Like any other place that is cold for most of the year, the midwest truly appreciates the summer months. We spend as much time outside as possible, and we eat really well. We’ve got corn, zucchinis, tomatoes, melons, and berries out the wazoo… but stone fruits! Stone fruits are the jewels of summer. For me, absolutely nothing beats biting into a ripe peach that’s so juicy you need to eat it with a bib or a bowl or, if you can’t wait to take any of those things out, you just eat it over the sink.
One stone fruit that took me awhile to take a liking to has been the apricot. Peaches have always been #1 in my book, so I usually opt to purchase those over their smaller, bright orange cousins. Recently, apricots and I have had a breakthrough, and I can’t seem to get enough of them. I love how they veer a little more tart than peaches do, and they are just so cute to look at in your hand. When not in season, I’m pretty much snacking on the dried version constantly.
Ever since seeing Ruth Reichl make her super simple apricot pie on this episode of Diary of a Foodie a few years ago, it has never left my mind. Another recent trip to the farmers market yielded a large bunch of apricots, and I went home to make her recipe. I love that there are minimal ingredients, not too much prep work (even less if you use a pre-made, frozen pie crust), and it makes the most delicious sweet/tart, crunchy-topped pie that really lets the fruit shine. Best decision so far of my apricot-loving career.
Ruth Reichl’s Apricot Pie
2 lbs ripe apricots
1 stick butter
¾ Cup flour
¾ Cup sugar
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
egg white from 1 egg for brushing (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
1. Pull apart the apricots into halves, discarding the pits. No need to peel. Set aside.
2. Sprinkle some flour on a clean work surface and roll out pie dough with a lightly floured rolling pin to fit a 9” pie dish with about ½” overhang. Fold overhang under and crimp decoratively (I don’t do this sometimes, because I like how rustic/rough it looks. Also, I’m lazy). Place in freezer for 15 minutes.
3. Melt butter in a medium sauce pan. Stir in flour, sugar, and nutmeg and mix until it looks like a paste. Set aside for 15 minutes or until cool enough to handle.
3. Take pie dough out of the freezer. If using egg wash, brush the dough with the egg white. This is just to ensure that the bottom crust doesn’t get soggy.
4. Spread the apricots on the crust and crumble the butter/flour paste over the fruit. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 50 minutes to an hour.
Let cool before serving. Obviously, fantastic with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.