I hope they have health food in Dublin and strawberry apricot pie
If they don’t have those things in Dublin we’ll probably die
This was back in 1979 or 1980 when their first album was released and my sister brought it home from college. So when I say decades, I am not exaggerating.
“The Troubles”, which is funny and clever and tender, like so many Roches songs, isn’t really about pie (or maybe it is a little). But the pie is what has stuck in my food-fixated mind all these years.
For practical reasons more than anything else, I never got around to it. Until a few years ago good apricots were hard to come by here in the U.S.—at least where I live. (They still don’t compare to the juicy, dense-fleshed ones I used to gobble up as a kid in Italy but they have gotten a lot better.) And their season never seems to quite coincide with that of strawberries.
In fact, other than the Roche sisters’ musical hat tip, I’ve never seen or heard any mention of strawberry-apricot pie—not in a cookbook, not on a diner menu, not the one time I went to Dublin. Maybe such a pie combination, as divine as it sounded to me, didn’t really work. Maybe it was nothing more than a songwriter’s whimsy, or literary license.
The other day, armed with a basket of good ripe apricots, farmers’ market strawberries that I had bought and frozen a couple of weeks ago, and my old Betty Crocker cookbook (the starting point for many pies I have baked over the years), I decided it was time to find out. In a happy coincidence, I conducted my experiment just in time for the second annual #PieParty, which is taking place today on Facebook and across the Internet (here’s what I made last year).
Even before it went into the oven I knew this pie was going to exceed my expectations. I could tell by the delicious pink slurry that formed in the mixing bowl as I folded together the juicy pieces of fruit with sugar, spices, and flour. The filling thickened beautifully as the pie bubbled away at 425 degrees, and when it was done it was the color of a Hawaiian sunset.
It tasted like everything you conjure in your mind when you say that mouthful of a three-letter word: pie. Buttery, intensely fruity, fragrant. A harmony of sweet and tangy flavors. A pie worthy of a song; a pie that hit all the right notes.
What pie hits all the right notes for you? I’d love to hear about it.
A hearty thanks to the Roches for inspiring this pie!
Makes one 9-inch pie
For the crust:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
About 5 tablespoons ice-cold water
For the filling:
3 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered lengthwise
3 cups diced fresh apricots (no need to peel)
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
To make the crust, combine the flour and salt in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse briefly. Scatter the butter around the work bowl and pulse until the mixture has formed coarse crumbs. With the motor running, drizzle in the water and process just until the dough begins to come together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it into two disks, one slightly larger than the other. Wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In a large bowl, gently mix together the strawberries, apricots, lemon juice, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll the larger piece into an 11-inch disk and gently press it into a 9-inch pie plate, leaving the overhang. Spoon the filling into the pastry-lined pie plate. Roll the smaller piece of dough into a 10-inch disk and, using a fluted pastry wheel, cut the disk into 10 (3/4-inch-thick) strips. Arrange the strips over the filling in a lattice pattern and trim off the ends. Fold the overhang over and pinch it to seal it and form a decorative rim.
Set the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake it for 40 to 50 minutes, until the crust is golden-brown and the filling is bubbly and thick. Serve warm with a little heavy cream poured over or a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
Copyright 2012 Domenica Marchetti