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Dutch? French? This pie is all American



Apricot pie is a taste of summer. Bake the pie the night before and allow it to cool. When sliced, the pie holds together better. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)


Recipe: Crumb-topped pie works with apricots, nectarines or other stone fruit



Apricot crumble pie
The streusel top contrasts with the summer fruit underneath.

Is it Dutch? Is it French?

It's neither; it's just delicious.

Apple pie with crumbly streusel topping is known as Dutch apple pie or French apple pie, although the origins of those recipes are purely American. The Dutch version often includes chopped walnuts in the crumb topping; the French sticks to brown sugar, flour and butter.

That same streusel method works wonders with tart summer fruit such as apricots or nectarines. (Peaches and cherries, too!) The sweet crumbles contrast beautifully with the flavorful fruit filling.

I've been making this recipe (adapted from several sources) for years. The brown sugar crumbs are my favorite way to top almost any fruit pie.

Note: This recipe can be used with other stone fruits. Peel nectarines or peaches, but apricots and cherries can leave their skins on.


Apricot pie filling
Gently stir the sliced fruit with lemon juice.
Apricot crumble pie

Makes 1 (9-inch) pie, 8 servings

Ingredients:
1 (single) pie crust for 9-inch pie

Filling:
5 cups apricots, pitted and sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Topping:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

Instructions:

Heat oven to 425 degrees F.  Prepare pastry in 9-inch pie plate. Set aside.

Gently stir together sliced apricots and lemon juice. Combine sugar, 1/4 cup flour and cinnamon; mix with apricots.

Make crumb topping: In a medium bowl, mix 1 cup flour and brown sugar. With a pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until crumbly.

Turn apricot filling into pastry-lined pie plate. Top with crumbles, covering fruit to the edges of the pastry.

Place pie in center of oven, on top of a rimmed baking sheet to catch any spill over. Bake in 425-degree oven for 50 minutes or until bubbly around the edges. Cover topping with aluminum foil the last 10 minutes to prevent over browning.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream (optional).
Pie with a slice out of it
The crumbly sweet topping seals in the filling.

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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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