If you’re new here, either prompted by my status as influential, or hate-reading for sour kicks, I acknowledge this particular post is very long and full. They’re always like that. But finally – since this is a food blog, after all – a recipe!
I made this for an impromptu picnic at the Botanical Gardens while watching some live music. Which is quite a fun thing to just say you’re doing, all carefree and summery and instagrammy. The execution was fun too – hanging out on a blanket with great friends; their flatmate’s band The Concerned Residents playing (great name, huh?) as well as surprisingly endearing opening act Lost Bird; a tiny dancefloor, made up of scarily cool Wellingtonian children; chocolate and Doritos and cider and beer and this pie. Which I found in a cookbook that’s proving to be one of my most favourite and most-used: The Favourite Recipes of America: Desserts (And Party Beverages). It was called Ozark Pie, which I found fascinating – I presume referring to the Ozark Mountains of America, although I’d like to think Mrs N.B Knightlinger of Port Clinton, Ohio, who submitted said recipe, was just really into the TV show Ozark Jubilee (hilariously, sadly: “the centerpiece of an unsuccessful strategy for Springfield, Missouri to challenge Nashville, Tennessee as America’s country music capital”) or Ozark Henry, the Belgian musician.
Semantics aside, this pie is so easy to make, and can be changed to suit whatever fruit you have to hand. It’s not particularly flashy – just a sturdy, sugared dough with fruit on top – but it honestly takes less than five minutes to put together and it’s ideal for a picnic, being easy to transport, great hot or cold, and, as I said before…sturdy. Picnics are no time for meringue towers or souffles.
Adapted so liberally from the Favourite Recipes of America: Desserts (and Party Beverages) book that it’s really not the same recipe any more, but I do like the name Ozark Pie. You can call it Apricot Pie if you wish. This mixture is quite small, so don’t go eating any of the batter as you mix it. You need every last skerrick of it.
3/4 cup sugar, plus 3 teaspoons extra
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Set your oven to 180 C/350 F and grease a 20cm pie plate or springform caketin. Whisk the egg lightly, then add the sugar and beat for about a minute, until thick. Fold in the flour, baking powder and vanilla, then dice one of the apricots and mix that in as well. Spread this thick mixture on the base of the pie plate or cake tin, then slice up the remaining apricots and arrange them on top of the batter. Sprinkle over the extra sugar. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes.
Because the base is so utterly plain, the vanilla extract really shines, and adds to the voluptuous summery sweetness of the apricots. Should your apricots be very ripe, you might not feel that you need the extra sprinkling of sugar on top – mine were firm and tart and refusing to soften up, no matter how many bananas I tried to pair them with (apparently sitting certain fruits beside each other has an effect on them…a bit like people.) I’d leave the sugar in though, as it gets a little crunchy and textural once it has been in the oven a while. The original recipe called for chopped apples and nuts, which would’ve been brilliant, had I actually had either in my possession. I’m sure this’d be excellent with many things though – pears and ground ginger; canned peaches; nectarines, whatever you’ve got handy.
It feels like there are a million other things that happened this week that I could write about, but this is already so long so I’ll leave it there and say adieu to you all, regulars, new readers, and new hate-readers (I bet if I was hate-reading this I’d smirk at “adieu”.)
Oh wait: one more thing. In the spirit of this being my blog and I can do what I like with it, I’m starting a new segment this week. I mean, there have never been any “segments” before and I don’t know if I like that word – but anyway – what’s happening is: a short post where I interview musicians, very briefly, about food. It’ll either be happening weekly or fortnightly, depending on how many people I can actually get involved, but it’s looking promising so far, and will be starting this week with Anna Coddington who is way excellent. What day will it be starting? Um, as soon as I think of a cool/uncool-pun-related title for it. I’m not saying that so you’ll check back every day. I’m just waiting for that pun to appear.
Title via: Somewhat fittingly, Barbra Streisand effortlessly belting out I’m The Greatest Star, a song I’ve always identified with, from Funny Girl. Ugh, she is so great.
Mathematics, by Mos Def. For a record that came out well over ten years ago, this feels incredibly, urgently fresh. I love it.
Idina Menzel, I Feel Everything. It’s not my favourite of her songs, but it has become one I’ve grown to love a lot more over time. And I adore this live clip of her changing the arrangement to be much more rocky. And also I adore her.
Jessie Ware, Wildest Moments – I’ve linked to this song before, but it’s so glorious, and I’m so glum about missing her and Bat For Lashes at the Laneway festival next week…
Next time: this pasta recipe I thought up – very simple, just what you want in the middle of summer when you can’t be bothered thinking too much.