Whenever I see a fuzzy, orange apricot my mind immediately goes to my great grandmother, Mabel Morris. Some of my earliest memories are walking through her yard, dodging the fallen apricots that dotted the lawn. Near the white-shingled house stood one or two apricot trees. To my child’s mind they seemed to make up a whole forest. The smell of ripened fruit, compost steaming in the hot sun and field burns happening in the distance take me back to the long, dry days we spent visiting relatives in Maupin, Oregon, just east of Mt. Hood.
I’ve shared with you already how great grandma would bake peanut butter cookies with me. We’d tie aprons around our waists and spend hours upon hours in her tiny kitchen. Mostly, she did the work, while I did the talking. But every summer, there would also be apricots to harvest, along with flowers and herbs to dry in the cellar. She would use these apricots to make jams and pies.
(Pictured above: My great-grandmother, Mabel Morris, with her parents, Clara and Eli “Kelly” Cyr. circa 1909)
I am fortunate enough to have the recipe her mother passed on to her for apricot pie. In a time when writing recipes down wasn’t necessary, someone had the foresight to do just that. The directions were a bit vague and sparse, so after having made it myself, I’ll share the recipe in (hopefully) a clearer way.
It has been a delight to go through all the recipes that have been handed down to me as I compile our family cookbook. It’s given me the courage to try my hand at more homemade cooking. Turns out – cooking from scratch is way more fun than cooking from boxes! Seeing the handwriting of the women who came before me in our family, running my fingers over the stained and worn cards and spending time in my own kitchen as I prepare the foods they loved to serve, has also given me a greater appreciation and love for all they’ve passed on to me. Both great grandma and her mother, Clara, loved to cook and bake. They were honored to serve food to people, knowing that a meal is more than fuel for the body, it is nourishment for the soul.
So, without further ado:
Mother’s Apricot Pie
(recipe from Clara Cyr 1886-1975)
Pastry for 2 crusts
3 C. apricots, fresh – halved (I quartered mine)
1 C. sugar
3 Tbs. flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbs. lemon juice (less if you don’t like tart)
1 Tbs. butter
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Fill pastry-lined pie plate with apricots. In a separate bowl combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Drizzle lemon juice over fruit. Sprinkle dry ingredients over fruit. Dot with dabs of butter. Cover with top pie crust. With a fork, poke some holes in top of crust. (I sprinkled some granulated sugar on the top of the crust and it was super good!) Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Confession time: Three cups of apricots just didn’t look like enough, plus I had about 6 cups worth, so that’s what I used. However, I failed to increase the flour to thicken the juices, so we ended up with…apricot pie juice. If you double the fruit, double the flour. Lesson learned. You’re welcome.
Additional confession: This was a very tart pie. Apricots can be sweet or not. One never knows, I guess. That being said, a healthy serving of vanilla ice cream did a great job of sweetening it right up. Which leads me to my final confession: I could have eater this whole pie by myself in the course of 2 days. I didn’t. But I could have.
If you have family recipes (new or old) and you’d like to have them made into a cookbook, contact me. I’d love to help you share your knowledge with the generations yet to come!