While I have a few favorite scapegoats for the fact that for the past several years I’ve been hovering right around 150/300 pies completed from my Pie cookbook, my favorite favorite goes something like this.
“Well, I love using fruit that’s in season, and I’ve pretty much already made every fruit pie in the book…it’s all those chiffon and ice cream pies and so on that I never seem to get to…and it always seems like a waste to NOT make pie out of fruit I have around (DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE I CAN FIND LOGANBERRIES?!) so I end up just making up my own fruit pies. So, please believe me, I AM making pie, just not making progress towards my 300 pie goal.”
It is pretty accurate.
But, for this story, I am proud to say, that I found a never-before-made double crust fruit pie recipe in Pie for which I did not need to find loganberries or marionberries or any other such nonsense. Georgia Orcutt’s Thanksgiving Dried Fruit Pie. Yes, it contains only readily available dried fruits (Bing cherries, apples, prunes, and apricots), which get stewed and simmered back to life in a pot of apple cider before melding with walnuts, lemon juice, sugar, and butter to become a unique and quite delicious final showpiece.
Why, you may ask, did I need this particular pie to be a double crust fruit pie? Well, I had come into possession of some very high-quality lard, hand-rendered by friends, and Ken Haedrich, in his lard pie crust recipe, notes that lard is a particularly good choice for a double crusted fruit pie. With an ingredient on hand that produces an impossibly flaky and perfect crust, it would be a mistake to fiddle around with distractions like crumb or streusel toppings. Let the crust shine. The more of it, the better.
A word on lard. I have never bought it in a grocery store. I probably never will. I was a vegetarian for six years. I will probably never be a vegetarian again. All this is to say, I care deeply about my food, and I like to know where it comes from. And if you knew the pig, (or the bear, for that matter) and it’s been killed for meat, and the fat is available as another useful product, I’m all about using it to create something delicious that can be enjoyed and that will give nutrients to the eater. (The pig that provided this particular jar of lard was one was raised at nearby Apricot Lane Farms. Thanks and respect.) And speaking of apricots…
You guys, now that I have a baby, it takes DAYS to make a pie. One to make crusts, one to prep ingredients, and one to hastily assemble it and get it in the oven before naptime’s over.
Here comes that apple cider action. About ten minutes of simmering on the stovetop and lots of stirring, and the dried fruit is nicely re-hydrated.
And here’s the regularly scheduled Trader Joe’s product plug you have come to love and expect from peace-of-pie.com.
Walnuts coming in for the win.
As I was rolling out this crust I was immensely pleased with the texture and knew it was going to turn out great. And that’s saying something. As Levi will attest to, even though I’ve made hundreds of pies at this point, I usually utter a few deprecating comments during the baking process (“This isn’t sticking together the way I want it to.” “It’s a little overdone.” “I should have left that in the oven for another five minutes.”) Silly, but true. Usually when I taste the pie I sheepishly agree that it’s totally fine (no, usually more than fine). Anyway…total confidence this time.
I texted the picture of the finished pie to our friends Johnny and Andy (the gifters of the lard) and told them I had made them a pie-o-nara pie and that they needed to come over and have some. They did, although it was later discovered that pie-o-nara was lost in translation/texting. Say it out loud. What do you think it means?
I updated the spelling of this made up word in the name of the post. Pieyonara. Sayonara. I think it’s more accurate. For a made up word. Johnny and Andy are heading out to some beautiful parts of the West and Southwest in their amazing renovated van for the first half of the year, so this pie was a little farewell for now.
More about Dried Fruit Pie. This pie is hearty and filling, truly a meal in and of itself. Ken Haedrich’s description speaks of the pie being present in Georgia Orcutt’s family’s Thanksgiving weekend pie buffet (in other words, they have a table of pies laid out that are available all weekend, and that can be eaten at any time, even for breakfast. Doesn’t that sound like a great tradition?)
This pie goes well with wine. Or, slightly warmed, with tea or coffee, in the morning.
Andy is a stellar hand model.
Happy New Year to all, and have a beautiful day.