Tags Posts tagged with "Prune and Apricot Pie"

Prune and Apricot Pie

Prune and Apricot Pie

By Barbara Beltrami

When other kids were smacking their lips over a big slice of chocolate cake or a batch of brownies, I was salivating over prune and apricot pie with a huge dollop of whipped cream. I know. Weird. Segue into this week’s column topic, dried fruit. If you ask me, by the time you get around to February, you’re much better off eating and cooking with dried fruit than fresh fruit. How many times have you gotten home to find the apples mealy, the oranges desiccated, and the pears hard and flavorless as a raw potato? So here are a few recipes for using dried fruit to change up the mealtime repertoire and to add some interest to what’s coming off the stovetop and out of the oven.

Middle Eastern Chicken Tagine with Dried Fruit and Olives

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings


3 tablespoons olive oil

1 whole 3 or 4 –pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup unsalted butter

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 large onions, finely chopped

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon turmeric

1teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 cups chicken broth

3/4 cup pitted green olives, chopped

1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped

1/3 cup dried figs, chopped

2 preserved lemons, quartered

2/3 cup finely chopped cilantro

Scant 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice


In a 6-quart Dutch oven heat oil over medium-high heat. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, about 10 minutes.  Remove from pot and set aside. Melt butter in pot, then add garlic and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 15 minutes. Add bay leaf, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until spices release their aroma about two minutes; return chicken to pot and add broth, olives, apricots, figs and  preserved lemons and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes; Stir in cilantro and fresh lemon juice and serve hot with couscous.

Prune and Apricot Pie

Dried Apricots

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings


Two 9” pie crusts

2 1/2 cups dried apricots and pitted prunes, cooked and drained (1/2 cup liquid reserved and kept hot).  

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon unsalted butter


Preheat oven to 425 F. Line 9” pie plate with one crust. Bring reserved cooking liquid to a soft boil and whisk in cornstarch. Cook over medium-low heat until mixture starts to thicken slightly; add the cooked fruit, sugar, salt, nutmeg and lemon juice and stir; pour into pie crust-lined dish and dot evenly with tiny pieces of butter. Cut remaining crust into 1”-wide strips and place over filling to form a lattice pattern; seal edges of crusts together. Place in oven and bake 40 to 50 minutes until crust is golden and filling is bubbling and thickened. Serve hot or warm with sweetened whipped cream.

Brandied Dried Fruit Compote

YIELD: Makes 4 cups


4 cups water divided into two containers

12 ounces dried apricots, figs or pitted prunes, apples, cherries and raisins

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup sugar

Zest of one lemon

1 cinnamon stick

1/4 cup brandy


In a large bowl soak the fruit in two cups of the water for one or two hours. Coarsely chop larger fruits. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat combine the fruit, soaking liquid, remaining two cups water, orange juice, sugar and lemon zest. Stirring occasionally, bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low and add cinnamon stick; simmer 55 to 65 minutes, until fruit is plump and soft and liquid has turned syrupy. Just before serving, remove cinnamon stick, add brandy and serve hot or warm over vanilla ice cream with biscotti.