Thursday, June 20, 2013

Apricot Pie ( and no more apricots in my house!)

When I was a freshman in high school the summer job, for most of us that age, was working in the apricot drying yard. We would stand all day, in the heat, cutting, pitting and laying out on drying trays, boxes and boxes of apricots. I lasted two days. Right then and there I knew I wasn't cut out for a life of manual labor. I got me an office job at the local frozen food plant and I've not worked without air conditioning since!

I had recollections of my brief dry yard experience this week.  One of our clients gave us a box of just-picked apricots.  I've been cutting and processing the orange fruit all week now. Earlier in the week I made 24 jars of apricot jam. Today I baked an apricot pie and made pie filling for the freezer. I had a small bowl of apricots left over which I gave to my next-door neighbor.  I'm tired of looking at apricots right now!

Apricot pies are rather easy, don't require many ingredients. But don't let the simplicity fool you, they are so good. A little tart, a little sweet and really good with a scoop of  vanilla ice cream!

Fresh Apricot Pie

Pastry for 2-crust pie
5 1/2 cups sliced fresh apricots (about 2 pounds)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line pie plate with pie dough.

In a large bowl, combine apricots, sugar and flour (and lemon juice, if using); toss gently then spoon into crust and dot with butter.

Cover with top pie dough, seal, crimp edges and make slits in crust.

Place pie on foil-lined baking sheet and bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until crust is golden and juices are bubbling.

Tip:  For added flavor, sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over the pie crust just before baking.

I keep a container of cinnamon sugar in my pantry at all times.  Sprinkling over a pie crust is just one of its uses!

When making fruit pies I often make an extra batch or two of filling to freeze.  I already have a mess in the kitchen so it just involves a little more cutting. The reward is going to the freezer in the middle of winter, getting the pie filling and baking a fresh fruit pie!

To do so I put the fruit filling in a freezer ziploc bag, getting as much air out as possible (a Food Saver works great for this, too!) This is when I usually use lemon juice as it helps to keep the fruit from browning.  I then arrange in a pie pan (the same size you will use to bake the pie in) and freeze.  Once frozen, I remove the pie pan and stack the pie filling "discs" in the freezer.  When I'm ready to bake a pie I insert the frozen pie disc into the prepared pie dough.  Because they are frozen it may take a little longer for the pie to bake.

I'm linking up at Foodie Friday!

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