Serious Eats: Recipes

Deborah Madison's Apricot Fold-Over Pie

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

After the weekend's resoundingly successful Apricot Cake made using admittedly subpar apricots, I decided to try my luck with another apricot recipe. This time I chose an Apricot Fold-Over Pie from Deborah Madison's Seasonal Fruit Desserts.

There's a real ease to the recipes that Madison has collected in Seasonal Fruit Recipes. It's one of the more forgiving baking books that I've encountered—no hard and fast rules, just suggestions and encouragement to make the recipes your own. This apricot pie is a prefect example of the casualness that Madison approaches desserts with. First, there's the dough, which is rolled out to make a free form crust. If you prefer your pies to be more pedigreed you can trim the edges and make it even, but if you're okay with a more rustic looking tart all you need to do is drape it into the pan and fold the extra lengths over the filling. This brings us to the filling. The ratio of fruit to sugar is entirely up to you—if you prefer a filling that is more tart use less sugar, but if sweetness is more to your liking add as much as you'd like. You can also customize the spices that flavor the filling—choose from any combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom.

Laying out all of these options gives the baker room to be creative, and freedom from the sometimes nerve-racking exactness that too often accompany baking projects. It might sound silly, but being able to relax while baking makes a huge difference in the final product.

My finished apricot fold-over pie came out of the oven beautifully browned and endearingly rustic. The middling apricots that I used for the filling tasted wonderful once they were baked since I flavored them with my ideal ratio of sugar and spices before they went into the oven.

I suppose that Madison's approach to baking is an intuitive one, almost more similar to cooking than baking, one that has more to do with getting comfortable with technique and ingredients than sticking to an exact recipe, and one that very well might improve your baking skills.

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Apricot Fold-Over Pie

- makes one deep 9-inch pie (8 servings) -

Adapted from Seasonal Fruit Desserts by Deborah Madison.

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