I love eating my daily health-promoting apple in a slice of warm, homey, not-too-sweet pie. But when you add plumped-up dried apricots and figs to the mix, along with an extra dose of anti-inflammatory spices, the healing properties of the humble apple increase dramatically. This is one of my favorite recipes, partly because it’s so simple to make. It’s called a “rustic” pie because you fold the crust up around the filling to make a freeform tart, just like my peasant ancestors used to do. When you taste it, you’ll see why I think of it as total apple pie nirvana.
8 dried apricots, chopped
8 dried figs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger (optional)
2 tablespoons butter (or oil, if you want to make a vegan version)
4 tart, crisp apples, cored and coarsely chopped
Your preferred sweetener, to taste (see dictionary of natural sweeteners; Annie recommends Sucanat
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dough for 2 pie crusts
1. First, make the spiced apricots and figs: boil one cup of water in a small saucepan and add the apricots, figs, and spices. Simmer gently for 15 minutes, then remove fruit with a slotted spoon. If you’re really hungry, you can forget all about the pie and just eat this, with a little lemon juice sprinkled on top. It’s divine.
2. Preheat oven to 375F. Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed skillet and add the apples, stirring to coat. Sprinkle with sweetener and cinnamon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are beginning to soften, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add stewed apricots and figs, stirring gently to combine.
3. Roll out pie crust dough into a large circle and place on a baking sheet. Spoon filling into the center of the crust, then spread it out, leaving a 6-inch border of crust all around. Gently fold up the crust toward the middle, overlapping as you go, leaving some of the filling showing in the middle.
4. Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until crust is golden and filling is bubbly. Allow to cool slightly before serving. May be served warm, room temperature, or cold.
Serves 8 to 10.
By Cait Johnson, Managing Producer, Care2 Green Living