X-TREME APRICOT PIE WITH FLAKIEST-EVER CRUST
Naila Gallagher, Pleasant Hill, California. Winner in the 2004 Crisco® All-American Pie Recipe Contest.
For the crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour, additional flour for rolling
1 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 cup Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening, well chilled
5 Tbs. iced water
For the filling:
3 cups dried apricots
1/2 lemon, seeded and chopped
3 cups water
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
For the topping:
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 Tbs. butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg, well beaten
For the crust:
1. Preheat oven to 400º F.
2. Sift the 2 cups flour, sugar, and salt together into a large bowl.
3. Add Crisco and blend with a pastry cutter or fingertips until the mixture resembles very coarse crumbs.
4. Transfer half of the flour mixture to another bowl, add the iced water and stir with a fork until it holds together forming a sticky mixture.
5. Cover each bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
6. Sprinkle work area generously with flour. Turn the moistened flour mixture out onto the floured area, sprinkle the top with a little flour, and cover with a large piece of plastic wrap. Press the dough with a rolling pin on top of the plastic until it is about 1/2-inch thick. Remove the plastic wrap, scatter about half of the chilled dry flour mixture over the pressed dough, and lightly press the dry mixture into the dough with your fingertips. Carefully pull the sides of the dough up to cover the added flour mixture. Replace the plastic wrap cover and roll the dough into a 10-inch round. Remove the plastic wrap and add another 1/2 cup of the dry flour mixture, pressing, covering, and rolling as before. Repeat the process until all of the dry mixture is incorporated. Add a little more flour if needed to keep dough flexible.
7. Divide the dough into two equal portions. Gather each portion into a ball, and then flatten into a disk. Wrap one disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Roll out the other disk into a 14-inch circle and transfer to a 12-inch tart pan. Press the bottom and sides of the dough to fit the pan, and then trim off any excess dough.
8. Line the crust with aluminum foil and fill with ceramic pie weights, dried beans, or raw rice. Bake for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and weights and bake the crust for 2 minutes longer. If crust puffs up, press it down with a clean kitchen towel. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
9. Roll out the other disk of chilled dough into a 13-inch circle to use as upper crust.
For the filling:
1. Combine the apricots and lemon in a heavy pot. Add just enough water to cover the fruit. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the apricots are very tender, about 45 minutes.
2. Using a slotted utensil, remove the fruit to a bowl. Cook the remaining liquid until reduced to about 1/2 cup.
3. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, and set aside.
4. Spoon the drained apricots into the cooled pie shell, spread evenly, and drizzle with the reserved apricot liquid. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the fruit and dot with the butter.
5. Brush the exposed rim of the bottom crust with some of the beaten egg. Position the top crust over the filling; tuck the edges in on top of the bottom crust, and crimp with a fork to seal tightly. Prick holes into the top crust with the fork and brush the top with beaten egg.
6. Bake for 30 minutes, then cover the rim of the crust with foil and continue baking until golden brown, about 20 minutes longer. Transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature before slicing.
The All-American Pie Recipe Contest recognizes home bakers around the country for their culinary skills and dedication to the tradition of pie making. It also celebrates Crisco's role in creating delicious homemade pies and baked goods for generations. The winners compete with other bakers from around the country in the American Pie Council/Crisco National Pie Championships for the grand prize and national pie making title. For more information about the Great American Pie Festival and National Pie Championships, visit www.piecouncil.org