Friday, July 4, 2008

Summer fruit pies

Summer is the time for fresh ripe fruit, and what's better than a fresh fruit pie? This morning, with a backyard full of plums and apricots, I decided to make a couple of pies. It's not just the fruit filling I like - one of my favorite things to eat in the world is pie crust!

The thought of making pie crust is intimidating to some cooks. But every time I make it, I realize how easy it is. Having the right tools makes a big difference. My mother used to make pie crust, and for years she didn't have a rolling pin, but used a clean, empty, Bordeaux wine bottle to roll out the crust. I'm not that good. I use parchment paper to roll the pastry on, and a silicon rolling pin, which makes a huge difference.

I like the recipes in the back of "The Zuni Cafe Cookbook" by Judy Rogers, which tell you exactly how to do everything, with photo illustrations.

Today, I made an open faced apricot tart, sprinkled with pinenuts, and a rustic, free-form plum pie Rogers calls a "crostata". For this, you just roll your dough out on parchment, lay it on a baking sheet, and pile the sugared fruit in the middle. Then you fold over the edges and bake.

The tart will be served with 4th of July dinner tonight. The crostata barely got out of the oven before we had it for breakfast!

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