Nick MalgieriComment

Dried Apricot Pie

Nick MalgieriComment

This pie is directly modeled on old-fashioned recipes for Pennsylvania Dutch raisin pie. To my taste, dried apricots are so much more appealing than raisins for an entire pie filling—their flavor has a welcome touch of tartness that raisins lack.

Makes one 9-inch pie, about 8 servings

One 9-inch pie pan lined with Sweet Pastry Dough (see below), plus dough for a lattice top

1 pound/3 cups dried apricots, cut into 1/2-inch dice (see Note)

3 cups water

3/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Milk for brushing

1 to 2 teaspoons sugar

  1. Combine the apricots and water in a nonreactive saucepan and bring the mixture to a full boil. Remove the pan from the heat and let the apricots stand until cooled, about 2 hours.
  2. Transfer the apricots and liquid to a bowl. Set a strainer over the saucepan in which the apricots soaked and drain the apricots well, letting the liquid fall back into the pan. Return the apricots to the bowl.
  3. Combine the sugar and flour and whisk the mixture into the apricot liquid. Place the pan on low heat and, stirring constantly, bring the juices to a full boil; decrease heat and let simmer for 2 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the lemon zest , butter, and almond extract. Pour the juices over the plumped apricots in the bowl and let cool.
  4. When you’re ready to assemble and bake the pie, set a rack at the lowest level in the oven and preheat to 375°F.
  5. Roll half the dough on a floured surface and line a 9-inch pie pan; trim the edge of the dough even with the rim of the pan.
  6. Pour the filling into the piecrust and roll the remaining dough to a 9-inch square and cut it into 1/2-inch strips.   Arrange a lattice top on the filling, severing the ends of the strips at the rim of the pan. Brush the lattice with milk and sprinkle it with sugar.
  7. Place the pie in the oven and immediately decrease the temperature to 350°F. Bake until the crust is baked through and the filling is actively simmering, about 45 minutes.
  8. Cool the pie on a rack and serve it slightly warm or at room temperature.

NOTE: For ease in cutting the apricots, snip them with lightly oiled scissors or use an oiled knife.

Quick Changes

Substitute a combination of equal amounts dried plums (prunes) and apricots in the filling above. Or if you’re a real raisin lover, try a combination of dark and golden raisins instead of the apricots. Omit the almond extract and substitute 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Sweet Pastry Dough

This is the same recipe as my sweet dough from BAKE! and several other books. It’s a recipe I’ve been using successfully for over thirty years and have taught to thousands of people. I thought of doing something different just for the sake of having something new but then decided that the ease of preparation and handling, plus the tender quality of this dough after baking, can’t be improved upon. Below are the food processor instructions, and after the recipe, you’ll find instructions for working by hand and for using a stand mixer.

Makes enough for 2 single-crusted pies or tarts or 1 double-crusted pie

2 cups/270 grams unbleached all-purpose flour (spoon into dry-measure cup and level)

1/3 cup/65 grams sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

8 tablespoons/1 stick/112 grams unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 12 pieces

2 large eggs

  1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor; pulse several times at 1-second intervals to mix.
  2. Add the butter cubes and pulse again until the butter is finely mixed throughout the dry ingredients and no visible pieces of butter remain.
  3. Use a fork to beat the eggs enough to break them up, and add them to the bowl. Pulse again until the dough almost forms a ball; avoid pulsing too much or the dough might become too soft.
  4. Invert the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead it together 3 or 4 times to make it smooth.
  5. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, form them into disks, and wrap each one in plastic. Chill the dough for a couple of hours before rolling.