apricots (Oh my…is right).
Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven temperature down to 375° and bake for another hour or so, until the fruit is bubbling and the top is nicely browned. Remove pie and allow to cool for at least an hour.
Serve with fresh cream drizzled on top.
By the way, in the summer 2016 issue of Saveur magazine which just arrived in the mail yesterday, there is an encouraging article (Sweet Slice of Summer) about making pies as a way of preserving the bounty of the summer harvest. Authors Mitchell Davis and Laurent Gras give such nurturing instructions as “A good rule of thumb when making pie dough: Stop working it sooner than you think.”