Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday is PIE DAY!

I was all set to make a new PIE DAY pie last night, when I discovered that I was short on was late and -10 degrees outside, so I opted to curl up in bed with a book instead of venturing out for eggs.
Soon I will brave the chill and head to the store, and I will have a lovely warm pie ready for you later today.
In the meantime, here is a little pie lullaby for you.....

Ok-the pie is in the oven and about 10 minutes away.  My favorite time of day to bake pies is early in the morning when everything is still quiet and I haven't yet thought of the million other things I should do.  I'm just happy to put on an apron, preheat the oven and start my day rolling and mixing.  I tend to get distracted by other work as the day goes on, and suddenly my pie is nowhere near cool enough for coffee time.  Also, the light in my kitchen gets really awful and yellow late in the day, so I must apologize for the less than desirable photos......but on with the pie!

I have come across a wide variety of apricot pie recipes lately, and I do love apricots, so I wanted to create my own version.  The recipes vary from all apricots to mixed fruit to cream to chiffon, and they generally call for fresh apricots.  As we are in the middle of a midwestern deep freeze, the chances of finding fresh apricots seemed slim to none  So I challenged myself to create a dried apricot pie recipe, of course looking forward to the summer day that I can do a retake with fresh apricots. 

Because I chose a cream pie, I first prebaked a pie shell, then filled it with a standard cream pie base-something akin to homemade vanilla pudding, but with a little more heft.  My dried apricots were simmered in orange juice and water until they were cooked down into an apricot pulp.  Into this mix went a scant amount of sugar and a lot of lemon-juice and zest- to add some tang to offset the sweet cream base.   I debated whether I should mix the apricots into the cream, but decided to layer them on top.  This will make for a pretty slice, and I like the thought of first biting into the tart apricot layer, then the sweet cream. 

The cream base calls for 3 egg yolks, leaving me with 3 egg whites, so naturally I decided to top the whole thing with a light layer of meringue.  Now every bite will contain three distinctive textures and tastes.

Apricot Cream Pie

1 9" prebaked pie shell

Cream layer
3 T flour
2 T cornstarch
1 c sugar
3 egg yolks
2 1/4 c whole milk
1 t vanilla
1 T butter
-mix flour, cornstarch and sugar together in large saucepan
-add milk and egg yolks
-bring to boil while stirring constantly
-reduce heat, add vanilla and cook another 10 minutes, until thick
-add butter and blend well
-let cool and spread into prebaked pie shell

Apricot Layer
1 c dried apricots
1/2 c orange juice
1 c water
1/4 c sugar
3 T lemon juice
1 T lemon zest
-mix apricots, orange juice and water in medium saucepan
-bring to boil, then simmer, covered, on low for 20 minutes
-remove cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed and apricots are pulpy-about 15 more minutes
-add sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest, cooking until all liquid is absorbed-about 5 minutes
-let cool and spread over cream layer

3 egg whites
6 T sugar
-beat egg whites in mixing bowl, adding sugar slowly, until stiff peaks form
-layer on top of pie
-bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, until meringue is lightly browned

The pie has finally cooled enough to try a slice, and the layers, textures and tastes are just as I'd hoped.
My husband just arrived home from work.  Do you think he'll mind if we have pie for dinner?


  1. To me this is your most exciting pie so far. Early in the post when you said you were making a smooth creamy pie with dried fruit I was skeptical. I was imagining chewy little grainy bits, but the cooked down apricots are sooo pretty and I can see that the texture looks like a perfect match for creamy and meringue. Awesome pie.
    XO, L

  2. ok-I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical myself, not being a huge cream pie fan....but this cream layer is more akin to flan-oh yeah, and the whole pie is not too sweet. I'm pleasantly surprised every time I taste it.