I mentioned recently that I don't really feel like it's summer until the stone fruit appear in the market. That's true of all stone fruit: peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries, and so on. But the food that I most associate with summer, the food without which it cannot possibly be summer, is apricot pie. And not just any apricot pie, Blenheim apricot pie.
Because I am an unapologetic apricot snob and will not eat or cook with apricots unless they're Blenheims, this is the only time of year I make apricot pie. Blenheims come in for two or three weeks every year, and around here those weeks start just after the summer solstice. Typically peak Blenheim time is the tail end of June and first few days of July, which works out nicely for Fourth of July desserts involving apricots.
As such, apricot pie is a kind of opening games dessert, declaring summer well and truly here. It signifies for me not just summer, but the warm, leisurely evenings early in summer when we kids were still basking in the glow of the first few days of summer vacation. This is a fat and happy dessert, a lazy days dessert, a dessert that is guaranteed to put a smile on my face with just one whiff.
The preparation, as with most pies, is simple: line a pie plate with one crust, add some fruit and seasonings, cover with another crust, and bake until browned and bubbling. In this case, the seasoning includes a bit of sugar (adjust to taste), some flour or cornstarch to thicken up all of the juices that the apricots produce, a bit of lemon juice for brightness, and some nutmeg to deepen the flavor a bit. It's a good basic pie. Nothing too fancy, nothing but good summer flavor. Recipe after the jump.
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Thursday, July 16, 2009