I roll out some pretty ugly pie crusts, but no matter. As you can see, at the time of this writing, my roommate and I have polished off half of this apricot pie, less than 24 hours after making it. It’s been dessert and breakfast and a snack. It goes very well with coffee and after lamb biryani and just on its own. It is a good way to send off summer, or what is left of it (summer has more or less dropped into a cool early spring here in Boston).
If you have to work with a stone fruit, by the gods, apricots are some of the kindest. They have a natural seam in the outer skin that splits open easily just as soon as the tip of your knife touches it. The pits barely need a nudge with your finger before prying loose.
I have read about apricots being intense and flavorful in the Middle East, in certain orchards on the U.S. West Coast. Here in the U.S. Northeast, apricots are rather mild. They are lightly sweet, pleasant, but somewhat unremarkable. They do not betray a hint as to what they become when cooked in sugar and pastry. Which is to say that the first taste of the apricot pie yields an immediate tartness and tang on your tongue. Then a hint of that sweet, formerly mild apricot flavor bubbles up. It would almost be enough to sear off your taste buds, but then the buttery sweetness of the tender, flaky crust begins to cut through, balancing the flavors and creating this gorgeous harmony.
Breakfast. I barely kept myself in check to photograph it.
This is a pie that will be going on the “To Make Again, Preferably As Soon As Possible” list, possibly with a few changes (I pretty much did no adaptation this time since pie-making is my general Achilles Heel and I approach rolling out pie dough with a lot of trepidation) such as:
- If using European butter as I did this time, consider eliminating or reducing the oil in the recipe, as the butter will have a large amount of fat it in already. The crust is tender, but very fragile and prone to tearing easily.
- Swap out the flour in the filling for pectin or tapioca starch. There’s a lot of syrup in the final product, and while delicious (especially when scooped up by a spoon), it’s rather messy.
- Experiment with maple sugar. I bet that would be pretty freakin’ amazing.
- For a prettier crust: use an egg wash next time.