Especially Great in Winter When Fresh Fruit Cannot Be Had!
I read about these small thin pies more than 40 years ago. You can make them with the dried fruit of your choice. Bill and I love the apricot ones better than prune or even dried apples. They are delicious for breakfast with tea or coffee, or for dessert after dinner.
Get the best quality organic dried fruit that you can find. The good stuff is more expensive but you can make it go a long way. I cook (in water), soften, and mash 1/3 to 1/2 pound of fruit at a time and refrigerate it to have on hand so I can quickly make a small pie every day. I also make the pie crust, take off what I need for the first pie and refrigerate the rest in plastic wrap. I get about 5 indian pies from a crust that according the Better Homes & Gardens Cook Book is suppose to make one two crust pie. ( Note that I roll my crusts very thin.)
A word of caution: Pie crust does not keep well for long. I have made mine last up to 5 days but 3 days is better. You can always make an extra pie and keep it for the next day. Or use a recipe that doesn’t make as much crust. I’ll give you both below.
It may be crazy, but if I have company coming I would make fresh crust. When I serve other people I want everything to score 11 on a freshness-scale of 1 to 10. They probably would never know, but I would. Guess its just a habit I got into many years ago. If someone just dropped by unexpectedly on the day I made the “last” pie however, I would not hesitate to serve it. (I know — don’t tell me — it makes no sense.)
Watch your amount of fruit as well. I keep mine at least 5 days without problem, but be aware of the possibility of spoilage since your conditions may not be the same as mine.
Its a great time saver to have the crust and filling already prepared since it only takes about ten minutes to put the pie together. Roll out the dough. Place in pie plate or on stainless steel cookie sheet. Spread a thin layer of fruit on the crust. (Once you make one you can adjust the amount of filling to your taste.) Place a few thin slivers of butter on the fruit if you desire. Roll out second crust. Place on top of crust with fruit. Seal edges. Make vent holes on top by piercing with fork. Bake in 400 degree oven for 30 to 34 minutes. (I like to have the crust a little brown.)
Remove from oven and cool thoroughly for best flavor.
Dried Apricots (Cover with water. Simmer until soft. Mash.)
2 cups finely ground whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp of salt (BH&G cookbook calls for 1 teaspoon) (* see my note at the end)
2/3 cup of shortening (I use Spectrum Organic Shortening.)
For less crust:
1 1/2 cups of finely ground whole wheat flour
1/2 cup of shortening
1/2 tsp of salt
#1 Sift salt and flour into mixing bowl. Add half of the shortening. (My pastry cutter was my grandmother’s. It’s very old, but I really enjoy using it.)
#2. With pastry cutter, cut in shortening until well mixed.
#3. Add the other half of the shortening and cut in until well mixed. It is very important to cut in half the shortening first and then the other half. The crust in no where near as good if you do it all at once. Just one of those unexplainable things.
#4. Cut in properly, this is what the flour and shortening will look like.
#5. Add a little cold water to a small section of the mixture. With fork mix water into that section. Continue until all mixture is moist and you can shape the ball of dough with your hands.
#6. Shape ball of dough and slightly knead it so it will hold together.
#7. It is important not to handle the dough anymore than what is absolutely necessary, otherwise the crust will be tough
#8. Ball of crust will look like this.
#9. Cut off what you need for one pie and wrap the rest in plastic wrap and store in frig.
#10. Just cover dried fruit with water. Simmer on low until very soft.
#11. Mash. Cool. Use some for your pie. Put rest in bowl and cover with plastic and refrigerate.
#12. Bottom crust rolled out and placed on cookie sheet. I am spreading the apricot on it.
#13. I’ve just rolled out the top layer and am placing it on top.
#14. Pinch edges and then pierce top randomly with fork.
#15. Finished Pie
#16. Have a slice!
* regarding the salt: I’ve started leaving the salt out of the pie crust. I’ve made it both ways plenty of times and as far as taste is concerned I don’t think it makes a difference. Also, it might be just me, but the crust seems to keep longer without the salt.