Looking for a way to use up those last summer apricots? Try Michael Chiarello’s Apricot Hand Pies, from his book Live Fire.
Live Fire explores cooking with a variety of hard-core outdoor grills. Chiarello makes these pies in a hot box (known otherwise as a box roaster or a Caja China). Originally used to prepare whole, charred pigs, it’s a large box made of wood and metal. You put the pig (or pie) inside, close the box, and burn charcoal over the lid.
This is what the hot box looks like.
Find the pie recipe below, and click here to enter YOUR delicious pie (or pies) in the 5th Annual Good Food Pie Contest on Saturday, September 7th at LACMA.
Apricot Hand Pies
(From Michael Chiarello’s Live Fire)
When everybody is just about stuffed on pork, ribs, and chicken, a big dessert is not something anyone wants to see. But if you bring out a plate of these small hand pies, watch as people storm your way. There’s something about their size that’s irresistible. v The mascarpone cheese makes this dough very tender. It’s sticky, so use a lot of flour on your work surface before rolling. Handle it lightly and try to work while the dough is cold; it warms quickly and then becomes harder to shape. If the dough becomes too sticky, just cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes to firm it up.
You can make the dough one day ahead. If you can’t find mascarpone, substitute an equal amount of cream cheese.
Makes 16 Pies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese or cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, preferably gray salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
11/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
4 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 dried bay leaf
1 pound apricots, pitted and cut into large dice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon coarse sea salt, preferably gray salt
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Pinch of ground cinnamon
For the dough: In a food processor, combine the butter, mascarpone, granulated sugar, salt, heavy cream, and grated lemon zest, pulsing until smooth. Add the flour and pulse until a sticky dough forms. Divide the dough into two equal pieces; shape into two balls and cover both in plastic wrap, smoothing the wrap over the dough so no dough is exposed to air. Chill the dough for 3 hours or overnight. Make the filling while the dough chills
For the Filling: Either on the stove in a skillet or in a cast-iron pan on top the grill, melt the butter. When the butter stops foaming, toss in the bay leaf, which will crackle and pop. Add the diced apricots and stir. Add the lemon juice, granulated sugar, salt, rosemary, and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat until the fruit is very tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Take off the heat and allow the filling to cool.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Sprinkle a generous amount of flour on your work surface and take one ball of dough out of the refrigerator. Roll out one of the dough balls to form a rectangle about 10 inches wide by 20 inches long. Using a bowl or the rim of a drinking glass, cut out eight circles, each about 41/2 inches wide. Transfer the dough circles to a prepared baking sheet. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of each dough circle.
Beat the eggs lightly in a small bowl. For each filled dough circle, brush half of the outer edge with beaten egg. Fold the dough over the filling to form a half-moon. Press the edges together and use the tines of a fork to press down all the way around the half-circle to seal the dough. Cut four slits in the top of each pie to allow steam to escape during baking. Brush the tops with beaten egg and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Repeat rolling, cutting, filling, and sealing with remaining ball of dough. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes. Halfway through cooking, switch the top baking sheet to the bottom rack and vice versa, and rotate both baking sheets. Remove to wire racks to cool.
These can be served warm or at room temperature.
Chef’s Note: If you’re running short on time, fill each circle of dough with one sliced strawberry and two teaspoons of jam, and skip making the filling.