Yes, my faithful readers, I am back from Thailand. Nope. I don’t even want to think about Thai food, let alone write about it, for a good while. Really this page should be devoted to the food nearest to our hearts as we ate our third fried rice that day or faced 15 hours of plane fare—O mighty In ‘N’ Out. God bless America.
So instead of a recipe for Khao Soi (say, but don’t think, “Cow Soy”—which is actually delicious, but not for now) I bring you apricots from back on the ranch.
Azevedo Ranch is the ideal jet lag recovery center. Just ask any of the half-a-dozen kids lazing around the living room at any given hour. Between the swimming pool, the constant snackage, and the newly-acquired Mario Party 1 (ebay!), we’ve got it pretty good. Only drawback for me are the dreaded summer allergies; I’m such a wimpy city girl now. But I will pop an antihistamine to venture outside and pick an apricot. And since there are plenty to spare, why not use some to make an apricot tart?
This dessert is quite simple: just your basic pie crust, some apricots, and a crumble topping. My fave crust comes from Cooks Illustrated, but you can’t go wrong with Julia here. I, too, have shunned shortening but was pleased to learn it’s now made without trans fat. So it’s totally healthy! Just make sure everything stays really cold to get the best crust texture. If you want to be really careful, pop it into the freezer a couple times along the way for a few minutes of flash freezing. I did this after cutting in the butter, of course after shaping the discs, and once again just before putting the pielette into the oven.
Azevedo Ranch Apricot Pielettes
(Makes 2 pielettes)
Crust (Baking with Julia, Dorie Greenspan)
2 ½ C flour
½ T salt
¾ stick butter, cold
scant 1 C shortening, cold
½ C ice water
1 egg, for a wash
apricots, halved and pitted
1 stick butter
1 C flour
1 C brown sugar
-Preheat oven to 350.
-Combine flour and salt in a large bowl/food processor.
-Cut in cold butter and shortening with a pastry cutter or two knives/food processor metal blade until the size of small peas. (Why are peas the universal measurement for pie doughs?)
-Sprinkle in ice water a few big drops at a time and mix with a fork/pulse briefly. It’s not going to become a solid mass, but don’t fret just—
-Dump mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form into a ball by bunching up the wrap at the top and smushing the dough into 2 discs. I’ll handle the dough in this way for as long as I need to shape the discs because, hey, technically I’m not overworking the dough with my hands; I’m just touching the plastic.
-Chill for 30 minutes to an hour in the fridge. Or be impatient like me and freeze for like 15 minutes.
-Roll out discs and transfer onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
-For each pielette, arrange apricot halves in the middle of the circle, leaving around an inch of bare crust like you would a pizza. For that rustic look, go for some facing up and some facing down. You can really cram them in there because they’ll shrink as they cook.
TOPPING AND FINISHING
-For topping, cut up butter with flour and brown sugar and sprinkle on top, dividing between the pielettes.
-Fold the crust up over the apricots, letting it overlap itself.
-Whisk an egg in a small bowl and brush some on crust for a golden sheen.
-Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour. The crust will be golden brown and your oven will be covered in burnt apricot drippings. Sorry.
Excellent when paired with Chlor-Trimeton allergy tablets.