Wise Words from my Aunt

I decided this weekend that I would finally do my “fresh versus frozen fruit”-experiment which meant that I had to call my aunt before I could do anything. My fruit of choice was apricots (although I had to settle for frozen peaches, so this experiment wasn’t an *exact* science…but then my aunt told me that apricot pie is a special exception that always requires fresh fruit so I can hardly hold my grocery store accountable for my lack of scientific integrity as this pie wasn’t well suited for experimentation from the get-go).

My aunt said you have to have at least two layers of fruit. The layering goes a little something like this: first you put the apricots down and then cover them with sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon so that they are nicely (and evenly) covered. Then you repeat until you run out of fruit. There’s supposed to be more cinnamon than nutmeg…but that was about all I could get out of her as far as specific amounts are concerned.

She recommended three to four pounds of fruit, with each piece cut into quarters. And she also advised making a “sugar bowl,” or a bowl with both sugar and cornstarch. “If you mix it in it won’t get lumpy,” she says. “And then it won’t be a runny pie.” (And anyone who has set off the fire alarm at 11PM, prompting a visit from the fire department while baking in pajamas, knows how important it is to have pies that leak as little as possible…as to avoid awkward encounters with the Red Hook Raiders.)

Interestingly enough, she said you do not have to defrost frozen fruit before baking with it. And it makes sense – she used to bake up a storm and then freeze all the pies for a rainy day…and I remember her freezer packed with pies that she could just throw in the oven (after putting foil around the edges…or using one of my beloved pie crust shields.)

Any other advice? “I like to eat it warm,” she says.

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