by Mary Cokenour
Summertime. Bushes and trees packed with deliciously sweet cherries and apricots. What to do with them all?
Well, if you’re a giving person (thank you to Garry Mooneyhan Jr. and Dave Krouskop for the huge bags of cherries), you make sure to share with neighbors, family and friends.
If you’re out to make a buck, then you should be at the Monticello Welcome Center on Saturdays, selling out of produce at the Farmers/Vendors Market.
Or, like myself, you should be preserving, freezing and/or baking away.
While flipping through cooking magazines, I came upon the photo and recipe for “Rustic Fruit Pie”. Now I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, baking is not one of my favorite culinary activities, but I do try from time to time. However, I was able to figure out how to cheat on the recipe, make it simple for myself, and even make extra for bake sales.
I call mine “Artisan, Rustic Fruit Pie”. Artisan for handcrafted and rustic for country style; hence the use of both descriptive words. By the way, you might see such names as tart or galette used to describe them; whatever works for the baker, I say.
The first time I made them was for the 2015 Pioneer Days Bake Sale, all funds going towards the Big Four Tractor Fund. They sold out fast! So, when it was time for another bake sale, all funds going towards the Reed Young Scoreboard Fund, I again sold out fast!
My big cheats were in using refrigerated pie crusts and canned fruit pie filling; but if fresh fruit is readily available, like apricots fresh off the tree, why not use them! I’ve made many a rustic pie, and since the first attempts, using fresh fruit is a first option. I use fruit from a can only if it’s a rush job.
The hardest part of it all is pitting the fruit, and while there are tools to do the job, a quick slice around with a sharp knife, turn of the sides and, bingo, out pops the seed. At first it takes a little getting used to, but once you’ve got a rhythm going, you’re done before you know it.
Freezing or canning the fruit is a huge option. Take advantage if you have the storage room!
Artisan Rustic Fruit Pie
1 package refrigerated piecrusts (2 in a package)
3 cups fruit (halved cherries or apricots) per pie, so 6 cups for 2 pies
1 Tbsp. sugar (double for 2 pies)
2 Tbsp. butter, melted (double for 2 pies)
Preheat oven to 425°F; line baking sheets with parchment paper. Unroll each pie crust onto center of parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, mix together fruit with sugar. (This will help release the fruit’s rich juice.)
Notes: Now comes the truly fun part, creating a unique filling. While the fruit itself might just be enough, the addition of spices such as cloves, cinnamon or nutmeg will kick up the flavor of apricots, cherries or apples. Slivered almonds can be added to the filling, or used on the crust; raisins are a great addition to apricots (or apples), as well as blueberries.
Back to the Preparation:
Onto the center of the piecrust, spoon all that lovely goodness; try to keep as much as possible piled up.
Put a little water into a small bowl, not much as you’ll be using this to wet your fingertips only. First, wet those tips, now carefully lift up the crust and crimp a section; the water will help keep the crimp sealed; repeat all around the filling, making sure to draw it close to the center, but not cover it entirely.
With a pastry brush... let me digress for a moment; you don’t have to get a fancy name, expensive pastry brush. In any hardware store, you can buy those small, hair bristle paint brushes for about $1 each. Yeppers, you can use them for pastry brushes; make sure to clean them in soapy hot water and dry upright before storing them away. They last indefinitely!
So, use the brush to paint the melted butter all over the exposed crust. Afterwards, you can sprinkle cinnamon and sugar (use large or coarse grain sugar, found in the baking section), or brown sugar, over the crust, and don’t forget a little bit over the filling too.
Bake for 40 minutes. Now it’s going to be a given that they might leak as there is no pan keeping them from expanding; place a sheet of aluminum foil on the oven bottom to catch any drips.
After 40 minutes, remove from the oven and let them rest for 15 minutes; the leaks will seal themselves. Each pie will look unique which gives more credence to using the terms “artisan” and “rustic”.
To get the pie onto a plate, cut the parchment paper around the pie, grab one end of the paper and simply slide it off the baking sheet and onto the plate. Serve warm from the oven alone, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. To store, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator; warm up a piece and don’t forget the ice cream!
…and there you have it, a rustic fruit pie. Homemade, even with a store bought pie crust. Delicious, unique and easy to create.