July 14, 2012

Raspberry & Aprium Mini Pies

Summer is for fruit pies!  And summer has finally (finally!) come to Seattle.  Luckily, farms, grocery stores, roadside stands, and farmer's markets are bursting with berries, peaches, plums, cherries, and fruits that I have never even heard of.

Several days ago, I drove out to Remlinger Farm, trudged out to the far corner of the raspberry field, and picked raspberries until it was too hot to continue.  On the way home, I decided that these raspberries were destined to become pies.

A couple days later, while spending my lunch break wandering through a farmer's market, I spotted a fruit that I had never heard of before: apriums.  Apparently, this is a cross between an apricot and a plum.  Intrigued, I bought several.  Apriums are not my favorite fruit.  Although they tasted fresh and juicy, I generally agree with my husband's reaction to them, which was that he likes the individual components (apricots and plums) more than the combination.

One of the things I love about pies is how I can play around with what goes in the filling.  I've never had raspberry and aprium pie before - in fact, I'm pretty sure very few people have, and I was curious to see how the combination would taste.

I decided to do a lattice-top on these mini pies, and to finish them off with some pretty pie crust flowers (see my previous post for how to make these).

I believe fruit pies should be simple.  A perfect fruit pie would taste only of fruit (sweetened just slightly) and butter.  The crust would be buttery, flaky, and would melt in your mouth.  After finishing the slice, you would be compelled to lick any remaining fruit juices off your plate until it is clean.

While this pie did not achieve that level of perfection, it came close.  Its main flavor was raspberry, but when I got a bite of aprium, I was treated to a surprising burst of light, sweet, almost peachy flavor.  Apriums may not be the most awesome of fruits on their own, but they are excellent in pie.  I gobbled down an entire mini pie as I watched the sun set over Queen Anne hill.  Ah, I do love summer!

Because summer is for fruit pies.

Raspberry & Aprium Mini Pies
Makes enough for two 5-inch mini pies.  Double the recipe for a full-size pie.

Ingredients for Pie Crust
1 ¼ cups (6 ¼ oz) flour
2 tbsp sugar
½  tsp salt
1 ¼ sticks cold unsalted butter
~½ cup ice water

Ingredients for Filling
8 oz raspberries
8 oz apriums, sliced - no need to peel
⅓ cup sugar (my raspberries were a little sour, lower this if yours are sweet)
1 tbsp cornstarch

  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F.
  2. Mix the flour, sugar, and salt together with a fork.
  3. Cube the butter and "cut" it into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter until there are no butter bits that are bigger than a pea.  Make sure you don't go smaller than this, however, since you'll start to lose flakiness if the butter is too small.
  4. Add the ice water, a tablespoon or two at a time and use a fork to wet the flour/butter mixture. 
  5. Keep adding until the dough just starts to hold together.  You don't want the dough too wet, and you don't want to mix in the water too much.  I find it useful to just use my hands to mix at this point.
  6. Cover the dough with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a couple hours at least (overnight is best).
  7. Toss the raspberries and apriums with the sugar and cornstarch.  Set aside.
  8. Divide your pie dough in two.  Roll out the first half on a floured surface.  Using a bowl or some other round thing, cut out two circles from the rolled dough.  Gently place a circle into each of the mini pie pans (I use these 5-inch pans).  
  9. Fill each pie with equal amounts of the fruit filling. 
  10. Roll out the second half of the dough.  Cut equal strips approximately ½ inch thick. Lay the strips across the top of the filling in a "woven" pattern.
  11. Pinch the edges and flute or press with a fork.
  12. Brush egg yolk onto the top pie dough (this gives it a nice golden color) and sprinkle with sugar.
  13. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly.  Let cool for at least two hours (more is better) before eating.

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