Monday, August 09, 2010

A family recipe of one's own

The fact of the matter is that I haven't got many family recipes that I can trace back to family and no further.  A majority of the "family" recipe's I know of come from the back of some packaged food product.  So when my dad's siblings all expressed the same lovely sentiments for their aunt Joyce's fresh apricot pie (made every 24th of July), I knew this was something special.  I managed to prioritize making it to the annual 24th of July event with Joyce's homemade pie and rootbeer, and I managed to talk her into teaching me how it is done.

This is the stuff that makes life worth living.... if you're me.

I invited all the pie swooners, and we had a lovely evening learning how it's done if it's going to be done Joyce's way.  Lots of enlightenment.

But I'm not one to keep secrets, so here are Mr Renn's notes from the evening:
(and my pie - I struggled with the vent-cutting)

finished pies

Joyce  Lambson’s Famous Apricot Pie
Crust:  (enough crust to make 3-4 pies).
2 cups butter flavored shortening cold and cut up.
4 cups flour
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
“Enough” (Approximately) 1 cup of ice water (depending on humidity). If it cracks/crumbs while rolling you need to add more water.

Filling: (for 1 pie)
Approximately 4 cups of washed, pitted, and quartered apricots.*
Almost 2/3 cup of sugar (as little as 1/2 cup, depending on sweetness of fruit)
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup (3 Tbsp) minute tapioca

Wash, pit, and quarter apricots, leaving skin on.

Mix all dry ingredients, with cold shortening that has been chopped with a knife into ¼ inch cubes.  Use clean hands to mix the ingredients until crumbly.  Run mixture between your fingers, avoiding palms.  You don't want it to homogenize, just be uniformly crumbly.  Add enough cold ice water to the crumbled dough (just enough to make the dough come together in a solid ball.  Avoid kneading, it's make your crust tough.  Form three balls.  Place into freezer while filling is made. (or just refrigerate if making ahead).

To approximate how much filling you will need, fill your pie tin with quartered apricots and then set aside in a bowl.  Mix in sugar, brown sugar, and tapioca.  Set aside.

(Optional: you can emit the brown sugar from the filling at this point and sprinkle it over your filling after dotting with butter instead) 

Retrieve 1 ball of dough from the freezer.  Cut dough in half.   Flatten to a disc shape with your hands, then roll on a well floured surface to approximately 1/8 inch thick. Flip/rotate dough and reflour surface during rolling to avoid sticking.  Fit and press into pie tin.  Sprinkle a dash of flour and sugar to the bottom of the crust.  Insert filling.  Dot with butter (less than 3 TBSP cold butter cut into slivers).

Joyce's Pie - dotting the filling

Trim excess dough with butter knife pulling down as you cut.  Place trimmings with other ½ of dough.  Roll second ball (turning and flipping again) on well floured surface to 1/8 inch thick.  Fold into fourths.  Cut center corner at a diagonal, and cut desired vent lines.  Wet edges of filled pie with water. Unfold over top of filled pie.  Press and seal edges. Trim excess dough.  Crimp edges with butter knife and fingers.  Sprinkle top with sugar. (Or brush with milk or an egg wash)  Bake in a 400 degree oven until done (approximately 40 min).  An indicator to it being done is to gently agitate the pan and see if the crust separates from the sides.

Let it cool completely before cutting the pie, otherwise you will have pie soup.

Joyce and the pies

Note* Peaches can be substituted for apricots but some lemon juice would have to be added.

Also note - Joyce recommend mixing up a lot of pie filling while apricots are in season, then lining pie pans with plastic wrap, filling them with filling, and freezing the prepared filling in pie-pan shape. (Remove from pie tin after frozen and keep in airtight bags or containers)  Then you can have "fresh"-ish apricot pie any time of the year. Just plop your frozen filling in the pie crust, and allow a few extra minutes when baking.

For jealous family members and others so inclined, we documented this pretty well.  Photos are here and lots of videos are here

1 comment:

hairyshoefairy said...

That looks and sounds heavenly. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I'm printing it off right now!

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