Magazine article Sunset

Summer Pie, Anytime

Magazine article Sunset

Summer Pie, Anytime

Article excerpt

Like Christmas, apricot season comes but once a year-and it's over about as quickly as Christmas morning. But that season is intense. A corner of my father's almond orchard in California's Central Valley has always been reserved for fruit trees, so every summer we were overwhelmed with stone fruit. In spite of valiant efforts, we just couldn't eat it fast enough.

My mother didn't want to let the fruit go to waste, so she made the apricots into pie filling and froze it. Sunset test kitchen manager Bernadette Hart adds the extra tip of freezing the filling in the shape of the pan so it can be dropped right from the freezer into a pastry shell and baked.

Now that I live in San Francisco, I'm no longer troubled by an excess of perfectly ripe summer fruit; I buy it at a farmers' market. But for me, there's no better dessert than apricot pie, with its slightly bitter edge, so I still freeze a couple of fillings every summer, just to have that bittersweet pleasure anytime I like.

Make-Ahead Fruit Pie Filling

PREP TIME: About 20 minutes, plus 1 1/4 hours to bake pie (see above right)

NOTES: To thicken this filling, use a basic ratio of 1 tablespoon of flour for every 2 cups of apricots. Peaches and plums may be juicier; for very juicy fruit, increase flour to up to 1 tablespoon per cup of fruit.

MAKES: Filling for one 9-inch pie

1. Cut each of the apricots lengthwise into quarters (sixths if they're very large), discarding pits. (If using peaches, peel them and cut into thin wedges. …

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