Apricot, Sweet Cherry and Plum Vanilla Spiced Pie

by Irvin on July 9, 2012 · 16 comments

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I have a love/hate relationship with apricots. Well, let me rephrase that. I have a love/indifference relationship to apricots. I’m going on record and saying most fresh apricots are tasteless and bland (at least to my palate, you may disagree). I could eat them, but I rarely seek them out. I have always found this a sad dilemma, as I love most every other stone pit fruit (from cherries to plums to peaches) but apricots were the one outlying fruit in my otherwise unadulterated love of the summer fruit bounty. That is, until I discovered them cooked, when they somehow transform themselves into beautiful luscious slices of delight in my mouth. Of course, baked up as an Apricot, Sweet Cherry and Plum Vanilla Spiced Pie with a touch of balsamic vinegar and I think I was in summer heaven.

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AJ and I have been back in the Midwest, trying to stay cool from the insane heat wave that we found ourselves caught in, when we went to visit our friend Jen and John and their three adorable children. Jen and John live in a gorgeous house with a stellar kitchen, so we, of course, offered to cook them our specialty dinner – pie and pie. AJ, as usual, made the pizzas and I made the dessert pie. Pretty much any chance I have to make food in a kitchen with top notch equipment makes me happy. From their pro-range stove to their convection oven (oh man, I so want a convection oven) to their dishwasher (I really REALLY want a dishwasher) AJ and I were loving it. I was especially pleased when I turned to Jen and asked if she had a kitchen scale and she said “Of course! We had to get one for your chocolate chip cookie recipe…which is the best chocolate chip cookie ever.” Now THAT is a sign of a true friend.

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The only thing was, I wasn’t sure what pie to make for them. Then we went to Whole Foods and saw the apricots, piled high, just waiting for us. Of course, Whole Foods also had bags of cherries, piles of plums, stacks of peaches, nectarines and pluots just waiting to be turned into a summer desserts. I grab a selection of fruit, know that the pie would pretty much make itself. The combination of apricots, cherries and plums really does sing all together. After eating AJ’s awesome pizza, the warm apricot, sweet cherry and plum pie with a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream was like a good friend, waiting for us to come home.

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AJ had known Jen and John for quite sometime, and we’ve watched their kids grow up from small babies, to toddlers to grade school. AJ made half the pie plain cheese for them, with minimal sauce, while our pizza was more robust with spices and hot pepper flakes. The kids liked the pizza (what kid doesn’t?) but they also seemed intent on getting some pie, asking throughout the dinner “When can we have pie?” Soon enough, they had pie with a scoop of ice cream, making them all pretty darn happy (and a bit buzzy – there was certainly a lot of running around the house afterwards).

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Once the kids were put to bed, Jen, John, AJ and I sat around, sipping wine, catching up on life and what we all have been up to since we last saw each other. Jen and AJ have known each other for ages and they are the sort of low maintenance friends that I love. No stress and no pressure, each time we see each other, it is as if no time has passed. The kids get bigger, and the settings change, but they are still the same warm and caring folks that everyone needs in their life. I was both surprised, but not shocked to hear AJ turn to me and say “we better get going, it’s getting late…” and then to find out that it was past midnight. Sometimes the best times are those that involve good people, good food and a well air-conditioned living room on a hot Summer day.

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The pie was a hit with both the family and AJ and I. Both the boys enjoyed it, though one definitely preferred the ice cream (as he really doesn’t like warm food). The youngest though, loved it. When Jen showed her the picture I took of her eating the pie, she turned to her mom and stated matter of factly “I like pie.” You really can’t get better praise than that.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Belinda @zomppa July 9, 2012 at 6:11 am

That pizza looks good…oh, about stone fruits. I get you. I adore plums. Adore them. Others? They’re fine, but not as much as plums. This is a perfect pie. Makes everyone happy.

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Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen July 9, 2012 at 7:48 am

I LOVE the “pie and pie” dinner idea! That would be such a nice low maintenance dinner party since so much can be made ahead.

It’s not even 11 am, and I am really jonesing for a slice of pie right about now…it looks amazing!

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Eileen July 9, 2012 at 11:24 am

Apricots are tricky beasts, aren’t they? 90% of fresh apricots just taste like fluff–but then there are the random NYC food cart gems that are AMAZING for no apparent reason. And of course apricots right off the tree are the greatest! But baked apricots–always perfect. That pie looks spectacular!

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merri July 9, 2012 at 11:35 am

mmmmmmmmm that looks soo good! i like apricots, but i do enjoy plums and pluots a lot more. i never thought about it but, you’re right, they’re a bit tasteless compared to the others.

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Lauren at Keep It Sweet July 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Another gorgeous pie! I’ve had the same issue with bland apricots, so good to know that they can be transformed with just a little cooking!

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Jim @ True Confections July 9, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Strangely I love dried apricots, but I’ve not really found the of fresh apricots. However, since we’re in confession mode, I didn’t try ANY fresh stone fruits until just last year. Sacrilege, I know. This is a really stunning pie and I love that you honored not just two but THREE stone fruits in it. Your shots of the kids are endearing, too.

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susan July 9, 2012 at 9:43 pm

I could eat that pie off the screen, Irvin. Simply scrumptious!!

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baker in disguise July 10, 2012 at 3:41 am

look at that red sticky juice oozing out of the pie!!! can i have a slice please??

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Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar July 10, 2012 at 11:57 am

Now this pie is just purdy! Great recipe (again). So unique!

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Faye July 10, 2012 at 3:55 pm

You are the pie master! What a great combination of flavors. Love it!

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Marc @ NoRecipes July 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm

The thick love juices splooging out from the sides, the perfectly bronzed crust, you sure know how to make a guy hungry!

Have you ever had a tree ripened apricot? They’re sublime. As I’m sure you know, stone don’t get any sweeter after they’ve been plucked from the tree, in the case of peaches, they’re not very tart so even if the sugar content doesn’t increase, they taste ripe once they’ve had a chance to soften. Apricots have a much higher acidity, so if you pick them unripe (anything you get in a store is), then they never taste very ripe.

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sippitysup July 11, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I have friends like that. Time passes but nothing changes. So I understand you there. But the apricot thing… well you lost me with that one. Of course apricots are finicky. But a good one is a revelation. GREG

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Brian @ A Thought For Food July 12, 2012 at 5:01 am

Cute! The shots of the kids are fabulous. So glad you are having a great time out there. Yay for pie (and pie) :-)

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Pninit July 15, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Hi. I found your website thru John and Jen and had to try this pie (even though I’ve never made a pie, ever). I wanted to let you know it was absolutely delicious. It barely lasted 12 hours in our household! Thank you so much for the recipe. Of note, I had a ton of extra filling left, so we boiled it down and used it as a waffle condiment – it was fantastic.

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Farmgirl Susan August 6, 2012 at 9:25 am

What a fun trip! Your pie looks amazing. :)

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Ai August 12, 2012 at 9:29 am

I made this pie again, and it was a hit. So much of a hit that I tied for 2nd place at Omnivore Books pie contest! Thank you for the inspiration! Love your blog!
http://ailovesthis.blogspot.com/2012/08/weeks-31-and-32-woo-hoo.html

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